Growth ahead for smaller manufacturers, says MAS

MASLorraine300Growth prospects among small manufacturing businesses in England are at a 12 month high, according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer. It reveals nearly two thirds (64%) of companies questioned are expecting to increase sales over the next six months.

There was also positive news on recent performance, with almost one half of the 700 firms who responded reporting a rise in sales and 93% either seeking or hanging on to staff.

The 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.

However, more than half of firms (52%) said their profit margins were poor.

Lorraine Holmes (pictured), area director for MAS in the North and West, said that although most key performance responses measured showed positive improvements, more negative findings, including the poor profit margins, painted a potential picture of unrealistic customer expectations with manufacturers favouring a more pragmatic approach to taking work on.

“An inability to meet design specification and issues with equipment capability were also quoted as possible barriers and this could underline the renewed desire for investment in new machinery and technology,” she added.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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