Small and Medium sized manufacturing companies have been seen to be looking for productivity gains from their workforce and existing equipment before looking into investing in automation. The National Manufacturing Barometer has released this new finding as a part of their quarterly survey. This research was carried out by SWMAS, which is a part of Exelin Group, in partnership with Economic Growth Solutions. The survey asked 280 manufacturing industry leaders how they plan to increase their business’ productivity.
The survey has explored the different ways in which industry leaders are looking to increase their business’ productivity. From the 280 manufacturing leaders, only 43% of those who responded said that they were looking to invest in new equipment, and only 40% were looking to recruit in order to meet future increased in sales. This would be the lowest figure that has been reported by the Manufacturing Barometer for Recruitment since 2013.
However, the Barometer still shows that the sales growth is expected to continue. 61% of firms has reported an increase in sales over the course of the last six months. 59% of businesses have also said that they believe this trend will continue due, which then further emphasises the need to improve productivity in order to deliver more growth.
The manufacturing industry appears to be relatively buoyant in recent years, in contradiction to economists’ warnings that the UK’s productivity continues to stay behind the majority of their trading partners such as the US, France and Germany. However, the impact of Brexit has further emphasised the importance of improving efficiency. In order to boost productivity, the majority of respondents said that they are more likely to prioritise smarter working practices as well as better utilisation of existing equipment as opposed to investing in new equipment of automated processes. Manufacturers are aware of the requirement to increase productivity, but despite the news about robotics and automation, are focusing first of all on making the most of the resources they already have.