South West SME Manufacturers More Optimistic About The Future Than National Counterparts

Thursday 25th February 2021

Although post Brexit issues are currently causing disruption for some SME manufacturers in the South West, businesses in the region appear to be more optimistic compared with those in the rest of the country (according to the latest South West Manufacturing Barometer). All key performance data for South West manufacturers have shown improved positivity since the previous Barometer report, with future sales, profits, employment prospects and investment all heading in the right direction.

For more information on this subject please read the bulletin below which was issued today by Insider News.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds, 25th February 2021


 Manufacturers Hampered by Brexit Disruption

Brexit issues are causing SME manufacturers in the South West disruption as they look to recover from the economic effects of Covid-19, according to the latest South West Manufacturing Barometer, although on a more positive note, businesses in the region appear to be more optimistic about the future than their national counterparts.

Produced by SWMAS, the report reveals that 61 per cent of companies have seen negative price changes within their supply chain since leaving the EU, with the availability of raw materials an issue for 52 per cent of firms.

More than half of regional respondents cited complications with importing goods (53 per cent), whilst 43 per cent found exporting products more difficult since 31 December.

The survey also highlighted that less than two fifths of SME manufacturers feel they are getting the right support and guidance from the government on how to navigate changes caused by Brexit, underlining the need for better communication and additional tailored support.

South West firms were, however, more optimistic about the future than national counterparts.

Data shows that 42 per cent of regional manufacturers have increased sales in the last six months, with half expecting further growth between now and the summer, compared to 31 per cent and 44 per cent nationally.

"South West manufacturers have had to deal with unprecedented levels of change over the past 12 months and it is encouraging to see the manufacturers in the region having the confidence to look forward to the future positively based on the way they have adapted and changed throughout this difficult time," said Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS.

"However, despite signs of an initial recovery, firms have a new set of issues to contend with now the Brexit deal is done. Price hikes in the supply chain have been immediate, and we are hearing tales of lead times being extended on raw materials.

"Over half of respondents aren't convinced that the Brexit guidance they have already received from the government is adequate. SMEs are asking for more clarity on key issues, such as product markings and CE replacement (54 per cent), sourcing components/services overseas and logistics or freight forwarding (both 49 per cent). These challenges need to be addressed and quickly."

Away from Brexit struggles, the latest Manufacturing Barometer paints a more optimistic picture of industry in the South West bouncing back from Covid-19 in comparison to the metrics in the national report.

All key performance data for companies have seen positive moves since the last report, with future sales, profits, employment prospects, and investment all moving in the right direction.