Manufacturing SMEs recognise need to focus on supply chains

23 May 2012

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23 May 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of manufacturing SMEs in England recognise the need to improve their supply chain processes.

A large number (195) of the 540 firms questioned about their supply chains said they had adequate control of processes, but saw the need to improve. A further 175 said there was some use of process improvement techniques along with problem investigation and improvement plans. 95 SMEs said continuous improvement tools and techniques were widely used, and 31 said these tools were embedded allowing for improvement for mutual benefit.

But at the other end of the scale, 44 firms said they had inadequate control of their processes, leading to hidden problems and worsening performance.

In total, 610 businesses representing more than 26,000 employees took part in the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) National Barometer first quarterly survey. The MAS is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and provides support for manufacturing businesses based in England to improve and grow.

According to the poll, 80 per cent of companies are looking to make operations more efficient, and 44 per cent of respondents are making investments to premises and machinery. Investment in new technology will help ensure competitiveness in a global market according to the 35 per cent of firms who are committing to it.

The results paint a positive picture of manufacturing in the next six months with 54 per cent of companies reporting an increase in turnover and 60 per cent expecting continued growth. In terms of employment, 41 per cent of companies plan to increase staff numbers, with a further 50 per cent anticipating employee numbers to remain the same.

The two major priorities for small manufacturers in the next 12 months are reviewing product prices (85 per cent) and looking at their product ranges (77 per cent).

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