Digital futures - and other manufacturing matters

Digitalisation – everyone is talking about it but what does it mean in practice for industry and government? On 12 May, the IfM held its annual Briefing Day, attended by more than 150 senior industrialists and policymakers.

In the opening session, IfM researchers considered some of the challenges of competing in an Industry 4.0 world, including:

  • The need to have standards, skills, infrastructure, SME capabilities and security measures in place to support digitalisation
  • Developing more reconfigurable, intelligent and hence resilient systems within the factory (or across a production network)
  • Designing data-enabled supply chains and supporting a ‘digital attitude’ to supply chain development
  • Using digitalisation strategies to support business model innovation in order to deliver the outcomes customers want.

During the rest of the all-day event, delegates were also able to hear about the latest research in a range of other areas from across the whole spectrum of manufacturing – from R&D and design to supply, production and service.


Our team of practitioners from IfM Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS) described some of our recent collaborations, where research-based tools and techniques have been applied in both industrial contexts and in the public sector.


Delegates also heard about IfM’s executive and professional development programmes and its industrially-focused undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


Presentations and resources from the day are shown below.


Presentations and resources

Briefing Day 2016 plenary session


Global trends in the digitalisation of manufacturing

Eoin O'Sullivan


Digitalisation of the extended factory

Ajith Parlikad


Digital supply chains

Jag Srai


Digitalisation of services

Andy Neely


Developing manufacturing talent in the digital age

Judith Shawcross


Design for Transformation

James Moultrie and Colin Haden


Making the shift to service-based business models

Florian Urmetzer


Transforming global manufacturing and supply networks

Jag Srai, Paul Christodoulou and Don Fleet


Industrial resilience and automation

Liz Salter, Alan Thorne, Ajith Parlikad and Phil Woodall


Industrial strategies for national, regional and local policymakers

Andrew Gill and Carlos Lopez-Gomez


Technology and innovation management

David ProbertRob Phaal, Melanie Despeisse, Clare Farrukh, and Frank Tietze


Industrial sustainability

Steve Evans


Measuring what matters

Andy Neely, Andi Jones and Nick Sherwen



Michael De Volder


Advancing digital manufacturing with fluids

Ronan Daly


Energy beam processing and the drive for ultra-precision manufacturing

Bill O'Neill


Briefing day


Briefing Day lunch


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Date published

16 May 2016

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