Welcome to the latest Manufacturing Barometer collecting the results, views, and opinions of manufacturing SME’s.

Over 300 senior decision makers within small and medium sized manufacturers across the UK have shared their views on Brexit and how it is impacting their business.

The Core Trends

SME manufacturers have seen their sales turnovers decrease slightly within the past six months declining from 61% to 57%, however, this is still a 14% increase from the same period last year.  Respondents remain cautious for the next six months, with only 58% expecting their sales turnover to increase, compared to 69% last quarter.

In this quarter’s Barometer, we introduced a new question, asking respondents to report on their profits within the past 6 months and how they expect profits to change within the next 6 months.  This painted a positive picture with over 39% of businesses reporting an increase in profits within the last 6 months, compared to the 31% reporting a decrease.  Looking forward, 45% of respondents are expecting an increase in profits in the coming 6 months.

Investment over the past 6 months in new machinery took a slight 2% dip and only 44% of businesses say they expect to see an increase in capital investment over the next 6 months, compared to 50% last quarter.

Appearing to follow a cautious inclination, 17% of businesses say they have reduced their staff numbers, compared to only 13% last quarter.  However, when asked how they expect staff numbers to change over the next six months, 11% of businesses said they expected a decrease in numbers.

The Special Focus

Brexit is a prominent fixture in current headlines and no doubt on the minds of business owners across the country.  We wanted to understand whether the views of SME manufacturers within the UK were being represented, so in this quarter’s survey, we sought to understand their thoughts on Brexit and the impact on their business.

We asked respondents to let us know how they felt their business has been impacted since the Brexit vote, how they feel it will be impacted whilst we go through the process and finally the impact after Brexit.  The majority of respondents reported  their business has stayed the same since the Brexit vote, however, when asked  how they feel it will impact their business whilst we go through the process, we started to see a lean towards businesses saying they expected to be in a worse position, only to see an even bigger decline in confidence when asked how their business would be after Brexit. 

Senior decision makers revealed their biggest concerns when it comes to the impact of Brexit on their business.

An alarming 50% of businesses surveyed said they felt Government had not taken their needs into consideration in Brexit negotiations.

It is clear that confidence amongst SME Manufacturers is in decline as we go through the Brexit process and they have serious concerns regarding the impact it has on their businesses.  Respondents of the survey have been explicit about what they feel policymakers need to do to support their businesses.

You can download your copy of the Summer 2017 National Barometer report below:




* The Manufacturing Barometer is the largest independent survey of SME manufacturing companies operating in England and has been running since 2009. The survey takes input from a number of stakeholders but remains independent.  The Manufacturing Barometer is owned and operated by SWMAS Ltd

To take part in the next Manufacturing Barometer which is opening soon for responses please email [email protected]

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The information and findings in this report may be freely re-used in any context provided that it is acknowledged that they originate from the Manufacturing Barometer report provided by SWMAS Ltd.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied here and in the report, SWMAS Ltd and any of the contributors to this report cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that are revealed by future data revisions, new publications or policy changes, or for the consequences of actions taken by any party on the basis of the content of this page or report.