Smaller London manufacturers report growth

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Despite recent economic surveys reporting a slight dip in manufacturing performance, smaller firms in London remain confident of growth, according to the latest MAS Barometer.

The findings show that small manufacturers will make the most of a strengthening UK economy by focusing on home markets for their future growth. Over two thirds (67%) of companies questioned feel that increasing sales in the UK is offering them the best chance to expand.

This was followed by new product development, improving production processes and over 36% are focused on boosting their export performance.

Boris Zatezic, founder of vegan organic skincare, MuLondon in Lewisham is extremely confident of expansion: “We are on track to more than double our sales and production in the next few years.

“With MAS advice and assistance we can cut wastage and increase efficiency which will increase our productivity.

“Currently our exports are 70% of the business with Germany and Austria being our largest markets.  With our plans for recruitment and marketing we predict 100% growth year on year.”

Similar to the last quarter, 55% of firms are looking to recruit and create new jobs, which is a record figure and a 12% rise on 2013. There also appears to be significant confidence in longer-term growth as respondents predict a 64% rise in collective turnover and staffing levels to increase by 32% over the next four years.

Jeremy Jaffe, Owner of Wandsworth-based organic food manufacturer What on Earth is positive about creating new jobs and increased sales within the UK. He said:“We constantly look to innovate and improve our products and processes.

“Established in 1999 we experienced a downturn in our business in 2011-2013 but we have turned a big wide corner having invested wisely in reconfiguring the company.

“Our new lean management processes will deliver efficient growth with predicted rise in sales of 25% next year to existing and new customers with plans to recruit once more.”

Steven Barr, head of the Manufacturing Advisory Service explains: “As part of the long-term focus, we asked respondents about their biggest strengths, with the quality of senior leadership teams (68%) coming out on top, followed by innovative products (66%) and robust strategy (61%).

“The biggest challenge stills is access to skills (71%), whilst marketing and creating effective sales channels were the next major concerns. We will work with partners like GrowthAccelerator and SEMTA to help SME manufacturers overcome these challenges.”

The Barometer results report 61% of companies increasing sales in the last six months and 76% expecting to grow between now and the end of the year – 8% and 9% improvements respectively on this time last year.

Greenwich-based Feed Me Bottles Ltd trades under the Yoomi brand and currently exports 95% of its production. Run by Doug Hursley and Dr Jim Shaikh the business was launched in 2009 and has been very successful particularly in the Far East.

With help from MAS and other government agencies the company is currently reshoring all of their production and packaging away from China back to the UK.  Shaikh said:“We operate in a highly competitive market competing against large multinationals. In the next 18 months we will have brought back all the production to the UK for quality improvement and faster response times.

“The future looks very exciting and we plan to invest in more online marketing and distribution channels within the UK and overseas for our next stage of growth.”