Centre for Competitiveness warns about Brexit complacency


Disruption through Brexit, digitization, smart cities and NI’s lack of an industrial strategy need to be addressed through leadership, innovation, productivity and excellence.

The Centre for Competitiveness launched its annual report here along with its competitiveness outlook for 2018 here with a warning that NI businesses must act now rather than adopt a wait and see attitude towards their competiveness post-Brexit.

The centre is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which supports its members to develop an internationally competitive economy through innovation, productivity and excellence.

Acknowledging that Brexit will bring both opportunities and challenges, the Centre believes that innovation will be a critical success factor for any firm seeking to be sustainable. A new Innovation IT platform will launch in April to help members and schools promote ideas, seek crowd funding and accelerate innovation and competitiveness through collaboration.


The Centre’s 2018 Outlook identifies further challenges on the economic horizon. The rapid development of digitization in manufacturing and the surge of economic activity in regions which embrace Smart Cities throughout Europe and the Far East may bring about a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The Centre asks how ready NI businesses are to embrace looming structural changes: the increasing speed of transactions and business processes; increasing levels of customer expectation; uncertainty in changing markets which differentiate between first movers and followers; as well as the fuzzy boundaries and extreme competition caused by competing in global markets?

When the Centre joined a recent visit to Kuala Lumper to assess Malaysia’s industrial plan and competitiveness, the trip highlighted Northern Ireland’s lack of an industrial strategy and raised concerns about this region’s fitness to compete effectively.


The Centre for Competitiveness’s Chief Executive Bob Barbour said:

“The question for business leaders and government is: What steps are you taking to address these emerging challenges in order to compete effectively in today’s highly competitive world? Business leaders need to develop a deeper understanding of the top economic trends that will shape the global economy in 2018 and learn more about the growth outlook for major economies such as the United States, China, and India.”

He added that the future success of the Centre is only assured while industry continues to engage with its expertise in leadership, thought and practise and membership support. Successes during 2017 included:

- support of a network of 50 SMEs using Lean Management techniques and supplier certification programmes;
- 20 organisations entered the European Foundation for Quality Management’s Excellence Awards;
- a new strategic partnership was launched with the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute to support knowledge transfer in the Tourism sector ahead of the EU–China Year of Tourism in 2018.


The Centre for Competitiveness has used its strategic partnerships with sister organisations across Europe, USA and Asia to access world class practices, benchmarking and productivity-boosting technology on behalf of their members. Individuals or organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors who wish to improve their competitiveness and sustainability during this uncertain period of competitive turbulence and want to explore business transformations are invited to contact Lorraine Branagh lorraine.branagh@cforc.org or Bob Barbour at bob.barbour@cforc.org

The Centre for Competitiveness. http://cforc.org     Tel (028) 9073 7950


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