Small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs) in England are reporting increased sales over the past six months, new findings reveal.
According to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) National Barometer, some 53 per cent of SMEs questioned experienced a rise in orders.
The same amount are predicting a further upturn in orders before the end of 2012.
The increase in orders reported has led to a third of companies planning to create new jobs to deal with growth. To grow turnovers further, 71 per cent are looking to ramp up exporting in the next 18 months.
Compared to results from the first MAS National Barometer in May, figures are slightly down. Statistics at the time showed that 60 per cent were expecting growth between then and the end of the year, with 41 per cent predicting an increase in staff headcount.
MAS’ new survey finds that 40 per cent of respondents noted an increase in enquiries, down from the 49 per cent recorded in May’s research.
Business minister Mark Prisk says that the latest findings show that UK manufacturing firms are growing despite the ‘challenging wider economic environment’.
He adds, ‘The government is committed to helping manufacturers make the most of the opportunities for growth and job creation through our continued investment in MAS.’
The MAS has made export the ‘specialist focus’ for its second report and has found that 41 per cent believe that succeeding overseas is the biggest challenge to succeeding.
To deal with this, 38 per cent of survey respondents are considering investment in new machinery and premises.
Precision component manufacturer Brandauer was one of the companies questioned in the survey.
Rowan Crozier, sales and marketing director at the company, comments, ‘Nearly 80 per cent of our turnover is export and the majority is for China and the US, so we haven’t really been affected by the Eurozone crisis.
‘I feel that English manufacturers will have to broaden their horizons; there’s a whole new world of potential clients out there in countries outside our traditional markets.’
David Caddle, area director for MAS, believes that despite the positive signs of growth and expansion, there is still a ‘more cautious outlook going forward’ for SME manufacturers in England.
The MAS National Barometer surveys the responses from decision makers at 700 companies and is conducted on a quarterly basis.