A Barclays report entitled ‘Future Proofing UK Manufacturing’ is of particular interest to Chamber members as growing numbers of companies are joining from this sector.
Among the report’s many conclusions, is the fact that additional investment in automation could have a major impact on UK manufacturing output, have a positive effect on the widely recognised skills shortage and would also safeguard UK jobs. Given the clear benefits of automation the survey asks; why then, do UK companies not invest more?
Respondents in the Barclays report cited the need for more information and advice to help them decide how best to invest in automation equipment. Here in the Midlands, optimism about growth opportunities is high, but like the national picture described by Barclays, many challenges remain around successfully gearing up to exploit them.
In this context, your Chamber is an important first point of call for business information and support. We recognise that investing in improving productivity and the capacity to deliver are key areas for our local businesses and can help bridge the knowledge gap.
Through our membership of the Birmingham Chamber Group, and via our developing relationships with the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), we can provide exactly the kind of support and advice that was reported to be lacking by the respondents in the Barclays survey.
My general advice to our members is to make sure that you dedicate sufficient time to carry out detailed commercial and financial assessments before making any critical investments. Using the commercial expertise available from your Chamber and armed with a good analysis, your business will be better informed and able to make financially justifiable decisions.
Looking at the latest local developments, the new Growth Hub being established by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will be driving strong and sustainable business growth in this area. Delivered by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, it’s a focal point for businesses that wish to grow, linking them to specialist information, advice and services.
The Growth Hub will be focusing on the delivery of Access to Finance, Resource Efficiency, Innovation, Mentoring, Growth Coaching, Manufacturing Advice, Start Up Support and Export Advice.
Our Executive Director at Burton Chamber, Chris Plant, recently said: “The Stoke & Staffordshire Growth Hub will be providing a much-needed service to put businesses in touch with expert help.
“Whilst there is an emphasis on growth, the big target for the hub is job creation. We really see the Growth Hub as available to all the businesses across all parts of the county”.
I totally agree with him that ‘The Hub will point businesses in the right direction for the right sort of support’. Locating suitable funding for business growth, can be time consuming and the process often protracted. This new Hub will remove those potential barriers.
Free business support and advice is available from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on 0300 111 8002 or alternatively via email – [email protected]
If your company has an innovation, special announcement, like an award, or information that you would like us to share on your behalf with Chamber members, then please email our Executive Director, Chris Plant, [email protected]
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited