The UK is currently the 9th largest manufacturing nation in the world, and despite uncertainty around the UK leaving the European Union, engineering and manufacturing in the UK is strong.
The manufacturing sector makes up 10.2 per cent of the economy by GVA (gross value added) and employs 2.6 million people. In East Sussex manufacturing is well represented with Hastings, a manufacturing hotspot with 14.5% of GVA in the borough. East Sussex has a higher percentage of commercial space dedicated to industrial use when compared to the national average.
The sector is also diverse, comprising a wide variety of industries and technologies from established sectors such as vacuum/photonics, food and drink, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electronics and automotive to new industries developing around emerging technologies - low carbon, industrial biotechnology, nanotechnology, digital and advanced materials including composites.
With the globalisation of the manufacturing value chain, manufacturers are able to execute different activities in different global geographies. Competition in domestic and international markets for manufactured goods has intensified.
UK manufacturers now face competition from countries in the west as well as emerging economies, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Given the manufacturing landscape, both domestic and global, how will UK SMEs in the sector take advantage of opportunities for growth, as well as manage the bumps in the road that may lie ahead?
A critical factor will be to access the right support and finance. In fact, the health of the UK economy depends on SMEs as the engine of continued growth.
Leading global provider of high-quality vacuum equipment, developing a vast array of products including optics, UHV, electronics & coatings.
Designs & manufactures bespoke residential furniture & architectural joinery for the high-end market worldwide.
One company taking the lead on exporting is luxury electrical accessory manufacturer Focus SB.
The Hastings-based company claimed a British and European first this year as the only UK manufacturer in its industry to export British-made premium products directly to China. Focus SB is now representing Britain in China and at the same time providing the company and its 60+ workforce with security following the Brexit vote. This success is also creating opportunities for other companies in East Sussex.
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