The much discussed “productivity puzzle” continues to haunt the UK economy. Whilst the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that manufacturing productivity in the last quarter of 2016 grew by 1.7% on the previous quarter, overall growth still lags behind the curve.
Nevertheless, UK manufacturers recognise the need to enhance their productivity in order to compete; the latest Executive Survey from the EEF clearly confirms this.
The survey reveals that, in order to achieve their business goals in 2017, there is focus from UK manufacturers on productivity through three methodologies: 1) process innovation, 2) investment in technology and innovation, and 3) continued work to ensure flexible supply chains. Often the approach is quite holistic, taking on more than one of these aspects at a time.
Of the survey respondents, 56% report that they will be undertaking process innovations to increase productivity in 2017. Medium sized firms (those with 101-250 employees and quite possibly the unsung heroes of our manufacturing economy) are the most likely to be doing this, with seven in ten citing it as an action they will undertake. Complementary to this, half of companies expect to increase investment in technology and innovation in the next 12 months.
Judging by the rich number of enquiries and purchase orders we are currently seeing, it is clear that our customers are excellent examples of the proactive UK manufacturer. You are looking to us for process innovation in areas like very fast light curing of adhesives and coatings using UV and/or visible light, and sophisticated mixing and degassing. You are looking to us for technology and innovation in material application automation and precision, and surface treatment. And you are looking to us for reliable and fast delivery, consistent with supply chain efficiency. Our case studies illustrate how you have successfully worked with us in these and other areas.
This investment in productivity will enable our customers to maintain their competitive edge in a constantly and rapidly changing world, and respond flexibly and quickly to their customers’ requirements. We are delighted to be a part of it.