More than half of UK manufacturers hit negatively by pandemic according to new research from Subcon

More than half of UK manufacturers polled in July 2021 by Subcon – the UK’s leading subcontract manufacturing supply chain show – have been impacted negatively by the pandemic; 43% quite negatively and 10% very negatively. Budget cuts, job losses, customer disruption, chip shortages and supply chain issues were among the reasons cited. 

On the flipside, 17% of the 81 respondents claimed they were not impacted at all, and 23% actually profited from Covid, with 14% saying their business was impacted ‘quite positively’ and 9% ‘very positively’ thanks to increases in sales, sector growth including medical supplies, and the opportunity to pivot online.  

When asked how long they believe it will take for UK manufacturing to recover, 22% put their hands up to experiencing no losses with the remainder saying: 

  • 38% - within 12 months 
  • 26% - within 3 years 
  • 4% - within 5 years 
  • 3% - never 

A follow up question asked how respondents believe the pandemic has changed UK manufacturing over the last 18 months. They said: 

  • 62% - it’s increased the need to protect our supply chains  
  • 52% - have made a move to more local/domestic sourcing 
  • 31% - it’s supported increased collaboration between companies 
  • 25% - have improved their employee wellbeing provision 
  • 10% - increased sustainability 

“The results of this year’s survey really do tell a tale of two halves,” said Subcon event director Gordon Kirk.  

“While more than half of those taking part in our survey have suffered negatively from the impacts of the pandemic, nearly a quarter profited and 22% experienced no losses at all. In addition, 40% believe we’ll make a full recovery within 12 months and there have been many positive outcomes from the last 18 months that I hope will not only stay with us, but continue to build momentum, including a rise in inter-company collaboration, a move to more domestic sourcing and increases in both sustainability and employee wellbeing services.

“We’re really excited to be bringing Subcon back in-person for 2021 and with over 200 suppliers, this year’s event presents a really timely and unique platform for UK manufacturers looking to source or develop a robust and localised network of UK supply chain partners.”

Event Details:

Taking place in-person at Birmingham’s NEC on 14 – 16 September 2021, Subcon is co-located with The Engineer Expo and - new for 2021 - Manufacturing Management Show. The UK’s leading subcontract manufacturing supply chain show comes at a pivotal time as businesses of all sizes recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and adjust to operating outside the EU.