UK manufacturers must mind inspiration gap

Posted on 6 Mar 2014 by The Manufacturer

Global software solutions provider Epicor has released a new study in which it claims UK manufacturing success is being held back by what it calls the inspiration gap.

In its new report Inspired to Make It, a survey of over 300 senior UK manufacturing executives, Epicor found those questioned rated their company’s inspiration rating at just 5.7 out of 10, a measure of how encouraged they feel about their business and industry’s future prospects.

Only 6% of respondents rated themselves as highly inspired while one in 10 said they were not inspired at all, yet the average Inspiration Rating rose 0.65% in the past 18 months with 50% of claiming they feel more inspired than they did back in 2011.

Conversely, a struggling survivor is how 37% termed the future of UK manufacturing, with another 34% saying the industry would become a niche player.

In comparison, only 26% see market leadership or global leadership on the cards in the UK’s future with one in three respondents believing it has already lost this mantle. Of those that do think the UK is still a leader only 15% see this continuing.

Steve Winder, vice president of manufacturing for Epicor, believes the findings prove the magnitude of the challenge facing UK manufacturers.

“UK manufacturers definitely have a challenge on their hands and the Inspiration Gap they’re feeling will need to be bridged if they are to achieve future success, carving out a strong position in the global market,” he said.

“It’s compelling that almost all participants of the study are frank about change being inevitable and many recognise that they must be the drivers of this, through innovation, technology and talent. This attitude, along with the gradual increase in inspiration levels since the heart of recession, indicates that the wheels are in motion.”

72% of respondents said price competition is holding UK manufacturing back globally – this being the most common obstacle to success, followed by the Government’s policy and strategy and then the attitude of people in the sector, cited by 50% and 48% respectively.

UK product quality and customer experience is seen as the most important factor in helping the UK maintain a strong position, according to 76%.