Manufacturing Barometer highlights staff shortages, supply chain pressures

Posted on 14 Oct 2021 by The Manufacturer

Against a backdrop of global supply problems, this quarter’s Manufacturing Barometer is focusing on industry’s recruitment and supply chain challenges in a bid to find out how SMEs are addressing staffing issues while meeting current and future demand.

The survey (link at the bottom of this article), organised by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and supported by the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), is the only one of its kind, being exclusively for SME manufacturers.

Over 300 businesses have already participated so far, and more firms are now being encouraged to take part to help provide an accurate picture of recent and future trading conditions.

Factory worker welding. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

“Volumes and demand have been soaring for UK manufacturing, but unfortunately this has created its own issues in the supply chain, creating difficult trading conditions for our SMEs,” explained Nick Golding, Managing Director of SWMAS.

“We’d been hearing stories about recruitment woes, and this is definitely reflected in the early findings, with over half of respondents saying they have lost skilled workers over the past 18 months. In addition, more than 60% have told us they are struggling to recruit skilled staff at this time. This indicates a challenge for businesses, whether they’re looking to replenish or grow their workforce.”

He continued: “There’s no quick fix to the current struggles being experienced across the industry. We need to learn from these challenges and focus on getting more individuals interested in a career in engineering.”

Last quarter’s Barometer found an overwhelming 96% of companies had experienced supply chain price changes, and it appears things haven’t got much easier during July, August, and September.

In an attempt to maintain lead times for their customers, almost two-thirds of current respondents are having to dedicate additional resources to help manage their supply chains.

Dean Barnes, Regional Director of MGP, concluded: “SME manufacturers make up 98% of all UK manufacturing businesses, so it is vital we gain the clearest picture possible of the issues they are struggling with on a day-to-day basis.”

He concluded: “The important data gathered from the Barometer is then presented to Government, local authorities, and industry bodies to help inform and tailor future support for small and medium-sized manufacturers.”

“By participating in this five-minute survey, businesses can help uncover how current issues are impacting SMEs across our sector, what is already being done to mitigate potential risks, and how they plan to adapt to changing supply chain conditions and recruitment challenges.”

The Manufacturing Barometer is live until 5pm on Friday 15 October and should take no longer than five minutes to complete – ACCESS THE SURVEY HERE