SME manufacturer confidence hits 12 month high
Growth prospects amongst England’s small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers is at a twelve month high according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) barometer, which reveals nearly two thirds (64%) of companies questioned are expecting to increase sales over the next six months.
There is equally positive news on recent performance, with 47% of the 700 respondents reporting a rise in sales turnover (up 4% on the previous quarter), whilst 93% are looking to take staff on or keep workforce levels the same.
Appetite for investment has also seen an upturn, with 39% planning to boost spending on new technologies and 48% intending to invest in new machinery and premises – both up 4% on the same period last year.
According to MAS, the “overwhelming optimism” comes despite ongoing barriers causing SME manufacturers to turn down new opportunities.
Poor profit margins appear as the main issue, followed by an inability to meet lead times, and design specification.
Lorraine Holmes, area director for MAS in the North and West, comments: “Poor profit margins and lead times both paint a potential picture of unrealistic customer expectations and it appears that manufacturers are favouring a more pragmatic approach to taking work on.”