Supply chain support and longer term assistance are top priorities for UK manufacturing SMEs if they are to make the most of the recovery from the pandemic and the UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund.
These are two findings from the latest Manufacturing Growth Program (MGP) report, which found that 75 percent of 335 respondents said improving their supply chain would make them more profitable, while grants to help them buy and invest in new equipment in digitization would make the biggest difference to their continued performance.
The survey found that management teams wanted access to specialized outside advice and financing to increase profitability (68 percent), increase sales (62 percent) and increase productivity (58 percent).
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Three quarters believed leadership and management training is helpful, while 83 percent said they wanted to provide business support from experts with significant industry experience, such as MGP Growth Managers. Just over a quarter said they want to use aid to help them move towards Net Zero and get the most out of the green economy.
“We are operating in unique times, with companies looking to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic, but against a volatile backdrop of supply chain disruption and mounting inflationary pressures. It’s critical that production bosses continue to receive specialized support to rebuild their growth strategies,” said Dean Barnes, regional director for the company. Production growth program†
“Manufacturing accounts for 10 per cent of the national GDP and still accounts for half of the UK’s exported goods and nearly two-thirds of all R&D activity in this country. For these reasons alone, we need to understand what the industry wants and needs to grow.”
He continued: “The report clearly underscores some common themes and the need for longer term assistance to reap the most benefit and, most importantly, for deep supply chain support in addition to more grants available to spend on capital purchases.
“These are important messages to send to governments as they seek to reshape the business support landscape.”
the recent top up white paper plans to ensure manufacturers automate, decarbonise and build resilience by 2030.
According to MGP, this will be achieved by maximizing existing spend and non-spending policy levers and strategic investments to attract, secure and grow supply chains, working closely with local leaders, industry and academia.
“Leveling is one of the government’s key commitments and MGP has been doing just that since 2016, with increased support and activity in transition regions across the country to help them ‘take off’ from the more developed areas outside London,” said Jane Galsworthy, director of Oxford Innovation Advice, which provides the ERDF-funded MGP.
“We’ve given the powers that are a blueprint for how they provide industry-specific support that addresses low productivity levels, the failure of SMEs to seek help and lack of innovation among our smaller manufacturers.”