Survey to assess impact of COVID-19 on working practices

1 min read

SME manufacturers are being asked to participate in a survey that will gauge whether COVID-19 could permanently change industry working practices.

working practices

The Manufacturing Barometer, organised by SWMAS (the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), is looking to understand how the pandemic has accelerated new working practices that may have unearthed potential operational benefits.

Manufacturing Barometer shows slow signs of recovery

This quarter’s report aims to examine how working conditions have changed for manufacturers, the challenges their employees have faced and how these are being addressed.

The survey will also look at remote working within the manufacturing industry to see if this has increased productivity, lowered overheads and/or created a better work/life balance for employees.

“Although COVID-19 has presented a number of challenges, we are interested in finding out if manufacturers have adopted any positive changes as a result,” said Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS.

“This quarter’s Manufacturing Barometer will provide valuable insight into the new processes businesses have implemented over the past year and if they could lead to permanent changes to traditional working practices.”

He continued: “We know that manufacturing will always require some level of on-site production, but could virtual meetings replace face-to-face discussions to save time and travel?

“Are businesses planning more investment in digital manufacturing? Responses to this quarter’s Barometer will help us understand the future plans of SME businesses across the sector and enable us to identify the support they require.”

Despite a number of manufacturers still feeling the negative impact of COVID-19, last quarter’s Barometer report showed that 31 per cent of respondents had seen sales increase over the previous six months, with 44 per cent predicting further growth, and nearly a third planning to take on staff.

These findings indicate that, despite ongoing challenges, some SME businesses across the sector are beginning to feel more optimistic about the future.

Martin Coats, managing director of MGP, said: “It’s vital that we are aware of how current conditions are continuing to affect SME manufacturers…we invite companies to share their vision for the future, how recent external factors have influenced operational plans and what assistance businesses need to address challenges and make the most of new opportunities.”

The Manufacturing Barometer can be filled out here and will be live until Friday 23rd April.