Overcoming Growth Challenges | Manufacturing Growth Programme

Your business is growing, and sales are increasing but you may now be facing efficiency problems, hold ups in manufacturing production, decreased motivation in staff, increased errors or you simply can’t keep up with the demand.

To overcome growth challenges, a fresh pair of eyes can help you identify what actions need to be put in place to ensure your business can achieve its growth potential efficiently and effectively.

Research from the latest National Manufacturing Barometer report has shown that SME manufacturers have had a productive last six months, with those saying they achieved an increase in sales holding steady at around 60% and those increasing profits up from 23% to 30%.

This was supported by a continued increase in those investing in machinery and premises at a two year high of 48% and those reporting an increase in staff recruited holding steady at 45%. The key highlights this quarter is the increase in the number of manufacturers telling us they plan to increase staff numbers – it climbs to 53%, the highest figure for three years.

Analysis of the key trends and qualitative statements in this quarter’s Barometer also points to the continued ambition amongst UK SME manufacturers. The language used still indicates expectations of growth and increased productivity and profitability, but this is balanced by a need for stability and ‘survival’, perhaps a symptom of the current political and uncertain economic climate.

This is linked to clear messages around plans for diversification and looking for new ways of achieving goals – new markets, new premises, new products, product and service development, new machinery, increasing brand awareness, and new staff.

The picture for the next six months is somewhat less optimistic with those expecting an increase in sales dropping from 72% to 68% and a subsequent shift in those who believe their sales will fall going from 6% to 11%. This potential softening of confidence is supported by a reported drop from 56% to 48% in those who are expecting to increase investment in machinery and premises.

Could this be a result of having challenges from the previous six-months growth success?

Over the last 20 months, the Manufacturing Growth Programme has supported over 2370 SME manufacturers identify their barriers for growth as well as support them with the challenges faced when growth has challenged their strategic, operational and production output.

The way in which the programme can support with these growth challenges can be through a variety of ways.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme can help with projects such as:

Implementing a new business strategy to help align all areas of the business to support the new direction of the business due to the increased growth will help productivity levels and reduce mis-communication.

Putting new systems and procedures into place to incorporate any new control measures required, help management to track performance and encourage employees to continue with the quality of work with higher demands.

Getting the best out of your team through productivity and capacity. Improving effectiveness through value streams and process mapping to increase awareness and implement the development needed to reach the new growth.

Managing the continuous improvement. Planning and implementing risk managements and problem solving throughout the whole organisation and future planning for further development of the business for continued growth.

Martin Coats, Managing Director of Economic Growth Solutions deliverer of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, said: “UK manufacturing SMEs are at the forefront of leading our economic growth. It is great to see we are playing our role with our manufacturing experts able to get under the skin of what support firms need to grow and support the challenges when growth happens.

“We understand the language MDs are talking and can guide them on making the right decisions, before bringing in specialists on specific issues they are facing or opportunities they’re looking to explore.

“Across the UK, nearly 2,400 companies have now been assisted and we’ve created more than 1,400 new jobs – apprentices, operatives, experienced engineers, R and D specialists.

“We still have £1.2 million of grants to deliver and we want manufacturers to come forward and see how they can take advantage of the assistance on offer.

“It’s never been easier, as the process is quick, and the scope of support can be tailored to the exact needs of the business.”

Copyright © Economic Growth Solutions, 7th June 2018.