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Innovation can be an extremely positive force for manufacturing companies in the UK. But what do we mean by innovation? And how can UK manufacturers develop an innovation culture that helps them apply radical thinking to seize the opportunities offered by technological change?
One way is to focus on, and invest in, existing strengths and establish centres of excellence to push forward innovation. Truly Earth-shattering, game-changing innovation is rare but, pragmatically, a great deal of profitable small-scale innovation can be achieved through looking at the technology you are working with and devising new ways to put that technology to effective use.
Experienced engineering companies with true expertise can provide an extremely valuable service for British engineering SMEs, bringing a ready-made capability to the smallest businesses that do not have an R&D or systems development team, and adding vital specialised knowledge to larger operations that do. Our Core Competence Centres illustrate how ERIKS seeks to innovate, developing new ideas, technologies and designs that can be adapted to meet today’s market trends and needs.
ERIKS recently continued the expansion of its UK service by launching a new Automation Services Division, channelling our engineering expertise into delivering real customer benefits in automation technology. The provision of expertise such as this can bring innovation closer to customers who previously would have had to work harder to develop or locate such services.
ERIKS is the only distribution/industrial service company to offer this capability in the UK and our new division will design, develop, assemble and build innovative solutions in automation technology, with a particular focus on motion control.
The customer benefits will be great because we supply products from many brands, and therefore offer access to, and knowledge of, many different motion and control technologies. Similarly, because ERIKS is platform/technology independent it can offer the best solution for each application, with no agenda to promote any solution that is driven by a particular technology. Again, this removes barriers that would otherwise hinder innovation.
Innovation has long been heralded as the key to success for UK manufacturers and what the government hopes to achieve through promoting it is an ‘innovation economy’ that helps Britain to boost exports, rather than stagnate as a public-sector-dominated economy. If we focus on our engineering strengths and share our expertise, we can use that excellence to develop strong, consistent innovation in the engineering sector and build a stronger base for the future.