UK manufacturers still positive despite supply chain issues

It’s been just over four months of reduced output for the UK manufacturing industry. But despite this, the vast majority of manufacturers still have a very positive outlook on the future.

That’s good news if you’re looking for manufacturing jobs in the UK. Because it’s a clear sign that despite supply chain problems and port capacities feeling the squeeze, UK manufacturers are not only confident…

Most believe they’re soon going to be able to expand.

More UK manufacturing jobs on the horizon?

For all four months of the current output slump in UK manufacturing, recruitment levels have actually been constantly growing.

In fact, employment levels in the industry grew every month since January 2021. Only in October did the rate show any sign of slowing.

This may even pick up again as UK manufacturers now need to meet the increased production requirements caused by backlogs at the same time as getting ready to grow to meet other demands in the near future.

Signs of positivity

Those problems – the supply chain disruption experienced by the UK across all modes of transport, material input shortages, port capacity constraints, suppliers needing longer lead times, and more – probably aren’t going to go away for the foreseeable future.

Yet most medium and large manufacturers – as well as many smaller operations – remain confident that this slowdown is only temporary.

The UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, the organisation which measures the performance of the manufacturing sector, found from its survey of over six hundred industrial companies that:

  • Over 62% of manufacturers expected that their output would grow in the next year. Only 6% said they expected their output to fall.
  • The Index itself showed a score of 57.1. That’s down a little from previous months, but anything above a fifty shows the manufacturing sector is expanding.

Steps UK manufacturers can take for the future

Seen through the eyes of engineering and manufacturing recruitment companies – as well as industry bodies and related organisations like the PMI – there are several things that UK manufacturers should be considering doing now to aid their recovery in future:

1) Invest in technology and trends

Understanding and adopting key new trends and technologies is necessary if UK manufacturers want to be prepared for the future. Of course, automation is the most commonly given example of this.

But another vital one is 5G connectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) – using software and apps to reduce maintenance of manufactured devices and the manufacturing process, to monitor performance, smooth out supply chains, and more – is here to stay.

Using IoT technology has already shown itself to be a great way to start leveraging technology to boost your profit margins.

2) Upskill your workforce

Utilising new technologies like IoT and 5G connectivity, automation, and more will almost certainly call for new skills among your team. This means that the time to start upskilling your team or working with your preferred manufacturing recruitment agency partner to find candidates with the skills you need is now.

The alternative is to find yourself with a massive gap between the skills you have and the skills you need in future. This will be especially acute for manufacturers in a position to benefit from the expanded production capacity that is soon going to be required in certain sectors. The green technologies required for electric vehicle manufacture, for example.

Time to act

All in all, UK manufacturers clearly remain positive about the future despite the supply chain problems and other issues currently causing troubles for the industry as a whole.

Yet it’s also clear that the manufacturers that are taking steps now are those that will be in the best position to succeed in the future.

Need to find new recruits with the skills to secure the future of your business?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and manufacturing recruitment company.

Contact us for a cost and commitment-free chat. Let’s talk about the kind of candidates you need and how we’ll help you find the perfect fit for your team.