A recent independent report has found that UK consumer manufacturers are now confident about future economic growth. Key findings of the market research, carried-out by operational improvement specialist Newton, include:
A rise in positive business sentiment to just below 80 per cent, following a 17-month downward trend
85 per cent of companies anticipate production volumes will increase to meet demand
Nearly 50 per cent of businesses see cost reduction as strategically important
90 per cent of companies believe significant additional profit can be made from improving operating performance, with the average being 2.5 per cent of turnover
60 per cent of companies consider themselves in a dominant market position, and even non-dominant players are feeling secure as 85 per cent of this subsection expect to grow strongly
Companies are making cultural shifts and engaging their people to enhance competitive advantage
Just over a fifth of organisations classify themselves as world class manufacturers
The study across manufacturing businesses provides an in-depth analysis on the drivers and opportunities behind manufacturing improvement, identifying that businesses are recognising the changes they need to make in order to lift their performance.
From fresh produce and ready meals through to household disposable products, the research finds encouraging indicators for the sector, particularly in the areas of overall business sentiment, business threats, quality and customer compliance, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and improvement potential.
Positive business sentiment stands at just below 80 per cent and appears relatively high given the overall fragility and volatility of the UK economy. However, the manufacturing and engineering industries have often been described as 'leading the way in terms of restored business confidence.'
Production volumes are on the rise, and growth is expected by both dominant and non-dominant market players, representing a significant shift in perception from the past 24 months. However, companies have also recognised that they need make efficiency improvements, both on the operational and cultural front.
The report also highlights those internal operating pressures facing UK manufacturing, which focus on labour efficiency, onsite skills, waste, company ownership and accountability.
Steve Knight, associate director at Newton said: "It is clearly apparent that companies are becoming more optimistic about the future business outlook.
"Although the participants of the study are only from a sample industry, the overall message that came out illustrates positive times for the sector.
"The evidence of the report also points to the fact that companies are now acutely aware of the areas of inefficiency within the business, and they see operational and process improvement as the key to driving up the bottom line, making those much needed savings and achieving world class manufacturing status."