Survey says manufacturing SMEs are looking at growth

A survey conducted by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) indicates that manufacturing SMEs in England are reporting increased sales and plans to create new jobs.

More than half of respondents to the first ever MAS National Barometer had seen turnover rise in the last six months, with 60 per cent expecting further growth between now and the end of the year.

The survey is also said to have revealed that 41 per cent of companies are planning to take on staff in the coming year with another 50 per cent expecting employee numbers to remain the same as the level of new business enquiries holds strong despite difficult economic conditions.

More than 610 businesses — representing more than 26,000 employees — responded to the Barometer, which is the latest in a series of economic reports that underline manufacturing in England is one of the few sectors showing positive growth.

In a statement, Simon Griffiths, MAS area director for North and West, said: ‘This is the clearest indication yet that our manufacturers are enjoying increases in sales and, reassuringly, they expect this trend to continue.

‘Investment by the major original equipment manufacturers and interest from overseas companies to source from England has helped facilitate demand.

‘The Barometer… is showing a renewed commitment to create new jobs. It will be interesting to see if employers can find the skilled staff they require to fill the positions, bringing into focus the need for companies to create and support apprenticeships so we can start to fill the talent pipeline again.’

The report revealed that 44 per cent of companies are planning to increase spend on premises and machinery, while 35 per cent plan to invest in developing new technology.

Further findings show that 77 per cent of companies recognise the need for supply chain improvements, yet when respondents were asked what they planned to measure and review it was clear the emphasis was on products rather than processes. The most popular choices were prices of product (85 per cent) and product ranges (77 per cent).