Manufacturing responds to pressure

An unexpected rise in manufacturing output in April is contradicting what is actually happening in industry, according to the head of one UK-based electronics manufacturer.

“The manufacturing industry is experiencing tough weather conditions and only the strong will survive,” said Eamonn Walsh, managing director of Brainboxes.

An unexpected increase of 0.9 per cent in manufacturing output across the whole of UK industry in April, according to Government statistics, followed two months of decline. The three month average is still 1.4 per cent down as firm’s struggle against the unfavourable exchange rate and competition from lower cost regions of the world.

There is a feeling that many firms are stronger and with better business strategies to deal with the competitive pressures.

“It is a truism that what does not kill you makes you stronger. UK manufacturing must implement best practices of lean manufacturing, world class design and vigorous sales and marketing or risk being killed off,” said Walsh.

PCB firm Circatex believes that there is business to be won for those firms which have adapted to the more competitive environment. “You cannot be what you were a few years ago but in advanced technologies such as defence and avionics there is a market which is there for the taking,” said business development manager Ed Smith.

According to Graham Keddie, chairman of GSPK: “I firmly believe it is continuous innovation and new product development that will encourage the survival of manufacturing in this country.”

The British Chambers of Commerce, which represents small businesses, said last week that despite the improvement in April manufacturing output, “there is still a distinct danger of renewed recession in manufacturing”.

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