Small manufacturers are set to make the most of a strengthening UK economy by focusing on domestic markets for their future growth, according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer.
The annual MAS Barometer analyses the views of over 900 small manufacturers across England.
It found that 67% of companies feel that increasing sales at home offered them the best chance to expand. This was followed by new product development and improving production processes. More than a third of firms (36%) are focused on boosting export performance.
The poll showed that there is also significant confidence in longer-term growth with respondents predicting a 64% rise in collective turnover. Manufacturers expect to increase their staffing levels by 32% in the same period, equating to tens of thousands of new manufacturing jobs.
“There is significant confidence in the domestic marketplace at the moment, a further signal that the recovery has taken hold,” said Steven Barr, head of MAS.
He said: “Despite recent economic surveys reporting a slight dip in manufacturing performance, it appears the smaller firms are still confident of growing, especially when you compare the key performance indicators with the figures from last summer.”
Barr added: “Everything we monitor, including sales, future growth, jobs and investment, are all up across the board so we can see the short-term outlook is very positive. Thanks to our specific focus this quarter, we also know there is longer-term confidence.”
The researchers also asked respondents about their biggest strengths and found that the quality of senior leadership teams (68%) came out on top, followed by innovative products (66%) and robust strategy (61%).