20 Jan 2017
Support for manufacturers through a bumpy 2017
UK manufacturers expect 2017 to be another year of risks but are gearing up to face the challenges head-on. Companies will be tested to their limits and are well advised to accept help and advice wherever it is on offer.
While almost half of manufacturing and engineering companies see more risks than opportunities, the sector is far from apprehensive, according to recent research*. Instead, UK firms are focused on delivering ambitious growth plans and are feeling positive about productivity, employment, investment and sales. They are realistic about the challenges however, with almost half steeling themselves for a decline in both UK and global economic conditions during the year ahead. Brexit is considered a significant risk factor, impacting many areas including exchange rates, input costs and market volatility. Overall however, six in ten view the UK as a competitive location for manufacturing – higher than in 2016.
When it comes to their own performance, many still expect to pack a punch. Half aim to increase investment in technology and innovation, 56 per cent will look to improve productivity through process innovations and 41 per cent will diversify into export markets.
Turning these predictions into reality will be dependent on carefully detailed business plans and growth strategies. More than ever, the current unpredictable economic conditions call for long-term and broad-based planning.
Help is at hand for Gloucestershire companies at Festomane, the annual festival of manufacturing and engineering. They are invited to take advantage of free expert advice on issues ranging from increasing efficiency and raising productivity to developing new ideas.
‘Grow your Manufacturing and Engineering Business’ is an evening networking event on Thursday 9th February dedicated to the needs of firms looking to grow and improve their performance. Senior managers from leading companies will discuss how they tackle and overcome challenges - from developing new products and introducing new technologies to managing the supply chain and more. Delegates will gain fascinating insights into leading-edge thinking on critical issues and establish valuable contacts in the Gloucestershire supply chain.
The seminar will also bring together organisations dedicated to helping small and medium-sized manufacturing and engineering businesses: experts in fields ranging from growth strategy, investment, funding and grants to exporting, legal and more.
Taking place from 4 until 7pm at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Stroud, the event is free to attend but places are strictly limited so any business wanting its share of the sector’s forecast growth should book via Festomane’s website www.festomane.co.uk.
Festomane’s ‘Creation & Innovation Revealed Exhibition’ on Wednesday 15th February offers companies free display space to show off their products, innovations and activities to the public. Teenagers and adults will have a chance to explore routes into a fulfilling career, whilst the young are encouraged to get hands-on with activities and discover the fun of engineering. For business leaders, meanwhile, it presents another valuable networking opportunity.
Global upheaval means that 2017 looks set to be a bumpy ride, with manufacturers forced to navigate uncertain, unpredictable conditions. There can be little doubt that the businesses best attuned to the challenges and most clearly focused will be those most likely to deliver on their long-term growth plans.
For more information about Festomane events and support for manufacturing and engineering companies, go to www.festomane.co.uk.