LONDON The DTI's Electronics Innovation and Growth Team (EIGT), which was set up in July to 2003 to identify the key competitive challenges that will face the industry in the future, has published recommendations on how the sector can develop. And it wants an Electronics Leadership Council (ELC) set up to push these recommendations forward.
The EIGT’s report, Electronics 2015 – making a visible difference, has been written following consultations across the UK electronics industry and identifies a number of challenges and opportunities being produced by the rapidly changing market including offshore manufacture and design and the demands of the global supply chain.
The report also calls for the establishment of a UK Electronics Alliance to bring together more than 30 organisations to provide improved support and better representation of the industry. There is also a demand for an Electronics Regulatory Group to increase the sectors influence on EU regulations and provide a wider understanding of the effects of regulation on the industry.
EIGT is also calling on both the Government and industry to address the shortage of skilled people joining the industry and the decline in the study of science and engineering. The report calls for as toolkit to be created to help industry work with the complex strategic supply chain decision-making.
David Kynaston, the former head of Philips in the UK, who chairs EIGT, hoped that the ELC, while being relatively small, would be business lead but with senior Government and Regional Development Agency (RDA) involvement.
Kynaston said, “Naively, UK industry often feels it can retreat to the high ground and concentrate on high value-added products such as system design. Whilst we have significant strengths in this area, it is clear that these are under threat from other countries who are exploiting their skills base and new technologies to show how massive demand can be satisfied by a small region.”
“We must create an environment where the cycle of developing new ideas and turning them into successful commercial products is sustainable,” added Kynaston.
He believes that the RDAs have a more vital role to play than at present. The report suggests that a Technology Working Group of the ELC should work with the RDAs to identify and develop core competencies, crating incubators and clusters – including virtual clusters – in support of them.