Despite some seismic shocks to the UK economy, a positive note characterises manufacturers’ growth strategies, with digital technologies enabling growing numbers to expand their horizons.
Manufacturers are undeniably confident about their ability to grow their businesses, in many cases through exports. Thankfully, the British industrial sector is already highly active in overseas markets.
Manufacturing may be credited with contributing just 10% to our nation’s GDP, but it contributes 44% of the exports, providing a strong foundation for future growth.
The ambitions of industrial decision-makers are reflected in the findings of this year’s Annual Manufacturing Report. Just some of the headline figures from the research include:
- 80% are confident their business has what it takes to grow
- 72% believe the conditions are right for improving exports – unsurprising, given the rise in global economic activity over the 12 months preceding 2018
- 75% are looking to grow their business overseas and have a strategy in place to do so
The timing couldn’t be more perfect for a business to expand its export sales, with global research from Barclays Corporate Banking highlighting that more than a third of international consumers are willing to pay more for a product if it carries the ‘Made in the UK/Britain’ marque.
This was especially true for consumers in China, India and the UAE, markets which strongly associate ‘Brand Britain’ with quality and service. British-made fashion, vehicles, food and alcohol were all items that international consumers are willing to pay a premium for – over 20% more in the case of food.
Brand Finances’ annual report, released in October 2018, supported the findings, with Britain climbing one place to become the fourth most valuable global brand – behind the US, Germany and China.
Yet, for all its positives, growth can also lead to increased complexities and place additional strain on existing systems and processes – none more so than the often-overlooked finance department.
Flexible, agile and responsive
In May 2018, The Manufacturer hosted the inaugural Manufacturing Finance Summit, the UK’s largest gathering of senior industrial finance professionals.
Through a series of roundtable discussions, the event examined how the finance function within manufacturing organisations is changing in response to new approaches to risk management, capital investment, digital technology and innovation.
According to those directors and executives present, there are several challenges associated with successfully managing growth:
- Making sure financial processes don’t prevent growth
- Understanding how legacy systems can be part of your success story
- Stopping compliance and security from slowing you down
Tackling these three challenges can open up the bottlenecks that come with rising demand and alleviate the stresses on your operational process.
Although technology isn’t the only solution to these problems, those organisations embracing flexible digital solutions are adapting to these challenges much quicker than their competitors.
If you’d like to find out how you too can take advantage, then click here to view your FREE copy of a new e-book – Made of More: The finance guide to discrete manufacturing growth – from Microsoft and Technology Management.
The e-book explores each of the three challenges and offers some recommendations on what your business can do to overcome them.
Realtime control – impossible dream or realistic objective for the smaller manufacturer?
Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you could stop firefighting and start strategically directing? Or where your business would be now if you had up to the second, totally trustable data?
Find answers to these and more key manufacturing challenges in this upcoming webinar on 12 December at 2:30pm
In this FREE 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:
- How the scale and security of the cloud are an affordable reality for smaller manufacturers
- How you can create the flexibility to cope not only with what your customers demand today but what they will demand in the future
- How you can compete with anyone for your service as well as your product.