Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector are increasing their investment in 2014, in order to launch new products and processes, improve quality, and generally meet with the growing demand they are facing, according to the MAS Barometer.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service, part of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, has compiled the Barometer since 2012, and the latest instalment reveals plenty of reason to be optimistic, including some record-breaking figures for the fledgling survey.
For the first time in the data series, most manufacturers in England expect their staffing levels to increase in the coming six months, with the figure of 53% representing a 14% increase from the previous instalment in the MAS Barometer.
These new employees will be adding much-needed new skills to some manufacturers as they move into new areas; 30% of those surveyed are investing in new equipment, premises and infrastructure in order to launch new products and processes, while 31% are aiming to raise quality and efficiency levels.
And interestingly, only 19% of the survey’s respondents said they approached banks for lending in the last year, compared with 21% who turned to the Regional Growth Fund, and 27% who accessed funding via grants.
Steven Barr, head of MAS, said: “Investment is crucial if we are going to take advantage of reshoring and predicted growth in markets such as offshore wind, renewables and low-carbon vehicles.
“Importantly, 6% of smaller businesses are looking to spend more than £500,000. This is a significant figure and proves that SMEs are prepared to invest big in order to take advantage of opportunities presented by the upturn.”