The future for manufacturing

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Rockwell Automation is the largest company in the world dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation. Mark Bottomley, Vice President, North Region at Rockwell Automation, talks to Acquisitions Daily.

How does being a pure-play automation competitor suit Rockwell and how does it see the year ahead?

Rockwell Automation is the largest company in the world dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation. With the impact of the pandemic still affecting the industries we serve worldwide, especially within the manufacturing sector, we are seeing a shift towards digital transformation as organisations make plans to operate production processes remotely to mitigate the current effects of COVID-19 and any future virus.

2020 was a challenging year for many, but we believe 2021 will be a positive year as manufacturing bounces back with an openness towards increasing production and efficiency. There is no doubt that manufacturers will reflect on the past year and start to develop better connected systems to increase visibility of their supply chains; and perhaps even consider investing in technologies such as digital twins to simulate their factory floors and optimise performance.

How will new policies affect your sector of the economy and will a readjustment period need to be taken into account?

It is expected new government policies will have an impact on different sectors of the economy, which includes automation and information technology. At present, it is not clear what those policies are and how that will impact our industry. That said, we are particularly encouraged that Joe Biden discussed the importance of manufacturing during the campaign, and hope the sector continues to be recognised as a significant component of domestic policy in the US. A green agenda is also important because the need to accelerate the sustainability of industrial processes is only increasing. For example, clean drinking water is one of the reasons our eco industrial focus is so important for the future, along with electric vehicles, as well as the everyday ways our products reduce energy consumption in every industry.

Could this inauguration of a new president drive markets into a bull run more sharply than previous ones?

Any inauguration will have an impact on the stock market as the incoming president’s political agenda takes shape – especially when it is influenced so heavily by the global pandemic. With such a contested election, and anticipated increases in corporate and capital gains tax, we expected a certain amount of volatility. So, in the short term it will be particularly important for the new president to focus on the vaccination rollout to help the United States return to normality and to strengthen the economy. Candidate therapeutics and vaccines are being produced and packaged with the help of our innovation and expertise around the world.

Is a market rally going to be difficult to sustain due to the enormous economic scarring caused by the pandemic?

The past year has seen one of the biggest economic recessions in decades. Unlike previous recessions, this one resulted from a health crisis, and so, with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines we expect a speedy reversal. We have already started to see markets recover, and in some cases, markets haven’t reacted as negatively to lockdowns as they have in some areas of Europe.

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