Almost three quarters of SME manufacturers expecting sales growth in next six months

Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the manufacturing sector are anticipating strong sales growth over the next six months, while a further 59 per cent are expecting to achieve increased profits, a new study suggests.

The findings, which feature in manufacturing consultancy group SWMAS’ latest quarterly survey, suggest that business confidence remains strong among SMEs despite the day-to-day challenges many face.

The survey found that 70 per cent of small businesses quizzed were feeling confident about productivity, while a further 48 per cent were hoping to expand and recruit new staff in the next six months.

It also found that 45 per cent of manufacturers had enjoyed an increase in profits last year, while more than half (56 per cent) felt confident they would deliver against their growth targets in 2018.

Commenting on the research, Simon Howes, CEO of Exelin Group, the parent company of SWMAS, said: “Confidence levels are riding high in the manufacturing sector despite market uncertainties, demonstrating the strength and resilience of our SME manufacturers.”

Dean Barnes, Regional Director of Economic Growth Solutions, another company which collaborated on the survey, added: “This Barometer delved deeper into how manufacturers are tackling the productivity puzzle and it’s hugely positive to see that more respondents are planning to invest in machinery and premises, and around half are committed to recruiting staff.

“However, with well over two thirds of manufacturers reporting expected sales growth, it’s clear that unlocking the full potential of the existing workforce remains key to sustainable productivity gains.”