The Manufacturing Institute (MI) is running a series of free workshops in the North-West throughout March which are designed to help steer manufacturers through the downturn.
Taking place in Manchester (Tuesdays), Lancashire (Wednesdays) and Liverpool (Thursdays) over a four-week run, the ‘Survive and Thrive recession-beating breakfast sessions’ will address one of four issues each week: leadership in times of uncertainty; how to manage cash flow and access sources of finance; what approaches to take in retaining sales and developing new markets; and how to harness innovation to meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.
Organised by the MI in conjunction with the North West Regional Development Agency, the establishment of the sessions follows research among manufacturers in the areas which found 53% of manufacturing businesses expect to reduce staffing levels during 2009 and only 10% plan to recruit.
In addition, the MI’s annual North West Business Challenges Survey revealed a split in prospects – roughly half of the responding companies expect to maintain or increase sales while the other half expect them to fall.
To some extent mirroring the Confederation of British Industry’s findings in its latest quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, the top five key concerns reported to the MI by manufacturers are: reduced sales, raw materials and energy costs, cash flow, cost of production and reduced profit margins.
Among those feeling the credit crunch, the top three problems in sourcing bank funding were seen as poor order books, bad debt and the impact of exchange rates on export profit margins.
Adam Buckley, Head of Programmes for The Manufacturing Institute, said: “There is definitely a mixed outlook for manufacturers with some high growth sectors, such as those offering low carbon and environmental technologies reporting strong order books and very healthy international trade, and other sectors, such as automotive and those supporting the housing and construction industries, suffering greatly.
It is a time when doing nothing or more of the same just isn’t enough. Manufacturing is more essential than ever before to the success of our regional and national economy and we are committed to doing everything we can to help businesses weather the storm. At the Manufacturers’ Survive and Thrive workshops we want to show organisations that they are not alone and provide support, advice and inspiration to help them succeed.”
For tickets or info, email [email protected].
Photo credit – Adam Pniak