Impact of STEM on increasing demand for locally manufactured products

In the new curriculum (CBC), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing, collectively known as STEM, is set to hold sway and dominate the future of the manufacturing industry. 

By offering an integrated approach that combines these different subjects through an interdisciplinary lens, and applying this framework to real-world situations, the STEM sector is going to revolutionize manufacturing.

Not only does STEM will offer significantly increased efficiency and productivity, but will allow for new innovative solutions to problems, allowing benefits to be felt by everyone in the process, from manufacturing right down to the customer. This will automatically lead to increased demand for locally manufactured products, amongst other trends.

At Duff Engineering, we ensure we stay on top of these trends, so we can ensure our business is always ahead of the competition, and our clients get the best possible service from us. Here is our take on how and why Kenyan customers are trying to support local businesses and how this tie into increasing environmental awareness and the impacts of this on the economy.

Clients are increasingly turning to local businesses

In this time of global political uncertainty, businesses are struggling to plan for the future as there is no certainty as to how this future will look. With no decisions being made yet, and the continuing trade war between the United States and China, businesses that require large amounts of investment in assets are struggling. Large-scale investment is especially necessary for manufacturing and engineering businesses, which are struggling most of all.

However, Kenyan customers know this and, combined with the new market trends of supporting local businesses, these customers are increasingly rejecting international products and services for those produced closer to home. As such, many SMEs which rely on manufacturing or engineering can continue to operate, and this has a knock-on effect on the entire supply chain, allowing many separate businesses which have ties with local STEM companies to continue operating too.

Customers and businesses are becoming more environmentally aware

Climate change and the production of greenhouse gasses are now at the forefront of peoples’ minds more than ever. The recent climate change in Kenya shows the extent to which the public treats this as a large-scale issue, and this is being reflected in market trends.

If a business is not environmentally aware, the customers are significantly more likely to boycott it, which has led to many companies producing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) document, available for public viewing. CSR documents set out how a company plans to reduce its greenhouse emissions, increase its sustainability, and promote other good moral practices, including paying fair wages and supporting charitable projects. Businesses in the STEM sector are well placed to become increasingly environmentally sustainable, as they have the technology and products with which to do so.

Recently, the Manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly relied upon by external businesses to create and develop new processes and equipment which are more efficient, thereby helping other companies with their carbon footprint too. 

By promoting their green credentials, businesses are also giving customers another reason to buy local; locally manufactured products have significantly fewer (if any!) emissions attributed to their transportation. International trade, and the shipping of manufactured goods from one country to another cause a significant amount of pollution, so the shift towards locally manufactured products acts symbiotically with increased environmental awareness.

The Kenyan economy needs STEM companies

As demonstrated above, businesses from across all sectors are becoming increasingly reliant upon those in the STEM sector, with everything from helping to reduce carbon footprints to producing local products which enter the Kenyan supply chain quickly. 

Due to this increasing integration of STEM into both the manufacturing and service industries, existing STEM companies are becoming increasingly relied upon. This has manifested in STEM companies being amongst the fastest growing in Kenya, and the most frequent type of new SME.

As such, any future government policy and budgets will likely have to favour manufacturing and engineering companies due to their increasing necessity. This movement towards locally manufactured products is helping to boost the economy, as it allows for money to stay within the country, boosting the growth of the local area. 

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