Figures released today have shown that there could be light at the end of the tunnel for UK manufacturers – and not just big businesses, but small and medium enterprises as well. Many manufacturing companies are optimistic for growth in 2013 which is reinforcing predictions of an economic upturn in the coming year.
The latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer has shown that 43% of the manufacturing companies questioned have seen an increase in their order books over the last six months, up 4% since the last survey. Furthermore, the majority (62%) were expecting sales turnover to grow between now and June of this year. This correlates with 39% looking to take on new staff, and 44% looking to invest in their business with new machinery or premises.
However, this is building out of a slight downturn over the past few months. Slightly fewer companies (43%) have experienced an increase in sales turnover from the previous six months, though as we can see many are predicting this will be reversed in the coming year.
There were many things cited as obstacles to growth for a number of businesses. Nearly half say that lack of specifically skilled workers is a big barrier, as well as many saying they lack the time or resources to properly ‘work’ on their business days as they need to troubleshoot issues that arise rather than get on with fulfilling orders and making new sales. Access to funding is also an issue; with the banks often unwilling to lend, it’s worth it for firms to expand their search to look at alternative finance and invoice factoring, which can be a flexible option for a manufacturing firm.
Lorraine Holmes, Area Director of MAS commented: “The overwhelming feeling is one of positivity, with order books, sales expectations, future investment in premises/machinery and the desire to create employment all up on the previous report. Our companies are sending out a powerful message and highlighting their determination to explore new opportunities in 2013 following a year of global consolidation in 2012.”