IIt’s a fast moving world for the modern manufacturer according to Ian Isaac, head of Lombard, one that requires consideration and investment.
The manufacturing sector has come a long way since the EEF held its first National Manufacturing Conference.
Four years ago we were in the depths of recession but this year the agenda was focused much more on sustaining growth rather than simply finding ways to achieve it.
One aspect that hasn’t changed is the significance of maintaining levels of investment to ensure that UK manufacturers keep up with evolving technology and innovation, and a focus this year was looking at the factory of the future and the challenges of competing in the digital age.
Lombard was delighted to have once again been the headline sponsor of the 2015 EEF National Manufacturing Conference and to have had an opportunity to address how we can play a role in supporting UK manufacturers as they make the changes required to equip for the future and to keep pace with changing technology.
In order to ‘Make it Britain’ it is important not to think purely in the present but to have a vision of the future and all that this will entail. We know that change is speeding up and that this creates its own challenges, but we are keen to work with manufacturers in order to find the funding solutions to ensure that your business is at the forefront of the inevitable revolution in the manufacturing process.
As a flexible funding solution asset finance is growing in popularity as a viable alternative to the traditional bank loan. Figures just released from the Finance and Leasing Association for 2014 indicate that asset finance new business grew by 13% last year to £25.4bn, the strongest rate of growth for seven years.
This funding represents almost 27% of UK investment in machinery, equipment and purchased software in the UK in 2014. In terms of manufacturers the figures indicate that plant and machinery grew by an impressive 48% in December 2014 compared to the same month in 2013, to £571m, while lending across the year for plant and machinery grew by 21% to £5.4bn.
We believe that this growth demonstrates that more of you are recognising the benefits offered by asset finance in particular to your cash flow. Thus asset finance can help to support your investment plans and help you keep up with the pace of innovation in the marketplace.
However we also endeavour to make our customers aware of initiatives that will offer further support for your investment planning. We are particularly keen that that our customers don’t miss out on the increased Annual Investment Allowance (AIA).
We believe that many manufacturers risk not benefiting from the enhanced £500,000 level which, as things stand, is due to end on 31 December 2015 simply because you may not be aware of the enhancement to the allowance.
The debates that took place at this year’s EEF National Manufacturing Conference will no doubt continue in the lead up to the General Election in May and beyond, but there is no doubt that change is coming to the sector.
We’d like to play a part in supporting the technological revolution and in ensuring that the strength of UK Manufacturing is sustained to ensure that ‘Make it Britain’ resonates long into the future.