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4 minute read • published in partnership with NexSys

Insight: Future fit manufacturing – analysis of the National Manufacturing Conference

The Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2024 brought together more than 700 delegates to discuss the latest industry trends. The annual event was held at QEII Centre London and gave manufacturers across the nation an opportunity to network, share experiences and gain insight into what will influence the sector in the year ahead. NexSys was there as an exhibitor to learn more about the hot topics of the day and how we can help businesses build resilience with the power of ERP.

On 27 February, delegates from across the UK gathered to gain insight from keynote speakers and share best practice. The NexSys team took the opportunity to keep our finger on the pulse of manufacturing and talk to businesses about how adopting digital technologies can help future-proof their operations.

Building on strong foundations

The annual conference celebrates all that is best about UK manufacturing and explores how the sector can build resilience in an ever-shifting commercial landscape. This year’s speakers included Nusrat Ghani, Minister of State for Industry and Economic Security ,Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart OBE from “The Rest Is Politics” podcast and Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade. They discussed current affairs and the need to invest in a robust and innovative manufacturing base.

Make UK’s CEO Stephen Phipson called for all political parties to commit to an industrial strategy with an explicit target for industry to account for 15% of UK GDP, with the potential to add an extra £150bn to economic output.

The Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2024 brought together more than 700 delegates to discuss the latest industry trends / Picture: Make UK

Embracing new opportunities

As well as listening to keynote speakers, delegates were given the opportunity to take part in breakout sessions covering a range of issues that manufacturing need to address to stay ahead of the curve.

The NexSys team were particularly interested in discussions about the application of AI. Panel members included Make UK’s Senior Policy Manager Nina Gryf who was a key speaker at the NexSys Customer Event in November 2023. Manufacturing businesses and representatives from the Science and Technology Facilities Council talked about how the sector is gearing up to exploit artificial intelligence. We heard that although businesses are excited about possible applications, many of those looking to adopt AI are struggling with non-standard data and not knowing where to start.

More than ever, manufacturers need ERP systems that provide access to clean standardised data. This provides a solid foundation allowing companies to fully exploit disruptive technologies like AI and Machine Learning. This highlights the value of SYSPRO’s Artificial Intelligence module which uses specific algorithms and statistics to examine historical data. It uses data patterns to make predictions and highlight trends, be it predicting when a supplier delivery may be delayed or flagging up late payers, allowing for order prioritisation.

At NexSys we are committed to evolving our offer to help customers address their greatest challenges and the manufacturing conference allowed us to gain an even greater understanding of where digital technologies can allow businesses tackle problems head on. For instance, another key issue explored during breakout sessions was sustainability and the need for manufacturers to maximise opportunities around net-zero and the transition to a sustainable economy. The lack of sustainability reporting standards was a clear challenge all panellists agreed on, having access to reliable real time data to drive efficiencies and support sustainability reporting will be mission-critical.

In the know

NexSys took the opportunity to network and engage with delegates from a range of businesses, discussing their requirements and how our fit-for-purpose ERP solutions can provide a competitive edge.

Business development manager at NexSys, Anthony Payne, said: “It was a fantastic event. NexSys is long-standing supportive of Make UK and these events help us stay abreast of the latest trends. We had some great discussions with business about the benefit of building digital resilience and selecting an industry-built ERP system that responds to their changing requirements.”

NexSys product manager, Darshnee Shah, said: “It is always illuminating attending the Make UK conference where keynotes provide a political pulse on manufacturing investment and policy from both sides of the divide. The breakout sessions focussing on key challenges are a great forum for business decision makers to collaborate with counterparts and share best practices.”

She added: “The day again highlighted the importance of having access to reliable data to inform decision-making and agile systems that provide business resilience. During an election year, there is a continued sense of uncertainty, but I’m confident that our ERP+ solution suite continues to support our current and future businesses with the insight and capabilities they need to confront whatever lies ahead.”

As always, NexSys will keep up to speed with the latest advancements and trends and adapt our solutions accordingly. Get in touch to find out how we can help ensure your business is future fit.