The manufacturing sector nationally looks set for a period of growth over the coming two years according to the first quarter RSM Robson Rhodes/EEF engineering outlook survey.
Toby Wilson, head of the manufacturing and technology group of RSM Robson Rhodes’ Manchester office, commented: “It is heartening to see that the sector seems to have turned the corner and pessimism has been replaced by optimism.
“Domestic orders whilst up over the past three months, lagged behind exports which saw increased business with Europe, mainly because of a reviving German economy. An upturn in output and orders is anticipated over the next quarter.
“More companies are planning to invest over the coming 12 months - a clear sign of increased optimism in the sector going forward. However, downward pressures on margins remain with most sectors still experiencing cost increases which cannot be reflected in increased selling prices, he said.”
Nationally growth is concentrated in the higher technology areas with electronics and other transport equipment the best performing sectors.
Concludes Wilson: “Those Manchester manufacturers that have re-engineered themselves - through a combination of lean manufacturing techniques and embracing technology - should continue to prosper within the global marketplace. One of the key factors in maintaining a healthy business is commitment to R & D and ongoing investment throughout the company.”
Key report findings:
v Significant rise in output and orders
v Domestic orders are stronger but lag behind exports
v High-tech sectors now show stronger growth
v Southern regions do better
v Most sectors see price cuts
v Downward pressure on margins
v Investment intentions pick-up
v Upturn expected to continue
v Stronger growth forecast
For further information please contact Toby Wilson at RSM Robson Rhodes on 0161 455 3329 or Joanne Fletcher-Wall at Bell Pottinger North on 01625 506425.