Back to Blog

The Annual Manufacturing Report 2017: Key statistics

24 February, 2017
Annual Manufacturing Report 2017 (2)
The Annual Manufacturing Report 2017

The long awaited Annual Manufacturing Report is here, and it doesn’t disappoint. We at Columbus are proud to have been sponsors of this year’s edition; it’s a fantastic piece of research offering an insight into the manufacturing industry and the trends set to sweep across the sector this year.

As Nick Peters, Editorial Director, The Manufacturer states in the Executive Summary, ‘the defining characteristic of this period [2016] in our history is uncertainty and [their] survey results demonstrate this to be what is most affecting decision-making among UK manufacturers’.

However, through this uncertainty is an admirable desire to step up to the challenge of technology adoption and to educate the younger generation in a bid to highlight that manufacturing offers an exciting and rewarding career path.

Let’s take a look at 5 key statistics from the report:


It really is impossible to look anywhere without coming across references to cloud and the internet of things, and this is no exception. For good reason, 80% of manufacturers said that they expect that improved factory connectivity will help them to increase output levels.

Connectivity and the internet of things opens many doors to manufacturers including real time intelligence, predictive downtime and the opportunity to use data insights to develop and improve products, delighting the customer.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that ‘manufacturers see investments in factory connectivity not just as a means of cutting costs, but as a way of generating additional revenues – either by entering new markets, or achieving higher production levels from existing capacity’.


While Servitization is still a fairly new topic in the manufacturing industry, it’s certainly picking up pace! Servitization is all about manufacturers transforming themselves from solely being the sellers of products, to the deliverers of whole solution (which includes service/support), in order to delight and retain customers. If you’d like to learn more about Servitization, take a look at our blog post here.

With 83% of manufacturers expecting that servitizing their products will help them to sell more, we should expect to hear a lot more about the service based business model throughout this year.


Following the previous result, this is a surprise. The key outcome of any business strategy, ultimately is to increase the bottom line – and as the majority of manufacturers surveyed believed that servitization would help them achieve this, it is surprising that more aren’t planning to invest more in the process. But, this could be due to a lack of knowledge around the subject…

In fact, 39% of those surveyed said that a lack of understanding constituted a barrier that was preventing them from servitizing their products, or at least was delaying it. So while it is clear that an increasing number of manufacturers will be gearing up for servitization throughout 2017, there is some more learning to be done!

For anyone interested in learning about the benefits of a manufacturing business entering the process of servitization, take a look at this blog post.


Manufacturers are aiming to invest substantially in IT solutions this year, and that includes ERP and CRM ‘with a view to improving productivity and streamlining customer relationships’. It all comes back down to consumers becoming more savvy and expecting more for their money – businesses, including manufacturers, must adapt in order to compete in the new market.

38% of manufactures identified ERP as their top investment priority for 2017, with the scope to take advantage of connected technologies like IoT, BI and CRM – which is exciting! However, Nick Peters highlighted a problem in the report, stating that there is ‘a reluctance among a significant percentage of senior management to buy into the need for IT investment’.

There needs to be a greater understanding all round regarding the benefits of investing in software, and also grabbing hold of the opportunities that emerging technologies can bring to the manufacturing industry.

All in all, we can quite confidently say, it’s an exciting time for the industry. Time for change, time for growth and time for the connected factory. If you’d like to see the full report, you can download a copy here.

Cloud Transformation Series

Manufacturing is better at the speed of the cloud

Learn about cloud transformation in our guide!

Download your copy
Guide to cloud transformation for Manufacturing