Resilience to supply chain issues and cyber attacks are two of the most important issues for UK manufacturers in the wake of Covid-19, according to a new survey.
PwC’s Reinventing Manufacturing Survey found that cyber security is an urgent priority for 63 per cent of UK manufacturers, with one in five having experienced a cyber attack. Almost half of those surveyed (43 per cent) are investing in application security, firewalls and antivirus precautions, although upskilling cyber security staff is a lower priority in the UK (35 per cent) than for manufacturers elsewhere around the world (43 per cent).
The survey also revealed that Covid-19 and Brexit have highlighted supply chain vulnerabilities and have caused many organisations to reconsider their approaches. As a result, demand forecasting (48 per cent) is among the top supply chain priorities in both the short and mid-term for UK industry.
“As the pandemic took hold, manufacturers faced unprecedented disruption revealing some weaknesses in end-to-end activities and an increasing prevalence in cyber attacks,” said Cara Haffey, UK industrial manufacturing and automotive leader at PwC. “When combined with the impact of Brexit, it’s clearly shown just how vital it is for UK manufacturers to embed agility and resilience into their business models – and that they need to act swiftly.
“As uncertainty in the world persists, organisations must also focus on creating cohesive and complementary digital, trade and green strategies if they are to increase productivity and efficiency, boost profitability and grow market share in an increasingly ESG focused commercial environment.”
PwC’s survey was conducted with more than 500 large companies across eight industries in five major markets, with over 60 in the UK as well as others from the US, China, Japan & Germany. It investigated how UK and global COOs are planning to adopt new supply chains, approaches to sales and marketing, technologies, and business models to prepare for a post-Covid future.
“UK manufacturers have shown their capacity to react swiftly to new market environments and challenges and forge new inter-sector partnerships during this pandemic and it’s critical they continue to do this as they look to the future,” said Haffey.
“It’s rare for manufacturers to have the capacity, downtime, or headroom to make such significant changes and it’s vital they don’t waste this opportunity.”