66% of manufacturers expect their productivity to increase in 2019

Despite uncertainties continuing to rise, the vast majority of British manufacturers expect their productivity to increase in the year ahead, according to a new report.

Apprentices at Brandauer - image courtesy of Brandauer.
Apprentices at Brandauer – image courtesy of Brandauer.

66% of manufacturers surveyed reported that they anticipate their productivity to increase in 2019, while just 7% claimed they were expecting it to decrease in the coming year.

The findings, published by EEF, suggest that manufacturers recognise that accelerating business productivity is crucial to guaranteeing future prosperity. Though that is no easy objective.

The survey also indicated that respondents expect to improve their sales in the UK and abroad – particularly in non-EU countries. This reflects government figures which showed that 54.2% of all UK exports now go to non-EU countries.

This follows Britain’s latest PMI results, that reported UK manufacturing rose to a six-month high in December, even though uncertainties surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU in March remain apparent.

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Overcoming challenges in 2019

Businesses constantly face challenges, but competent leaders understand how to overcome these and even capitalise on them. Natural disasters, changing consumer demands, embracing digital transformation and political uncertainty are just some of the broad obstacles manufacturers have previously faced, so why should Brexit be any different?

“We believe the Brexit turbulence will be short lived (months, not years) and the result for manufacturers will be a stronger base from which to grow.” Troy Barratt, MD at Contracts Engineering Limited, told TM.

He continued: “A more balanced currency against the euro makes the UK more attractive for sourcing manufactured products. Additionally, we believe that a trade deal will be agreed that at a minimum includes free trade of core industrial goods.”

Businesses constantly face challenges - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Businesses constantly face challenges – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Rowan Crozier, Chairman of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) and CEO of Brandauer said to TM: “What are we expecting in 2019? Well, I’m pretty sure that the uncertainty around Brexit and a general decline in the automotive sector will see lots of doom and gloom headlines.

“However, I feel the MAN Group are already bucking the trend with significant contract wins in automotive in the bag before Christmas, which in itself continues to promote the strength of UK SME manufacturing.

“There’s nine members in MAN and, by and large, every company has got strong order books and are winning new work in overseas markets, both in the EU and further afield. This isn’t by accident.”

Crozier concluded: “We all have significant experience of exporting and our high-level capabilities and world class manufacturing performance still make us an attractive proposition regardless of politics and the economy.”

Brexit will have an impact on manufacturing, the extent of which is still not fully known. But as productivity is predicted to rise by nearly 7 out of ten manufacturers and exports remain strong, business leaders should treat Brexit disruption like any other challenge.