It is quite amazing how well countries can manage without an effective government. I seem to recall that Belgium went without one for nearly two years with no obvious ill effects. Similarly, with the Brexit issue still unresolved after three years, UK manufacturing seems to have decided to ignore it and just get on with life.
Maybe that’s an oversimplification, but certainly in the world of subcontracting and SMEs there seems to be plenty of evidence to support that view. The latest Contract Manufacturing Index rose 7% in the first quarter of 2019 and has grown by a third since the Brexit vote. At the recent BTMA meeting company after company reported that they were working at full capacity, investing in new equipment, enjoying a record year and winning new business – in one case from Germany and France. I also recently visited Trumpf UK, the sheet metal machine tool manufacturer, and their MD, Lee Moakes, told me that orders to March were 60% up on the same time last year, with many subcontractors investing in higher specification machines to give them the productivity they needed.
And if that isn’t enough good news for you there’s more. Engineering Capacity has been given exclusive access to research on the subcontract market by the Subcon exhibition that puts the icing on the cake. Of the companies surveyed, 45% had increased the amount of work they subcontracted out in the past twelve months and 34% expected that amount of work to increase over the next 12 months. 41% said that the reason they were contracting work out was because of lack of in-house capacity, while 32% were definitely planning to appoint new UK subcontractors over the next 12 months.
The overwhelming majority of those who chose to comment said that they had seen no impact at all from Brexit.
Andy Sandford, Editor