Optimism grows among sector’s SMEs

TWO thirds of manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Yorkshire and the Humber are expecting sales turnover to grow between now and June, according to a new survey.

The latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer also shows that 40 per cent of companies questioned have seen an increase in their order books over the past six months.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of surveyed firms expect to take on staff and 44 per cent expect to invest in new premises and machinery.

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The latest MAS Barometer, which surveyed 700 firms nationally, including 100 in Yorkshire and the Humber, provides an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector from October 2012 to January 2013.

Forty per cent of companies reported an increase in sales turnover, fewer than the percentage recorded in the previous sur- vey.

Just over half of manufacturers cited the availability of specific skills as a barrier to growth, whilst 33 per cent of management teams admitted they do not have enough capacity to ‘work on’ their businesses.

Martin Coats, area director for MAS in the East, explained: “The overwhelming feeling is one of positivity, with sales expectations, future investment in premises/machinery and the desire to create employment all up on the previous report.

“Our companies are sending out a powerful message and highlighting their determination to explore new opportunities in 2013 following a year of global consolidation in 2012.”

MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works with manufacturers to help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Manufacturing is a key driver in our economy, which is why it takes centre stage in the industrial strategy for growth.”