London and South East manufacturers set to please the Bank of England

Published:  27 November, 2014

The recent Bank of England’s call for improving productivity appears already to have been answered by small and medium manufacturers in London and the South East as they continue to grow and adapt to a general softening in the marketplace. The latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer revealed that over half of the companies in the South East (53%) felt that they had raised their productivity in the last six months with three quarters (75%) admitting further efficiency gains were necessary in order to remain competitive.

Steven Barr, Head of MAS commented: “Our Barometer shows that manufacturers are already raising productivity and this should please the Bank of England following recent recommendations. This is welcome news at a time when there are mixed messages around economic activity, with the UK holding up relatively well against a less than positive outlook from our Eurozone trading partners.”

Sam Duong, CEO of Kent-based Ming Foods agrees: “Since we launched in 2005 our business has experienced high growth and we now successfully export across Europe. We fuse traditional techniques with leading edge technology to manufacture and package high quality Chinese pastry products. The demand for our products has allowed us to upscale from a 4,000 square foot to a 32,000 square foot premises, with the intention of increasing company growth, diversifying product range and ultimately inspiring and nurturing a family of businesses.”

Cautious optimism is the overarching sentiment among the 291 respondents within London and the South East. Many manufacturers are prepared to spend to make this happen, as 62% who responded said that they were already planning to invest in new technology, machinery or premises.

Oxfordshire-based injection moulders Data Plastics has enjoyed a record breaking year. MD Carl Reeve explained, “The growth this year has been remarkable, especially in the medical sector, consumer products and our work with start-up businesses. It has enabled us to invest heavily in new plant and machinery to enhance our service levels. We place a huge emphasis on training and staff development which has helped us negate the skills shortage in the area”.

Likewise, Hampshire-based Ahmarra Group’s MD Tim Doran says: “During our 20 years of business, we have continuously invested in new technologies and product development and when combined with the finest craftsmanship, we have been able to guarantee the very best standards in door manufacturing. We are proud to fly the flag for UK manufacturing and expect our business to continue to grow by 10% a year through new product ranges and innovations. We currently employ 55 staff at our manufacturing plant.”

For the sixth successive quarterly report, more than half of the South East manufacturers (57%) recorded an increase in sales, with 79% expecting to grow between now and March 2015. Furthermore, 57% of firms are currently planning to increase their workforce, highlighting the determination to build capacity across the supply chain.

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