Manufacturing News – Late February 2021

A North West pilot which has helped hundreds of SME manufacturers access technology and digital tools to boost productivity, growth and create jobs, is to continue as part of an £8m government roll-out.

The successful initiative becomes part of the Government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, which now expands into the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

It means hundreds of more manufacturers in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Liverpool City Region will be able to learn how digital transformation can help them recover, grow, and create resilience.

Brexit challenges threaten to hold back England’s SME manufacturers as they recover from the effects of COVID, but reshoring opportunities are opening up.

The latest Manufacturing Barometer, which is produced by SWMAS (the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), reveals almost two thirds (65%) of companies have seen negative price changes within their supply chain since leaving the EU, with the availability of raw materials an issue for 56% of firms.

Of the 284 national respondents, more than half cited complications with exporting (54%) and importing goods (56%) since December 31st, causing potential short and long-term hits on volumes and new opportunities.

This survey, the largest of its kind in the UK, also highlighted that less than a third of SME manufacturers feel they are getting the right support and guidance from Government on how to navigate changes caused by Brexit, underlining the need for better communication and additional tailored support.

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