A good number of SMEs in the manufacturing sector appear to be ready to make the investments in plant and machinery that will enable them to survive and prosper, suggests the findings of the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer.
Half (50%) of the 682 companies questioned expect to spend more on new machinery and premises over the next six months, a 12% rise on the same period last year. And four in ten have a similar appetite for embracing new technologies.
In further positive news for the sector, 53% of the English SME manufacturers surveyed reported an increase in sales in the first half of the year, with an all time National Barometer high of 67% predicting further growth over the next six months.
MAS area director David Caddle (pictured) said that traditionally cautious manufacturers would have needed significant confidence in the long-term future to relax the purse strings.
He continued: “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.
“It is a reassuring finding and appears to meet the EEF’s recent call for the sector to fund more research, innovation and export growth.”
The Barometer also reflected optimism in terms of employing new staff, with 43% of SMEs (up 3% on the last report) planning to hire new people with a further 50% expecting to keep workforce levels the same.
Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said the findings indicated that the economy was starting to “head in the right direction, as we move from rescue to recovery”.
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.