Manufacturing SMEs in England appear determined to meet the industry call for greater investment according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer.
Half of the 682 companies questioned expect to spend more on new machinery and premises over the next six months, a clear 12 percent rise on the same period last year.
There appears to be a similar appetite for embracing new technologies, with 40 percent of firms indicating they will fund more activity in this area.
In further positive news for the sector, 53 percent of SME manufacturers reported an increase in sales in the first half of the year, with an all time National Barometer high of 67 percent predicting further growth over the next six months.
David Caddle, Area Director for the Manufacturing Advisory Service, commented:
“Encouragingly, the latest Barometer provides the clearest indication yet that companies are prepared to invest in new machinery and their premises in a bid to remain competitive and take advantage of significant opportunities both at home and abroad.”
He continued: “This sense of optimism is also present when it comes to employing new staff. 43 percent of SMEs (up three percent on the last report) are planning to hire new people with a further 50 percent expecting to keep workforce levels the same. “
Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “It is particularly encouraging to see that confidence is returning and manufacturers are becoming more optimistic about their future growth.”
The second MAS Barometer of 2013 collected responses from 682 manufacturing SMEs across England, providing an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector from April to June this year.
The regular quarterly special focus concentrated on finding out whether business growth could be linked to innovation.
82 percent of respondents reported that new products introduced over the last two years had led to new sales, with more than half (55 percent) reporting an increase in both sales and profits. Over a third (36 percent) of respondents said that new sales accounted for 25 percent or more of their total turnover.