The manufacturers’ organisation EEF in partnership with Vodafone has published its 2015/16 Innovation Monitor which looks at the state of innovation within UK manufacturers. Headline figures include the fact that 94% of manufacturers have been engaged in some form of innovation activity in the last three years and even within the smaller company category, 90% have been innovating.
Pleasingly, innovation efforts have not been confined to product alone with process and service innovation being seen as ways of adding value and differentiating products. However, 28% of manufacturers feel that they are falling behind competitors due to a lack of investment in innovation leading to concerns that whilst UK innovation is in the race, it is not running fast enough at present. Partly this may still be seen as a legacy from the idea that manufacturing innovation equals product development, with manufacturers citing a lack of skills, finance and equipment as innovation blockers.
On the other side of the coin, whilst having sufficient resources is cited as a key enabler of success, other factors include collaboration with existing customers and having a clear defined outcome. Taking collaboration out of the immediate confines of the company and into the marketplace is a key component of successful innovation and it is one which can only further boost differentiation and drive profitability.