Tuesday, June 17, 2014

News: Yorkshire manufacturers report sustained investment

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Yorkshire and Humber manufacturers report sustained investment in staff, new machinery and technology, according to the Manufacturing Advisory Service's (MAS's) latest Barometer.

62% of small manufacturers in the region questioned are planning to spend more on machinery/plant, with 48% channeling increased funding into the development of new technologies. This marks a 16% and 7% rise respectively on the same period last year.

There was a similar optimism when asked about confidence to recruit. Exactly half of companies said they were looking to create new jobs in the next six months, up from 38% in March 2013.

These figures are reinforced by growth in sales. 62% of SME manufacturers have enjoyed higher sales and even more (70%) are expecting to win new work between now and October.

Encouragingly, companies appear well placed to take advantage of new opportunities, including expansion and reshoring of supply chains in automotive, aerospace, and nuclear sectors.

MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.

David Caddle, area director for MAS in Yorkshire and Humber, said: "We have seen consistent signs during the last twelve months that firms are ramping up capacity, in order to meet increasing orders and take advantage of work coming back to the UK.

"This is the clearest signal yet that our manufacturers believe the upturn is sustainable. Strong annual improvements for investment in machinery and technology suggest many small manufacturers are planning for the long-term and, encouragingly, they are taking action now to manage future expansion.

"Our Barometer report highlights that small and medium sized manufacturers are contributing strongly to jobs growth and expect to continue to recruit. They may find it harder to follow this trend, especially in advanced manufacturing sectors, unless they invest in training and retention."

The Barometer also highlights the continuing concern that manufacturers have regarding the high cost of energy in the UK, with over three quarters of small and medium-sized manufacturers reported an increase in their energy costs over the last year. Some 66% of those SMEs were hit with rises of 6% or more.

MAS website

Images: Newburgh Precision

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