Manufacturers spend on innovation to exploit exports

Posted on 20 Aug 2013

Research from the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and NatWest shows 71% of producers are planning to spend on research and development (R&D) in order to export to new markets in the next three years.

With a clear focus on utilising innovation to increase exports, the research also found 73% of companies plan to bring new products to market over the same time period.

The figures show an increasing confidence in business to expand and enter new markets.

However, with business investment still one third below the pre-recession average, the EEF said the Government should provide a “longer-term commitment to innovation funding”.

More than 70% of manufacturers are planning to move into new markets on the strength of innovation in products and services. This is a substantial increase from 54% in the past three years.

Richard Halstead, a regional director at EEF, said: “After a long and slow recovery manufacturers are looking to drive growth through innovation, developing new products and services for new markets.

“However, the demands of selling into new markets have increased the ‘need for speed’ when it comes to innovation, something that remains a key challenge for manufacturers.”

Uptake of the R&D tax credit by small and medium-sized businesses has grown by 49% since 2009.

Container cargo exports ship by JimThe Manufacturer is hosting two events in London on October 16 to assist companies to innovate and increase exports.

Export Connect is the launch event in The Manufacturer magazine’s Accelerated Growth Series, new for 2013. – See more at:

The Innovation in Manufacturing conference is part of The Manufacturer’s Future Factory series and will provide delegates with the knowledge and expertise they need to nurture innovation in the workplace and find more efficient ways of developing new, more sophisticated products. – See more at:

Figures from The Manufacturer revealed the R&D spend of FTSE-100 manufacturing companies averages less than 5%.

Felicity Burch, an economist at EEF, said the investment will “help companies compete in the global race”. However, she added: “The UK still has a long way to go, as levels of R&D expenditure lag well behind those of our competitors.”