SME manufacturers invited to pinpoint the support required for economic recovery | Manufacturing Growth Programme

The organisers behind England’s largest SME manufacturing survey are urging companies to take part in their latest report, which will aim to pinpoint the exact type of financial support firms need to recover from Covid-19.

The Manufacturing Barometer, which is delivered by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme, is now open to manufacturers and is expected to generate in excess of 300 responses, covering anything from current and future sales performance, through to thoughts on job creation/redundancies and plans for investment.

It takes just ten minutes to fill in (Barometer Survey) and also features a special focus section that will look to uncover some of the current pandemic and Brexit preparation issues facing businesses and what advice, guidance and financial support should be put in place to ensure a positive outcome.

“Given the ever-changing needs of industry, and, as businesses continue to work through this crisis, it’s important that SMEs are given a voice to communicate the support they need right here, right now,” said Nick Golding, Managing Director of South West Manufacturing Advisory Service.

“The Manufacturing Barometer does just that and we share the report with local stakeholders and national government to build an accurate picture of SME manufacturing, which can help to shape immediate and future industrial strategies.”

He went on to add: “We have already seen a number of manufacturers transform production to grab new opportunities since COVID-19 hit, with some utilising this time to enhance their capabilities, develop new products and upskill their staff.

“Despite some positive actions from businesses within the industry, we must continue to support their ongoing recovery over the coming months.”

The most recent Barometer, completed in July, highlighted that 59% of respondents were in ‘survival’ or ‘recovery’ mode.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, it also showed that over three quarters (76%) of SME manufacturers saw sales drop and almost half (48%) predict that this will continue until the end of 2020. This response highlights that, despite its best efforts, manufacturing would struggle to bounce back without meaningful support.

“In July, 80% said they had relied on the furlough scheme to retain employees, while over a third of businesses (36%) were expecting to make job cuts by the end of 2020,” added Martin Coats, Managing Director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme.

“With the scheme ending this month, and further local restrictions being implemented daily as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise, it’s vital that government understand what’s needed to protect UK manufacturing.”

He concluded: “This quarter we want to pinpoint the type of financial support that would have the greatest impact on SME manufacturers at this time. With the end of the EU transition period further changing the landscape for supply chains and export/import, we also want to uncover which non-financial support might help, including supply chain optimisation, recruitment and/or market diversification. It’s time for companies to have their say.”

The Manufacturing Barometer is open for responses until 3pm on Friday 30th October 2020. CLICK HERE TO TAKE PART