Strong order books have led the boss of a major manufacturing group in the West Midlands to urge industry not to talk itself into a downturn amid the current Brexit uncertainty.
Rowan Crozier, chairman of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), made the rallying cry after all nine of its member firms reported strong order books as they started to make plans for 2019.
Collectively the eight sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency have added £8m of new sales to its combined turnover and has invested more than £5m in new technology, capital equipment and the recruitment of 60 new staff.
Crozier, who is also CEO of metal pressings specialist Brandauer, noted: “Manufacturers are not a greedy bunch and we’re not looking for hand-outs, quite the opposite.
“Most of us just want a level playing field that we can trade on and an end to the uncertainty that Brexit is creating. Let us focus on what we do best and compete on quality, price and competitiveness.”
He continued: “The one thing we can’t do is let the sector experts and economists talk us into a downturn, that’s not going to help anyone. We need to focus on what has been happening and take measures to offset any issues that may arise if the deal isn’t exactly what we wanted.
According to Crozier the overwhelming feeling at the MAN group’s last meeting was one of positivity and planning ahead. “There was no talk of holding back on investment or stopping expansion…if anything purse strings are being relaxed so that we don’t miss out on opportunities,” he noted.
The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) is an eight-strong group of sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency who work together to win orders and share best practice and resource.
The collective, which enjoys more than £75m sales and employs over 800 people, offer a wide range of engineering disciplines, including automation and control systems, casting, fabrication, forging, plastic injection moulding, PCB development, precision machining and high-volume pressings.
Its membership includes: Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, KimberMills, Mec Com, Muller Holdings and PP Control & Automation.
Crozier concluded: “Regardless of which way Brexit goes, it should kickstart the UK to buy more products that are made here. It’s something that is in our control and can be so important in driving industry forward and supporting more domestic jobs.
“British manufacturing is a massive badge of quality for international firms so why it doesn’t apply back home I’ll never know. As consumers we’re missing a trick.”