A significant majority of UK manufacturing SMEs are predicted turnover growth in the next 12 months, new research from Paragon Bank has found.
A survey of over 1,000 SMEs, conducted by Opinium on behalf of Paragon found that, despite wider economic challenges, 45% of firms in the sector are expecting turnover to increase, with a further 30% planning for it to stay at its current level.
Optimism within the sector is matched by plans for investment, with 55% of manufacturing SMEs set to increase investment in their businesses in the next 12 months – and a 29% to maintain current investment spending.
The findings come as part of a national poll into UK SMEs, which found that nearly a quarter of all businesses (23%) expect turnover growth of up to 5%, with 14% forecasting growth of between 5% and 10%. A further 7% expect growth of above 10% during the period.
UK manufacturers reported a slight fall in output in the three months to September, with a much sharper decline expected in the next three months, according to the latest CBI/Accenture monthly Industrial Trends Survey. This is the weakest expectation for output growth since the three months to January 2021.
The survey found that total order books were seen as broadly normal in September, while stocks were more than adequate for the first time since April 2021. Manufacturers continue to expect a rapid increase in average selling prices in the coming quarter (+59% from +57% last month).
The West Midlands has the potential for a £1.5bn a year manufacturing dividend, according to new analysis by the UK’s strategic hub for industrial research.
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult analysis marks the move of its HQ to Innovation Birmingham, part of the Bruntwood SciTech network and Birmingham’s leading digital and tech campus. Formed 11 years ago by Innovate UK, the HVM Catapult comprises seven research centres, including WMG, and worked with more than 5,500 industrial partners in 2020/21.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Birmingham – and indeed the wider West Midlands – has for centuries enjoyed a distinguished heritage as a centre of manufacturing excellence and it remains a source of strength as we reinvent the sector for the 21st century.
“Thanks to the calibre of research output emanating from our local universities, our dynamic private sector and cross-party political will, we’re well placed to help shape the future of manufacturing not just here in the UK but right around the world.
August saw manufacturing production suffer its steepest contraction since May 2020. Companies experienced a sharp reversal in new orders, with demand from domestic and overseas clients contracting sharply. This led to a near stalling of jobs growth and drop in business optimism.
The seasonally adjusted S&P Global / CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) fell to 47.3 in August, down from 52.1 in July but above the flash estimate of 46.0. This is the first sub-50.0 PMI reading since May 2020.
Integrating Mitsubishi Electric’s robotic solutions, Horizon Instruments and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), part of the University of Warwick, have created the first automated solution which combines two key operations in rotor assembly.
This innovative setup for magnetisation and magnet bonding in electric motors includes a compact and flexible setup, which leverages a four-axis SCARA and a six-axis articulated robot arm and offers a wide range of motor sizes and topologies. The unit will play a key role in WMG’s Winding Centre of Excellence (WCE), which will be able to offer advanced flexibility, performance, precision and accuracy for the production of next-level motors.
The WMG research institution at the University of Warwick is establishing WCE to help UK manufacturers and supply chain companies deliver the next generation of sustainable electric motors and address electrification needs.
The innovative facility received a share of £33m funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, whose selected centres have been designed to support the UK in becoming a beacon in power electronics, machines, and drives (PEMD). The WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) at the University of Warwick also contributed £300,000 in funding.
The centre will be open to external partners and is expected to support a wide range of industry-oriented projects. To succeed, it will feature state-of-the-art winding equipment as well as supporting infrastructures, such as impregnation and machine testing units.