According to a new Innovation Monitor survey from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and NatWest Bank, the sector is now looking beyond its recovery-driven need to focus on cost cutting to meet the needs of existing customers towards increasingly ambitious innovation strategies. More than 70% are planning to move into new markets on the strength of innovation in products and services – a jump from 54% in the past three years.
EEF Director of Policy Steve Radley said: “After a long and slow recovery manufacturers are looking to drive growth through innovation, developing new products and services for new markets. However, the demands of selling into new markets have increased the ‘need for speed’ when it comes to innovation, something that remains a key challenge for manufacturers. Encouragingly, government schemes are well-targeted to help manufacturers, but in order to deliver the stability companies need, there must be a longer-term commitment to innovation funding.”
The survey comes in the wake of official data that showed a 49% increase in the uptake of the R&D Tax Credits by SMEs between 2008/9 and 2001/12.
However, EEF points out that, the survey also highlights that at 1.1% of GDP Business Expenditure on R&D (BERD) in the UK remains low by international standards.
The survey’s key findings include:
– 71% of companies plan innovation to export to new markets in the next three years
– 73% of companies plan to bring new products to market in the next three years
– 75% of companies say speed to market is more important than it was in the past, but speed of innovation remains a top concern
– Two thirds of companies collaborate with a research institution
– Half of companies collaborate on research with organisations overseas
– European research funding a positive benefit for UK companies
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.