The Manufacturer’s Organisation, MakeUK, has released their latest report suggesting that ‘nearly half (43%) of manufacturers have an active plan to invest in digital technologies to decarbonise their business – almost a quarter (23%) have already invested in digital solutions, 24% are planning to invest and 62% of companies which have already adopted digital technologies into their production processes.’

CEO of Make UK, Stephen Phipson, said: “Britain’s manufacturers have long been at the forefront of digital innovation globally and they have taken significant steps to cut carbon emissions and move towards Net Zero. Industrial digitalisation programme Made Smarter has already delivered amazing successes in helping SMEs boost their productivity through digitalisation, and they are ideally placed to pick up the mantle to help decarbonise through digitalisation.”

Britain’s manufacturers are powering forward in their digital journey towards reducing energy usage and costs and boosting productivity, according to new research delivered in partnership with Sage, the market leader for cloud business management solutions. The research finds that manufacturing businesses are investing in digital technologies more than ever before and reaping multiple benefits.

Some 62% of companies which have already adopted digital technologies into their production processes reported saving money on energy – half of these companies saved between £10,000 and £100,000 in the last 12 months. A further 47% saved under £10,000 but said these savings were still significant to their businesses.

Reassuringly, only 19% did not invest at all in new digital technologies and techniques and a mere 3% did not see any benefits showing that despite some remaining scepticism, there has been much progress towards digital adoption awareness and understanding in the past few years. However, despite the clear benefits to business, almost  one in five (16%) manufacturers still say they have no plans to invest in digital technologies to help with reducing their carbon footprint. Nearly a third (31%) aren’t currently using digital technologies to decarbonise but are considering doing so.

The report explains “We are living through a digital revolution. Cutting-edge technologies and automation are transforming the global economy. These technologies can help provide solutions to society’s big challenges. Manufacturers are digitalising their businesses at an increasing pace and investing more in digital technologies than ever before, reaping multiple benefits, from productivity increases, product improvements, reduction in waste and labour efficiencies. The adoption of new technologies is transforming our sector and creating the factories of the future.”

With energy costs soaring and climate change continuing, digitalising to decarbonise is rapidly becoming the fastest way to scale sustainable impact but as this report shows, there is much work still to be done.

Previous Make UK research has shown the benefits of digital technologies in increasing productivity1. The global pandemic and the massive disruption to supply chains, as well as the UK’s exit from the EU, are just some of the external drivers that have swayed larger cohorts of manufacturers to adapt their processes and digitalise their systems. Make UK report, Digital adoption, the missing link in productivity growth provides evidence of the increased productivity gains that firms are now reaping from this transformation. That report suggests that ‘Manufacturers are undergoing a profound digital transformation with the potential to transform productivity, resilience, and sustainability.’

Take a look at how we have helped manufacturers to make best use of space in their production lines to increase productivity, ensure efficiency, reduce wastage of time and energy, improve utilisation of resources, streamline processes, prevent downtime and bottlenecks, save time, optimise capacity and maximise the volume of output.

Almost half of manufacturers (44%) surveyed say digitalisation has been their firm’s top driver of productivity improvements. Moreover, approximately a quarter saw an advancement in the quality of their products (26%), and visibility of their supply chain (24%), which most likely also contributed to improved engagement with their customers and better service delivery (23%).

Most (62%) who had adopted digital technologies in the past 12 months reported making energy cost savings and 30% of manufacturers expect a return on investment (ROI) in between 1-2 years with an increase in productivity by 20%.


Adopt a digital mindset: Manufacturers need to adopt a digital mindset and embrace the opportunities that digitalise to decarbonise technologies can offer. This will help firms to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, and create new products and services.

Invest in digital technologies: There are clear benefits for firms that invest in digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies can help businesses to improve their efficiency, reduce their emissions, and create new products and services. Firms should explore which types of digitalise to decarbonise technologies would be most beneficial to them and invest in
the skills required to implement and optimise that investment.

Measure and track progress: Once new technologies have been adopted manufacturers need also to measure and track their progress in digitalising their manufacturing and reducing their carbon emissions. This will help them to identify areas where they can improve and make sure that they are on track to meet their growth goals.

Share best practices: Firms should share best practices with other manufacturers to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and reduce carbon emissions across the sector. It is in everyone’s interest to tackle climate change together

Check out how we have helped production lines to ensure efficiency, improve productivity, reduce wastage and energy, streamline processes, optimise capacity and maximise volume of output.

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