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Manufacturing SMEs in England are ready to invest

22 August, 2013

More than half of manufacturing SMEs in England are planning to spend more on new machinery and premises over the next six months – a 12% rise on the same period last year.

A new survey of 682 companies, conducted by the Government’s Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), has also revealed that 67% expect turnover to rise – the highest figure since the MAS Barometer survey began – and that 82% have won new sales as a result of introducing new products or services in the past two years. More than half (53%) reported a rise in sales in the first half of 2013.

The manufacturers seem keen to embrace new technologies with 40% of them indicating they will fund more activity in this area.

“Manufacturers tend to be very cautious and traditionally would have needed significant confidence in the long-term future to relax the purse-strings,” comments NAS area director, David Caddle. “Encouragingly, the latest Barometer provides the clearest indication yet that companies are prepared to invest in new machinery and their premises in a bid to remain competitive and take advantage of significant opportunities both at home and abroad.

“It is a reassuring finding, and appears to meet the EEF’s recent call for the sector to fund more research, innovation and export growth,” he adds. “This sense of optimism is also present when it comes to employing new staff, with 43% of SMEs (up 3% on the last report) planning to hire new people, with a further 50% expecting to keep workforce levels the same. “

Caddle: being innovative has never been so important

The second MAS Barometer of 2013 provides an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector from April to June this year. More than half (55%) of the firms surveyed reported an increase in both sales and profits, with more than a third (36%) reporting that new sales accounted for 25% or more of their total turnover.

“The results indicates that there is a strong link between innovation and increases in both company growth and profitability,” says Caddle. “This is why being innovative has never been so important for manufacturers.”

MAS, which is funded by the UK Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), offers advice to manufacturers that can help to shape their strategies, create new products, cut waste and review supply chains.

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