Impressive sales results appear to have inspired an investment drive and appetite to recruit among small to medium sized (SME) manufacturers in the south west.
More than half (55%) of respondents to the latest Manufacturing Barometer recorded a rise in sales, with six in ten manufacturers expecting further increases between now and May 2015.
This growth looks to have had a positive influence on investment intentions, with 52% of manufacturers in the region stating that they expect to increase investment in new technology over the next six months. This is the highest figure recorded in the last three years and a possible indication of a move towards more advanced manufacturing.
Further reflection of growing confidence is illustrated by manufacturers’ recruitment plans, with 56% of respondents aiming to recruit more staff, the highest level since the same period last year.
Simon Howes, MAS area director at the Business Growth Service for south west England, commented: “Recent figures have suggested that UK manufacturing output lost momentum towards the end of 2014, leading to predictions of a general economic slowdown.
“However, in the south west, the Manufacturing Barometer indicates that SME manufactures have adapted well to a general softening in the marketplace and are now looking forward with a renewed sense of optimism.”
The Business Growth Service, launched last December by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, brings together GrowthAccelerator and the Manufacturing Advisory Service, with additional elements from the Intellectual Property Office (Intellectual Property Audits) and the Design Council (Design Mentoring).