UK ‘must commit to Industry 4.0 ahead of Brexit’
Siemens’ chief executive is chairing a new group to investigate ways of promoting innovation and increasing exports as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
Juergen Maier says the aim is to position UK manufacturing and industry at the heart of a new global industrial revolution – labelled Industry 4.0.
He has advocated “a strong and friendly” relationship with the European Union, but says the process of Brexit will be difficult in the short-term.
Maier believes the UK must commit fully to the idea of a fourth revolution – which forms the basis of BusinessCloud’s ‘Tech in manufacturing’ breakfast event in March – in order to hold its own when cut loose from the rest of the EU.
Ahead of The independent Industrial Digitalisation Review’s first meeting, he told Radio 5Live: “We’re calling the review ‘industrial digitalisation’ and what this is, is using the power of the internet and data to create the next revolution in industry – which many are calling the fourth industrial revolution.
“What we’re doing is making sure with this review that we find a way Great Britain really is right at the heart, and is in a leading position, again in this industrial revolution – a place that we lost a little bit in the last industrial revolution.”
Maier told Wake Up to Money businesses in the UK are spending too much time talking about what may happen following Brexit – when the truth is that nobody knows.
He added: “No business person can tell you exactly what the future of Brexit is going to be.
“So, what we need to do is have an antidote to that. We have to find ways in which – despite Brexit and despite some of the disadvantages that might provide for business – we’ve got reasons to continue to be cheerful.
“A new industrial strategy based on new technologies is a good way of doing that.”
Siemens has said it is willing to invest in digital in the future, and recently created around 1,000 jobs developing wind turbine blades at its factory in Hull.
Maier believes Industry 4.0 will mean a massive amount of training for the entire firm’s existing staff as Siemens learns exactly what digitalisation means for its operation.