Welcome to the seventh issue of The Engine from MHA’s specialist Manufacturing sector team

Whatever adjective you might use to describe the current time, and there are many, it is unlikely to be a period that we will forget in a hurry.

The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to businesses and encouraged manufacturers to remain open. They have asked the sector to consider if they can help to “answer the call to action” and play a “direct role in combating Covid-19”. Many manufacturers have risen to the challenge and our first article highlights a few examples of these.

Our second article focuses on the value of finding a way to visually engage staff toward a unified goal. The Government has managed to get us to understand “the Curve” and the need for this to be flattened as part of the fight against Covid-19. We highlight a way that this can be used to focus on cash – so important at this time.

One of the ways that the Government has offered help is via CBILS (Government backed loans) but businesses need to be properly prepared ahead of any lending application. We have summarised a few helpful tips.

Finally, we highlight the quandary that businesses face in choosing between two different types of state aid; CBILS and R&D tax reclaims.

To download a copy of the newsletter please click here. If you would like any further information on the topics featured in this newsletter please contact Ginni Cooper.

MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report 2019/20 – Video Part 2

Investment is key for growth in the sector.

As in previous years, answers to the various sections of the survey brought about some recurring themes and also a couple of surprises e.g. Business confidence.

When asked specifically about revenue growth– results are optimistic and at a similar level to last year – 70% of respondents anticipating growth over the next 12 months (71% last year). 64% of respondents are planning to invest in R&D – It is encouraging that 89% of respondents invested in R&D in the last year but frustrating that only 48% of those who invested successfully applied for R&D tax credits.

Click here to read the full report.

MHA Manufacturing and Engineering Report 2019/20 – Video Part 1

Compare your business against national findings.

The survey is a national one and this is the 8th year we have run it. We had in excess of 230 responses this year, from businesses of varying sizes and maturity.

A key change this year in the way we have utilised and presented the survey findings has been to engage with our Data Insights Team. In addition to collecting the responses to the survey, we have also carried out a benchmarking exercise with publicly available data on over 1,000 companies within the same geographical and financial parameters so that we can compare and contrast findings.

Click here to watch Part 2 – Investment is key for growth in the sector.

Click here to read the full report.

Manufacturing and Engineering Report 2019/20

Manufacturing & Engineering Annual Survey Report: UK SME manufacturers continue to grow and build resilience

Our MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Survey Report, now in its seventh year, is a go-to report when it comes to understanding the sector, its opportunities and challenges.

We benchmark SMEs across the UK to paint a national picture of the Manufacturing and Engineering sector. To broaden the content of this report and make it more useful as a benchmarking exercise we have changed our methodology this year. In addition to collecting responses to a client survey, we compare this to in-depth quantitative analysis which has been done in conjunction with our Data Insights team.

This years’ report reveals that while global economic conditions, Brexit/future trading tariffs and staff shortages impacted growth, SMEs remain buoyant and they’re building resilience by increasing their assets, reducing borrowing and re-evaluating supply chains.

Preparing today for the skills of tomorrow

The 45th WorldSkills Competition took place in August with 1,354 young professionals from 63 countries and regions demonstrating their strength in 56 skills across a range of sectors. The manufacturing and engineering sector was represented by skills such as CNC milling, welding, mechanical engineering CAD and electronics amongst several others.

Our manufacturing employers are only too aware of the need to attract and retain the skills required within their business but are the skills needed today going to be the skills required in the future?

According to recent research by BAE systems, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will strongly influence the careers of future generations. Almost half of young people (47%) aged between 16-24 believe that one day they will work in a role that doesn’t exist yet, but only one-in-five (18%) think they are equipped with the skills required to future-proof their careers. The findings also revealed that 70% of young people want more guidance on the skills that will be in demand in the next 20 years to help make more informed decisions on their further education and careers.

Do our manufacturers therefore need to engage with educational institutions to help direct training towards future skills needs ? Possibly.

The connected factory is fast evolving, with investment in intelligent machinery and robots improving efficiencies and reducing waste. It may therefore be more appropriate, whist waiting for changes in the education sector to feed through to think about re-training and upskilling current employees to be able to handle the jobs of tomorrow. Given the fact that the concept of “a job for life” is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, giving employees the opportunity to multi-skill and move around departments may be key to retaining them within the organisation and satisfying their need to move on/ try something new. The result should also be beneficial for the organisation, with a diverse multi-functional workforce who embrace change in a positive manner and improved recruitment potential in the coming years.

For more information related to this blog, please contact Ginni Cooper