The SME Manufacturing Survey

Posted on 10 Nov 2022 by Joe Bush

As part of SME Growth Summit, taking place during Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool, think-tank Civitas, supported by the ERA Foundation, investigated the energy landscape within manufacturing through a survey, a series of roundtables and interviews to compile a final report, which will then be launched and distributed across the manufacturing industry and to policymakers in Westminster.

Calling all SME manufacturers! Click here for the Civitas survey on energy costs, security and resilience.

Jim McConalogue, CEO at Civitas commented: “My overarching concern has been to assess whether the UK adopts the right economic policy – that is, a coherent industrial strategy aimed at supporting manufacturing which can act as the pivotal source of ensuring greater economic prosperity and growth, exports and productivity across the regions, while levelling up and reinforcing the UK’s role as a global manufacturing leader.”

Civitas survey

The UK has so often been at the forefront of the manufacturing industry, and the sector has historically always been at the forefront of what the UK offers to the world. We are the ninth largest manufacturing nation and the sector supports over 2.5 million jobs.

Civitas, supported by the ERA Foundation, will be addressing the top challenges facing small to medium sized manufacturers including those posed by energy costs, resilience and cleanliness of supply to future growth. As part of its research, Civitas will discuss these key questions at SME Growth Summit and help to identify insights into energy sourcing and costs.

The challenge to our energy supply and costs runs deep:

  • Existing research in this field already shows that over ten percent of manufacturers have made some job cuts as a direct result of increased energy bills
  • Approximately the same amount have been reducing production during peak energy periods
  • Ten percent of SMEs have been redistributing capital to cover energy costs
  • For six in ten SME manufactures, energy security has been a concern for their business going forward.
  • The recent Energy Bill Relief Scheme which could potentially reduce the cost of electricity by up to 50% and the cost of gas by about 25%, however, the scheme is temporary.

“The wider context for our exposure to those difficulties remains,” Jim continued. “Both in our immediate energy infrastructure and the fact that we live in economically challenging times. The war in Ukraine, a rise in the cost-of-living and surging energy prices make for more than choppy waters for UK manufacturers.

“I am pleased to say that the think-tank of which I am CEO, has a strong interest in this topic, and we are seeking to prepare a report immediately after SME Growth Summit, to be a source of guidance and sound policy for both UK manufacturers and by policymakers in Westminster. Our aim at this conference is to investigate what manufacturing businesses think and need at this critical moment; energy security, resilience and clean supply. We want to find out exactly what the biggest difficulties are and where help is required.”

For example:

  • Does your firm have an uninterrupted supply of energy sources for your regular processes and the ability to quickly recover from unexpected disruptions?
  • In general, is a cleaner energy supply more important than secure energy? Where does the balance fall?
  • Have you needed to change your business practices due to energy costs, resilience and cleanliness, and if so was that change potentially beneficial long-term?