I, Human: Spending on staff more important than robots to harness fourth industrial revolution

 
Jake Cordell
Follow Jake
It's humans, not robots, that hold the key to the future of UK manufacturing, according to a new survey
It's humans, not robots, that hold the key to the future of UK manufacturing, according to a new survey (Source: Getty)

Manufacturers are putting skills ahead of software even as they race to implement new technology to improve productivity, a new survey has found.

More than eight in ten manufacturing firms said they would be investing in skills to realise the potential of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”, according to a survey by trade body the EEF. Meanwhile, 51 per cent said they will need to buy new machinery and 38 per cent said they were preparing to splurge on software.

The EEF said manufacturers were preparing to incorporate new technologies such as 3D printing, augmented reality and autonomous robots into their factories by 2025. In a sign firms were not planning to replace staff with software, however, most said making sure employees had the skills to use new the technology would be the key determinant of success.

Read more: The EU wants to make robots people ... kind of

“The fourth industrial revolution will be crucial for UK manufacturing,” said EEF chief economist Lee Hopley. “Manufacturers are aware that it will be a game changer - not just for investment in technologies, but for the cutting-edge, high-level skills required alongside.”

Related articles