Electronics manufacturing encompasses a wide spectrum of innovative sub sectors. From computers and consumer electronics to circuit boards and semiconductors, UK businesses are helping drive innovation across the spectrum. With the advent of digitisation, these businesses are ideally placed to exploit demand. Yet times are uncertain. The prospect of Brexit, a shift in trading relationships and pressure to stay ahead of the curve are forcing many manufacturers to reassess their operations. Embracing the transformative powers of ERP can unlock potential and enable manufacturers to excel in a fierce global market.
Electronics is a high-value segment of UK manufacturing. According to Make UK, the sector generated £8.4bn GVA and a turnover of £19.4bn in 2017. It serves a broad range of industries and consumers, driven by a quest to exploit the latest technological advances.
In recent years, the UK electronics sector has evolved to include much higher value activities. Activity has shifted towards the development and design of specialist components. According to the National Microelectronics Institute, the UK accounts for 40% of Europe’s independent electronics design and is the continent’s largest independent semiconductor design producer.
In 2017 electronics R&D expenditure was £1.9bn and in 2018 the sector expanded by an impressive 14.4%. On the back of rising demand for automation and new technological innovations, electronics accounted for more than half the total growth of UK manufacturing.
For this growth to continue, after Brexit and beyond, the electronics sector must invest in systems and technology that will support growth and make businesses more resilient.
Meeting the challenges ahead
Like other areas of the manufacturing industry, the electronics sector faces numerous challenges and ERP could prove critical in helping companies gain a competitive edge.
The largest cloud on the horizon involves uncertainty around future trading relationships. The electronics sector has complex integrated global supply chains and the UK’s departure from the European Union is causing considerable concern.
Around 45% of all UK electronics exports are destined for the EU and businesses rely on the free flow of components and labour. The introduction of new tariffs and removal of EU R&D funding programmes pose a major threat to businesses large and small. More than 93% of companies within the electronics manufacturing sector employ fewer than 50 people, meaning they are likely to be disproportionately hit by the repercussions of Brexit.
The sector is confronting a number of other challenges, including the impact of a trade war between the US and China and concerns over cybersecurity. There has never been a more crucial time for manufacturers to build their digital resilience through ERP.
Benefits of ERP
An effective ERP system should form the backbone of any modern manufacturing operation; only by being able to access, analyse and act upon key information can electronics manufacturers make strategic decisions.
By automating mundane tasks, facilitating joined-up working and driving tangible gains in productivity, our solutions provide a competitive advantage that may prove critical in post-Brexit Britain.
SYSPRO’s advanced planning and scheduling, traceability, inventory management and quality management will help manufacturers fulfil their potential. Key benefits include the ability to control product design changes, manage returns and recalls, keep track of outsourced manufacturing and minimise risk of defects. Therefore, reducing waste and increasing profitability
By embracing ERP, electronics manufacturers are not only better equipped to weather the storms but also exploit the opportunities ahead. Be it IoT, VR or automation, new technologies are changing the whole economic landscape and ERP will help drive their evolution.
Contract electronics manufacturer G&B Electronics wanted to implement a new ERP system to help enhance its offer in an increasingly competitive market. The Bordon-based business selected K3 Syspro to minimise waste, boost productivity and allow everyone to work more effectively.
K3 Syspro provided a fully integrated ERP system, which controls G&B’s processes from order entry through manufacturing processes procurement, allocation of jobs and production scheduling right through to invoicing.
G&B Electronics’ Managing Director, Laura McBrown, says: “You can’t sit still in our industry and with SYSPRO, we don’t have to. It is proving a strong foundation on which we can continue to build a more effective and more profitable business model, repaying the initial costs of ERP investment time and time again.”
She adds: “SYSPRO gives us the capability to become a trusted supplier through its serial and component tracking capability. We are now about to compete for serious, high-level contracts because we can demonstrate strong control processes throughout our supply chain.”