Manufacturing optimistic

Posted on 6 May 2010 by The Manufacturer

Business advisers BDO and law firm Thomas Eggar last week held a dinner in Portsmouth to size-up prospects and opportunities in UK manufacturing.

The event was held at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth with the venue laying testament to the engineering skills held within the region.

Speaking at the event were Stephen Radley, director of policy and external affairs at EEF, the UK’s leading industry manufacturing trade body, and managing director at Bang & Olufsen UK, Lars Flyvholm. Both conceded that although the market remained uncertain, the future was starting to look brighter for the industry. Radley spoke about the potential for an export-based recovery for manufacturers who are able to take advantage of fast growing markets in India, South America and the Far East. He stated his belief that manufacturing will be a key factor in the economic recovery of the country, but reiterated: “It is absolutely vital that manufacturers look for markets outside of Europe to succeed. We need to be incredibly agile and ready to respond to market changes in order to take advantage of opportunities.”

Speaking about Bang & Olufsen’s strategy for success, Lars Flyvholm reflected Radley’s view in emphasizing the need for agility and spoke also about the need for focus and streamlining within an organisation. Explaining how the company managed the impact of the economic downturn, Flyvholm said: “We’ve instituted a process of continual improvement, and with that, we’ve seen the value of consistent and frequent communication with all our stakeholders – staff, customers, suppliers and partners. There are many opportunities for manufacturers who are listening to market demands and responding to them quickly.”

Robin Lloyd, Director and Head of Manufacturing at BDO in Southampton said: “There are still challenges ahead, but our work with key manufacturers in the region and analysis of trends suggest that a growth in activity levels should begin in earnest towards the end of the year and gain momentum as we move into 2011.”

Caroline Armitage, Partner and Head of Manufacturing and Logistics at Thomas Eggar agreed with Lloyd, adding: “Manufacturing sector growth is – at 1% in the last quarter – outstripping general growth in the economy, which stands at 0.4%. The success of this event confirms that there is an appetite amongst manufacturers to work together in order to ensure that the industry continues to have a strong and positive presence across the region in the future.”