6th Jul, 2022

Region's manufacturers say confidence is creeping back - but government support needed to recover from coronavirus

John Carlon 24th Aug, 2020

MANUFACTURERS in Coventry and Warwickshire report more confidence about the coronavirus recovery, but say they will continue to rely on government support.

A new report from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub’s SmartRegion, covering July 21 to August 3 has surveyed manufacturers and consulted regional business groups and councils.

It shows that across the region many manufacturers are still experiencing some drop in revenue, sales or general business activity but the general feeling is that orders are starting to pick back up, albeit slowly.

A report from the Midlands Engine has highlighted that overall manufacturing companies are benefiting the most from diversifying which the Growth Hub’s recent business insights have shown.

Local manufacturers are seeing successes with new approaches to doing business and offering different products and services.

But Coventry City Council’s latest Business and Economy Briefing has emphasised that although plants have been reopening, many are operating at partial capacity, which is impacting on order levels and production capacity within supply chains.

Intelligence from the Manufacturing Barometer collated by the Manufacturing Growth Programme shows that although businesses are still in negative territory since the Covid-19 crisis began with 48 per cent still expecting sales to reduce in the coming months, this has almost halved from the 85 per cent who predicted this in March.

A total of 78 per cent indicated that no further clarifications were needed around operating safely in a manufacturing environment which is good news and 67 per cent said that Covid-19 has not affected their EU-Exit preparations but companies have indicated that they would like supply chains to look toward the UK to source more supplies and products.

Craig Humphrey, the managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said it was encouraging that activity was starting to improve in the manufacturing sector but it was important that business support organisations across the area continue to give firms in all sectors a helping hand.

He said: “There has been a marked improvement for manufacturing. Since our last SmartRegion report about the sector in May, local manufacturers are now seeing staff return to work. Our clients are indicating some signs of recovery and optimism.

“Cash flow issues no longer seem to the main concern for businesses seeking Growth Hub support – this could indicate that manufacturers have been making use of available grant and loan support schemes which have been effective. These Government schemes need to be extended for the optimism some businesses are experiencing to be realised.”

The CWLEP Growth Hub has also started to see an influx of “business as usual” type of enquiries – with businesses now looking for support to invest into their premises, new equipment and innovation – as well as investing in their staff.

“Promisingly, a dominant share of manufacturers have not put apprenticeship training on hold but many firms remain cautious to the probability of local lockdowns that may disrupt future activity,” Craig added.

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