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Monday 13 August 2018

Leading the Region out of the Economic Downturn

We continually hear about the decline in manufacturing throughout the UK so as you would expect I was delighted to read in the Birmingham Chamber’s e-news how West Midlands manufacturing companies are fighting back.  Here are a few extracts from the article

“Manufacturers in Greater Birmingham are leading the region out of the economic downturn and a huge effort in export markets is making a big impact. . . .”     

“Economic Survey for Quarter 2 of this year from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG) domestic sales by manufacturers were also up.  The number of manufacturing companies reporting an increase in domestic sales stood at 44 per cent, up from 28 per cent and orders improved, with 42 per cent showing an increase. 

 In export markets, businesses reporting increased sales rose to 40 per cent, up nine per cent on Q1 while improved orders rose from 26 per cent to 41 per cent.”

This is very encouraging news for all of us involved in manufacturing.  In fact here at Chartway I’m pleased to report we are seeing a similar picture in every area of our business.  Sales for Precision Turning & CNC Milling are up by 18% on Q1, with output on CNC Laser Cutting, Pressing, Forming & Welding up by 15%.

However, the article then goes on to point out that 62 per cent of manufacturers said they were having difficulty recruiting, with skilled, technical, and managerial positions the hardest vacancies to fill.  So where are they? 

My view is that over the last couple of decades there simply aren’t enough young people coming into the industry at the ‘hands-on’ level, learning the required skills to either move on into more specialised / technical areas or up through the ranks into those vacant management positions.  It seems to me that if the British media drastically reduced the level of negativity in their news reporting (far too often influencing public opinion) and spent more time reporting on the fantastic ground-breaking work and results achieved in this country’s manufacturing industry it would encourage our sons and daughters to look further afield than media studies, IT or the financial services.  Changing their perception of a career in engineering and manufacturing into something exciting and challenging with some excellent rewards for those who excel, rather than a failing industry where you just clock in, clock out and get dirty hands!  

You only have to look at those export figures for the last quarter to see that buyers outside the UK believe in ‘Made in Britain’ so isn’t it about time more people in Britain did?

Whether you agree or disagree with my views, I would be very interested in hearing from you on this subject.   However, before I get lots of you pointing out that Chartway has business interests in China.  Yes, I know we do but we also have a very healthy happy and growing engineering business in the UK that I fully expect to continue expanding in these improving times for British manufacturing.