UK manufacturers have felt for some time that they are the poor relation throughout Europe and the rest of the world when it comes to support from the government. Many believe that other countries receive far more support than here in Britain. But there have been strong signs recently that this is changing, with a number of government initiatives geared towards boosting the economy by getting manufacturing back on its feet.
Recent economic figures show that manufacturing is on an upward trend, and the sector has just received a welcome boost from the budget in the form of the Annual Investment Allowance, which has been set at the high rate of £500,000 – twice as high as last year, and dwarfing the figure in previous years. This is aimed at encouraging businesses to take full advantage of tax reliefs so they can invest in growing their companies, and further help the UK economy beyond recovery and into a period of sustained growth.
Another government initiative, Reshoring UK, is aimed at bringing manufacturing output back to Britain, and if you’ve read the business press just lately, this seems to be having the desired effect with numerous experts joining in this particular debate and discussing the various issues involved, and what this means for the UK and its economy – but more importantly, what it means for manufacturing businesses (see our Reshoring blog which will be added in the next few days!)
The latest Annual Manufacturing Report 2014 could be seen as a barometer for the general feeling among manufacturers and there does appear to be a significant amount of renewed optimism. The report states: “In 2014, manufacturers are demonstrating both strong investment intentions for machinery and IT as well as enthusiasm for the overall economic outlook for the industry.”
Moving Beyond Recovery
Growing a sustainable business takes more than just optimism, however. Manufacturers need full order books, they need to invest in new plant and equipment, they need access to finance, and they need to have a skilled and capable workforce.
One of the key concerns for manufacturers over the past few difficult years has been the need to become more efficient in their processes to help with streamlining overheads and expenditure. This has been driven by the need to simply survive through hard economic times, but with signs of recovery continuing to gather pace, these efficiencies will now help to fuel growth and prosperity. Manufacturers are recognising this, especially when it comes to operations on the factory floor.
With 85% of respondents to the Annual Manufacturing Report expressing their intention to invest in IT projects, and 35% looking to invest in ERP in particular, it looks like the drive to increase efficiencies will continue.
With support for manufacturing starting to materialise, there has never been a better time to invest in capital projects. What the industry is beginning to realise, is that technology is a key enabler in helping to achieve growth. It is streamlining operational processes, making long term cost savings and helping manufacturers to stay ahead of competition in a tough competitive market. Are you investing in new technology to get ahead?