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Manufacturers to invest more in tech over next six months

Margi Murphy | Dec. 1, 2014
Productivity increasing in small and medium manufacturers but still need to invest more to improve efficiency survey finds.

Almost two thirds (69 percent) of small and medium manufacturers plan to invest in new technology as well as machinery and premises to boost productivity, figures from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) show.

The government-funded support services firm's study of decision makers from 859 small and medium manufacturers across England revealed that productivity is growing, with 57 percent reporting that their organisation had increased productivity levels within the last six months.

However, 80 percent said that firms needed to do more to remain competitive.

Aluminium castings manufacturer Alucast said that over the next six months it hoped to "[start growing] the business from £7 million turnover to £10 million in next three years, attain TS16949 and add to our technology".

TS16949 is an industry standard for a quality management system that prevents defects, waste and variation in the supply chain.

The findings follow concerning figures from the Office for National Statistics which revealed that business investment fell for the first time in a year during the third quarter.

However, MAS' survey results shows a more positive outlook on manufacturing firms' productivity and ability to invest in technology that will help automation and connectivity on the factory floor.

Steven Barr, head of MAS, said: "Our Barometer shows that manufacturers are already responding to recent observations by the Bank of England (BoE) that productivity needs to be raised.

"This could include anything from introducing new processes and eliminating waste, to upskilling staff and investing in technology and state-of-the-art machinery.

"Management teams are continually looking to get more out of the business, a feature that will become increasingly important with the market showing some signs of softening."

Despite this, infrastructure constraints like the government's current high speed broadband programme's slow progress may be hampering the UK manufacturing sector, a recent Engineering Employers' Foundation (EEF) survey found.


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