Manufacturing growth, one call at a time

EEF/BDO’s manufacturing survey for the second quarter of 2017 reveals good news virtually across the sector. So much so that the report’s authors have revised upwards their forecasts for manufacturing growth in the remainder of 2017 and 2018.

The only slight area of concern revealed by the report was domestic demand which was weaker than expected. However, this has been more than compensated for by strong demand from overseas, partly driven by the weaker pound and partly by a general global upswing. The capital goods sector has come in for particular mention, reflecting the fact that businesses both within the UK and abroad are starting to look towards long-term investments in growth.

As a result, employment prospects in the manufacturing sector are looking buoyant. The employment balance is already at a ten quarter high and further recruitment is planned. Here the electronics sector is leading the way with the greatest planned rise in headcount; but the mechanical and electrical equipment sectors aren’t far behind.

Commenting on the results BDO Partner and Head of Manufacturing, Tom Lawton, said “These results show yet again that manufacturing has the resilience and the qualities to form one of the foundations of a successful UK economy.”

One of the standout statistics from the survey related to the 61% of companies which reported an upturn in European demand. As EEF Chief Economist Lee Hopley commented, this shows the way in which “UK manufacturers have positioned themselves to capitalise on the windfall of a competitive pound and resurgent world economy.”

In order to continue to capitalise on this growth area is vitally important that UK manufacturers not only continue to produce the goods which other countries are seeking, but also promote accessibility to the rest of the world. One of the simplest ways to do this is with an outward looking and international telephony package. For a start, if you’re looking to trade with Europe then why simply advertise a UK based telephone number.

If your customers are based in Paris then why not offer them a Paris local phone number? If you are looking to trade with Germany then how much easier would it be for people to contact you via a German national number? You no longer have to have an office within a country to offer a telephone number within that country. With all calls being seamlessly re-routed to your head office, international numbers instantly give you an international presence.

And what happens when calls arrive in your office? Why not deploy a virtual switchboard which will seamlessly transfer calls to a team or team member depending on the origin of the call. If you have language speakers in your team then calls from Germany will be answered in German, from France in French and so on. And even if you don’t have language speakers; by directing calls to a specialist team your callers are instantly in touch with someone who will be more likely to understand their requirements.

We live in a global economy. The more we can do to embrace that economy and to help people to see the UK as a natural source of manufacturing expertise, the more we will help our own economy to grow.

Written by Alison