Productivity still a puzzle for SMEs

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Small and medium sized manufacturers in Yorkshire and Humber are still striving to find the answer to the ‘productivity puzzle’ according to new research.

Some 79 per cent of respondents to the latest Manufacturing Barometer – produced for the Government’s Business Growth Service – said they need to improve productivity in the next six months if they are to achieve their growth plans.

This is slightly up on six months ago and highlights the need for more firms to take action to boost efficiencies, reduce waste and maximise the potential of their workforce and machinery.

In more positive news, some 54 per cent of companies questioned reported a rise in sales during the last six months, with 72 per cent indicating plans for expansion.

The number of SME manufacturers looking to recruit increased to 63 per cent - up 27 per cent on the previous quarter. Nearly all firms (91 per cent) expect to maintain or increase their investment on machinery, premises and new technology, highlighting a commitment to continuous improvement.

Pera Consulting delivers the Business Growth Service in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

John Collier, chief executive said: “There has been significant talk about productivity in the sector and this latest report proves that it is still an issue for English manufacturers.

“When the Barometer asked the same question two quarters ago, 78 per cent felt their productivity needed to improve, yet just over half of those achieved their goal.

“This proves that there is plenty of room for improvement.”