Challenges and Opportunities
To stay in business all manufacturing and related businesses are facing enormous challenges:
- Economic: Maintain profitability, attract new business, reduce costs, foster long-term competitiveness.
- Environmental: Reduce energy and resource use, increase reuse and recycling, and reduce the firm’s “carbon footprint”.
- Social: Improve employment conditions, enhance communities and create and deliver socially responsible products and services.
In our view, and based on the experience of the most progressive companies, long term sustainability will not be achieved solely by incremental improvements based on current practice but through innovation and a step change in performance. Existing mindsets must be challenged about how things are done, or might be done to realise the benefits to be gained from harnessing new technology and advanced engineering practice. Key to this is the knowledge and experience of engineers and technologists and the way this is valued and used in their companies.
Of particular importance to economic growth is the role played by small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) where there is much to be gained from a closer integration of their engineers and technologists with their supply chain, larger companies and academia.
To add value by helping manufacturing companies, especially through their engineers and technologists, to develop and adopt imaginative ideas and practices that will lead to sustainable futures, by learning from and sharing internal and external knowledge, experience and best practice.