UK manufacturers experience productivity boost in 2023

Britain’s manufacturers realised productivity improvements worth £48.5bn in 2023, according to analysis of ONS data by FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics.


According to the analysis, this is an 8.6 per cent increase on 2022 levels and includes multi-billion-pound improvements in automotive and food production output.

FourJaw found that the total value of UK manufacturing output reached £615bn in 2023. The end of the year was particularly strong, with manufacturers producing goods worth £155bn in the final quarter.

The total value of UK manufacturing output in the fourth quarter of 2023 was £3.5bn more than the same period in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 2.5 per cent, and £2.2bn more than in Q3 2023.

Output per manufacturer increased by 1.2 per cent between Q4 2022 and Q4 2023, while productivity per manufacturer was up one per cent. On average, each active UK manufacturer produced goods worth £1.13m in Q4 2023, up from £1.10m in 2022. Additionally, output per employee was up two per cent year-on-year.

The motor vehicles and transport equipment sector continued to deliver year-on-year improvements, producing £3.9bn more output in Q4 2023 than in Q4 2022, supported by a 12.40 per cent productivity increase worth £3.8bn.


Food manufacturing and alcohol and tobacco production also improved output and productivity in Q4 2023, with food achieving a 6.3 per cent productivity gain year-on-year worth £1.7bn, and alcohol and tobacco achieving a 21.4 per cent productivity boost worth £1bn.

In a statement, Chris Iveson, CEO at FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics, comments: “The manufacturing sector has demonstrated growth and resilience in the face of wider economic challenges. Manufacturers have realised they can’t hire their way out of a productivity problem and that manufacturing excellence is the only viable strategy for combatting supply chain uncertainty, high energy costs and skills shortages.”

“Manufacturers know they’re only earning when their machines are turning. They’re adopting technology to see what’s happening in their factories and using data to optimise processes and decision-making on both the top floor and the shop floor.

“Technology makes productivity progress possible, but the big shift is cultural. We see production issues solved faster thanks to better communication between operators and managers, better investment decisions based on an objective assessment of needs rather than hearsay, and manufacturers sharing data across departments to invite new ideas and inspire continuous improvement.”

FourJaw’s UK Manufacturing Productivity Index can be found here.