Results of the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service Barometer have revealed small manufacturers in the UK are feeling confident about expanding and recruiting. Based on current estimations, SME respondents are collectively expecting to see a 64% rise in turnover along with a 32% increase in staffing over the next four years – potentially equating to tens of thousands of new jobs in the British manufacturing industry.

While around 36% of small businesses in this sector are focusing on boosting their export performance, more than two thirds (67%) of firms questioned believed that concentrating on increasing sales at home presented the best chance of success.

Other areas being prioritized by businesses included product development and improving production processes.

Looking at the present picture, the findings were also positive. In the past six months, 61% of companies managed to increase sales and 76% are expecting to grow by up to 9% by the end of the year.

SMES benefiting from major manufacturing contracts

Steven Barr, Head of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, said: “There is significant confidence in the domestic marketplace at the moment, a further signal that the recovery has taken hold.”

He explained how there has been unrivalled investment in the UK automotive industry that has cascaded down the supply chain and created new opportunities for SMEs.

In this respect, it’s hoped that small manufacturers will benefit from major infrastructure projects such as Hinkley Point in Somerset and High Speed Rail.

Despite the positive signs that came from this study, the UK’s smaller manufacturers are also facing a number of limitations.

Access to skills proved to be the biggest challenge with 71% of SMEs expressing concern about this. Another major concern is marketing and creating effective sales channels.