Did the makers make it a good year?

Manufacturers value consistency above everything else. Not only do their products have to be completed to a uniform standard but they prefer the economic and political climate they operate in to be as stable as possible. 

So the year in manufacturing would be good – if the news wasn’t so consistently bad. 

The number of UK manufacturing firms entering insolvency is the highest its been for five years. 1,466 companies became insolvent in 2019 which was up 7% on the previous year. 

It’s not getting any easier for companies that continue to trade either.

The latest CBI industrial trends survey reported that UK manufacturing output is falling at the fastest rate for a decade while the manufacturing snapshot survey found that workers were being laid off by factories at the fastest rate in seven years. 

Industry experts have blamed Brexit-related uncertainty and a broader slowdown across Europe. This coincides with consecutive months of falling orders as potential customers have deferred buying decisions. 

Analyst Robert Branch said: “The latest figures show that the doom and gloom around the UK’s manufacturing search continues. 

“Manufacturers should be going through a period of heavy investment in order to close their productivity gap with competitors in places like Germany. 

“Instead many are having to save as much cash as they can to tide them through until order books recover, as banks and other finance houses are indicating that they will be reluctant to provide additional funding to support working capital.”

We’ve written previously this year about the increasingly tough conditions facing Britain’s makers. 

Honda is closing its Swindon plant with the loss of 3,500 jobs and Ford are closing their Bridgend factory. British Steel went into compulsory liquidation and is still to be sold to a viable interested party while several other manufacturers from all ends of the country have continued to close up shop for the final time. 

There are some causes for optimism in the new year however. Anna Leach, CBI Deputy Chief Economist said: “Firms will be looking for reassurance of the new government’s commitment to getting the UK economy fighting fit as it prepares to exit the EU.”

No matter what the future holds for them or your company in 2020 and beyond, we’re always here to help. We help distressed companies back to safety and make good companies even better – no matter what industry they’re in.