Rethink of temperature control strategies paramount to circumventing skill shortages

Published:  19 March, 2024

With a recent report further underlining skills shortage issues faced by the UK manufacturing sector, a prominent utilities equipment supplier is calling upon industry professionals to re-evaluate their current approaches to temperature control. PWE reports

According to findings from the Q4 Manufacturing Outlook published by Make UK and advisory firm BDO, UK manufacturers have seen their outputs surge three times fast than orders.1 Yet despite rising business confidence, the report’s stakeholders have highlighted that its employment data indicates skills shortages are now structural and systemic within the sector.

Taking this into account, Ruth Martin, Manufacturing Sector Manager for Aggreko UK and Ireland, is advocating for a shift in the industry’s approach to procuring power and temperature control to best navigate this critical issue. Specifically, Martin is encouraging the sector to explore leveraging third-party expertise to address key challenges, including those around temperature control, to circumvent skills shortage concerns: “In the manufacturing environment, being able to source and operate temperature control equipment is vital to product yields and outputs.” She adds: “Yet ensuring operational processes are carried out as effectively as possible requires personnel with specialist skillsets…”

As Martin underscores, the challenges outlined in the BDO-Make UK report requires long-term governmental intervention to remedy skills shortages. However, with the industry dynamic and ever-evolving, pragmatic solutions must be sought in the present. Continuous engagement with third-party suppliers emerges as a viable strategy to bridge knowledge gaps and capitalise on the burgeoning sector confidence.

Moreover, Martin highlights the pivotal role of equipment hire strategies in mitigating the impact of volatility, both in demand fluctuations and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns: “Given the pressures the industry is facing, from varying sector confidence to increasingly extreme weather, it is logical to add greater flexibility to ensure efficient equipment performance while minimising the risk of under- or over-specification.”

Therefore, she highlights that by adopting modular, temporary solutions for chilling and heating equipment, manufacturers can enhance adaptability and optimise performance.

In a sector where variables simply cannot be predicted beyond the short term, the imperative for flexibility becomes increasingly important. Martin emphasises: “It is recommended that manufacturers engage with temperature control solution suppliers to best safeguard future operations.”

In addition, UK manufacturing’s ability to innovate and compete globally hinges on the availability of skilled talent. According to the Q4 Manufacturing Outlook, while outputs have surged, the gap between orders and skilled labour remains a significant challenge. Martin’s advocacy for collaborative approaches, leveraging external expertise, represents a proactive stance in addressing this critical issue. Furthermore, as the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, driven by technological developments and changing consumer demands, the need for agility becomes increasingly pronounced.

By embracing equipment hire strategies, manufacturers can unlock a new dimension of flexibility, aligning resources with fluctuating demand and minimising the risk of under- or over-specification. Martin’s emphasis on modular, temporary solutions underscores the importance of adaptability in navigating uncertainties.

In conclusion, the path forward for UK manufacturing lies in collaborative innovation and strategic agility. By embracing external expertise and adopting flexible solutions, the industry cannot only surmount present challenges but also lay the groundwork for sustained success in an ever-evolving landscape. As 2024 unfolds, the importance for proactive adaptation becomes increasingly clear, and it is through collaborative efforts and forward-thinking strategies that UK manufacturing can remain resilient as 2024 progresses.

1 news/2023/make-uk-bdo-survey-manufacturing-output-surges-as-companies-plan-for-2024

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