24 August 2000 | David Arminas
UK manufacturing companies' investment in IT has equalled investment in machine tools and process and plant equipment for the first time, according to a new survey.
More money will be spent next year on IT than buying machine tools, claims an annual report by management consultancy The Bourton Group, which will be published in September.
Managing directors are satisfied their company infrastructures can help them maintain a competitive edge. But those in engineering companies are sceptical that their design, production and supply chain infrastructures will keep pace with the necessary change.
"In the past, a company would set up an infrastructure for facilitating good customer relationships," said James Bentley, managing partner of The Bourton Group. "But the pace of change in these relationships, particularly because of the impact of e-commerce, is not helping the old infrastructures. They have to be flexible."
The survey also shows that slightly fewer companies - 14 per cent of respondents - rate themselves as world class this year compared with 16 per cent last year. Overall, pressure to reduce product cost remains strongest of all business pressures for the twelfth successive year, and is now twice as powerful as any other pressure.
The survey, Bourton Index 2000, a report on the 12th Annual Survey of Trends and Attitudes in Manufacturing Industry, covers 300 managing directors' views on the state of the UK manufacturing industry.
This year's report focuses on operational issues. Copies are available from next month, price £50.