Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Manufacturing Barometer reveals worrying picture for manufacturers

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Manufacturing Barometer reveals worrying picture for manufacturers

Manufacturing Barometer reveals worrying picture for manufacturers
April 16
14:04 2020
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SWMAS released the initial findings of the current Manufacturing Barometer survey that shows a reduction in volumes, potential job cuts, and confusion around Government support

SME manufacturers in England are being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 87% of companies identifying a significant decrease in production volumes.

The report shows that almost 9 out of 10 of respondents expect sales to drop over the next six months, whilst more than half predict the need to cut staff  – despite the Government’s furloughing scheme being introduced to boost employee retention and preserve businesses.

There also appears to be continued confusion over the business support available. Nearly three-quarters of firms questioned either don’t think the assistance being offered is sufficient or are unsure of the help they can access.

Unsurprisingly, almost 90% said that financial support was needed most, followed by overcoming supply chain disruption and detailed business advice on how to cope with the pandemic.

SWMAS Director Simon Howes commented: “COVID-19 is already having a significant impact on the majority of SME manufacturers surveyed and many of those who have yet to experience a change are expecting this global health and economic crisis to affect their business over the coming weeks and months. 

“Unlike many sectors, our manufacturing industry cannot be carried out remotely as it relies on physical interaction with machinery and parts. Current restrictions and lockdown measures in the UK mean capacity is reduced, and this is reflected in four-fifths of companies seeing a reduction in staff attendance.

“Companies who may still be able to produce goods are still reliant on their supply chains and a massive 80% of businesses questioned are either struggling to source materials or have seen reduced orders from customers since the COVID-19 crisis began.”

“Just over half of respondents have said that restrictions on exporting and importing is having an impact on their operations, so whether they trade nationally or worldwide, many small and medium-sized UK manufacturers are uncertain of what the future holds.

“86% confirmed they will need financial assistance, yet there is a great deal of uncertainty over the eligibility criteria for business loans and how quickly these can be accessed, if at all. 

“Many are also concerned about how paying furloughed staff will affect their cash flow in the short term before government support becomes available. Whilst the Government’s initial support package was widely welcomed by the industry, there is a need to provide deeper advice and support for manufacturers to help them to adapt and to survive.”

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