A recent report carried out by operational improvement specialist Newton has found that UK consumer manufacturers are now confident about future economic growth.
The study provides an in-depth analysis on the drivers and opportunities behind manufacturing improvement, identifying that businesses are recognising the changes they need to make in order to lift their performance.
From fresh produce and ready meals through to household disposable products, the research finds encouraging indicators for the sector, particularly in the areas of overall business sentiment, business threats, quality and customer compliance, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and improvement potential.
Positive business sentiment stands at just below 80 per cent and appears relatively high (it has been going down for 17 months) given the overall fragility and volatility of the UK economy.
Steve Knight, associate director at Newton, said: “It is clearly apparent that companies are becoming more optimistic about the future business outlook. Although the participants of the study are only from a sample industry, the overall message that came out illustrates positive times for the sector.”
Production volumes are on the rise, 60% of companies see themselves as dominant in their markets, and 85% of non-dominant players said they expect strong growth, representing a significant shift in perception from the past two years. However, companies have also recognised that they need make efficiency improvements, both on the operational and cultural front, if they want to stay competitive. Half of companies questioned see cost reduction as strategically important.
The report also highlights those internal operating pressures facing UK manufacturing, which focus on labour efficiency, onsite skills, waste, company ownership and accountability.
“The evidence of the report also points to the fact that companies are now acutely aware of the areas of inefficiency within the business, and they see operational and process improvement as the key to driving up the bottom line, making those much needed savings and achieving world class manufacturing,” Knight added.
Ninety per cent of companies believe significant additional profit can be made from improving operating performance.