Yorkshire’s fast growing firms are embracing fourth industrial revolution, says expert from Ward Hadaway

Yorkshire companies must embrace the fourth industrial revolution to ensure the region’s economy keeps growing, according to leading figures at Ward Hadaway, the firm behind the Yorkshire Fastest 50.

Gareth Yates of Ward Hadaway, centre, with Stuart Bullock, of BJSS, left, and Tim Mercer of VapourCloud.

Gareth Yates, commercial partner at Ward Hadaway in Leeds, said fast-growing business owners are looking at what advances in technology can bring to their organisations in order to remain competitive and grow their market share.

Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, refers to the application of advanced digital technologies to improve manufacturing processes, supply chains and service delivery.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Mr Yates, inset, said: “Advances in technology over the last 20 years have provided great opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations, become more efficient and to interrogate data to deliver products and services that their customers want.

The Yorkshire Fastest 50 celebrates the rising stars of the corporate world

“However, these advances cause challenges for businesses as they need to keep on top of technological developments such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data, but at the same time invest in technologies that improve their bottom-line and integrate them into their existing processes.

“This all takes time, effort and money – often without any guarantee of success – but without investing these resources the risk is that you become less efficient, more expensive and open to attack from faster-moving competitors.”

His comments come as the build-up continues to the Yorkshire Fastest 50, the annual run-down of the fastest-growing privately owned companies in Yorkshire which Ward Hadaway sponsors and organises in association with The Yorkshire Post.

One of the Fastest 50 companies in the list is BJSS, a privately-owned IT and business consultancy and winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Stuart Bullock, managing director of BJSS, said: “Innovation requires close collaboration between teams – both internally and externally. This is why Industry 4.0 is so exciting. It drives collaboration between people of all backgrounds and levels from technical professionals to commercial executives – to find new and rewarding ways to use this technology and build a 21st century workforce of conversational designers, machine learning engineers, and data strategists.”

A technology company that is also active in this area is Vapour Cloud. The business is a cloud-first digital transformation specialist delivering secure voice, video, network and storage services.

The company’s CEO, Tim Mercer, said: “For too long, businesses – especially at the smaller end of the market – have been afraid of digital transformation. Much of this stems from budget concerns and also in part, the ‘smoke and mirrors’ commentary that exists in the world of tech.”

However, the emergence of “straight-talking, genuine technology specialists” is leading to a change in attitudes, according to Mr Mercer.

He added: “When they open their mind to what’s possible, the opportunities to improve efficiencies, customer satisfaction, staff engagement, business scalability, revenue growth, and profitability, are vast.”

The Yorkshire Fastest 50 2019 takes place at Aspire in Leeds on Friday, March 22. Awards will be handed out to the fastest-growing small, medium-sized and large businesses.

One of those winners will be crowned Yorkshire’s overall fastest growing business for 2019.