Manufacturing SMEs look to increase their commitment to invest

New data has suggested that small to medium-sized manufacturing firms in England are increasing their investment levels.


The latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer survey revealed that half of the 682 companies questioned said that they expected to spend more money by investing in new machinery and premises over the next six months.


The value of thinking ahead


The figures represent a 12% rise year on year, and 40% of the firms questioned also said that the increased funding will be in some part focused on activities involving new technologies. This level of forward planning by SMEs can often be crucial in the pursuit of sustainable growth.


The widely regarded industry survey also reported that 53% of SME manufacturers had seen an increase in sales in the first half of this year and 67% predicted further growth over the next six months, which is a record high for the National Barometer.


David Caddle, Area Director for the Manufacturing Advisory Service, said: “Manufacturers tend to be very cautious and traditionally would have needed significant confidence in the long-term future to relax the purse strings."


“Encouragingly, the latest Barometer provides the clearest indication yet that companies are prepared to invest in new machinery and their premises in a bid to remain competitive and take advantage of significant opportunities both at home and abroad,” he explained.


More encouraging news for the economy


The second MAS Barometer of 2013 had collected responses from 682 manufacturing SMEs across England, with the aim of providing a clear picture of economic conditions and issues that the companies encountered throughout the period of April to June.


Michael Fallon, Business and Energy Minister, said: “These findings are the latest indication that the economy is starting to head in the right direction, as we move from rescue to recovery. It is particularly encouraging to see that confidence is returning and manufacturers are becoming more optimistic about their future growth."


The Manufacturing Advisory Service is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and aims to help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.


The latest report focused on finding out whether business growth could be linked to innovation. 82% of those firms who took part said that new products introduced over the last two years had led to new sales, and for 55% this meant an increase in profits.


By Phil Smith


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