Initial findings from the Manufacturing Barometer, a survey of firms across England, has revealed that 87% of SMEs reported a significant decrease in production volumes.
With sales expected to drop in the coming months, more than half of the companies surveyed expect to let staff go, even with the additional support coming from the UK government’s furlough scheme, where 80% of employee wages are covered by the government.
Financial support has been listed as the most important, urgent need for businesses by the vast majority, as disruption to supply chains continues to harm business. Simon Howes, managing director of the Manufacturing Barometer publisher SWMAS, said "COVID-19 is already having a significant impact on the majority of SME manufacturers surveyed and many of those who have yet to experience a change are expecting this global health and economic crisis to affect their business over the coming weeks and months.”
The largest survey of its type in the country, the Manufacturing Barometer has suggested that routes into new markets is one of the easiest ways to companies to navigate the disruption by tapping into new customer bases. One in five manufacturers have reportedly responded to the government’s plea for more medical equipment, such as PPE masks, ventilators and protective shields, but uncertainty remains around whether all offers will be taken up.
13% of manufacturers surveyed reported an increase in production levels in the report. These companies have been found to be extending their offerings into fields with higher than normal levels of demand.
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