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News & Publications

PPMA Group business survey mirrors Make UK findings

A recent snap business survey by PPMA Group has revealed positive results showing a beacon of hope in the darkness. The energy crisis has forced businesses to make adjustments to how they operate, and we know that the UK has been experiencing prices rise across the board regarding gas and food so being able to gain insight into business trends for the next six months is invaluable.

Despite certain prices increasing in the UK, the good news is that business abroad seems likely to remain consistent in the eyes of our survey takers. As the government makes plans to ease the pressure on manufacturing, it is a good time to address employment issues, and invest in further training for staff which could be especially prudent in preparation for the future. Our survey substantially supports staff retention amongst SME’s and even encourages initiatives to attract new staff to perform those business critical roles.

Further survey findings:

1. When asked about their expected new order volume for the next six months

Our members reported,

  • Over half said that they expected new orders to go up
  • They also expected their total sales volume to increase
  • 66% also expected UK sales to go up whilst expecting export sales largely to remain static

2. Asked about their expected price of product for the next six months

These results have a direct correlation to the UK economy as it stands. It will not be until drastic changes are made that pricing will respond accordingly

  • Three quarters said that pricing will go up in the UK
  • 36% said that they expect prices to go up in the export market
  • 20% said that they expect them to stay the same

3. When discussing profit margins for the next six months

Our survey takers were cautious with their answers and opted to stay stable or stay down, clearly taking into consideration the UK response to further price increases.

  • Half of those surveyed felt that profit margins in the UK will remain stable, whilst 35% say that the margins will be down
  • Only a small percentage surveyed said that they expect profit margins to increase

4. Discussing levels of working capital for the next six months

Working capital and profit margins almost mirror profit margin in the fact that stable or down is the apparent trend.

  • Businesses working capital is expected to remain the same (45%)
  • Or go down (23%). This answer could be explained by other factors such as putting expansion on hold
  • Whether it becomes necessary to take out loans

5. When asked about employee numbers for the next six months

With employers seeking to increase staff numbers, retention and training will be paramount in the future.

  • This question reflected a positive outlook for the future as half of those surveyed said that their number of employees would increase with nearly an equal number saying that it would stay the same
  • A small percentage said that it would decrease
  • These trends are also reflected within Make UK’s findings, as they conclude that staff of small to medium size organisations are business critical
  • ‘larger headcount companies will be more likely to reduce headcount without affecting business-critical functions’ (manufacturing outlook 2022. Pg 4.)

Summary

When asked: “What are your expectations for the performance of your business over the next 12 months?”  On a sliding scale of 1, -100, 100 being the best possible outcome, businesses chose what number represented them the best, by means of an averaging equation a result of 61 was achieved showing sector specific confidence in performance but still leaving room for improvement for 2023.

Because of these responses PPMA Group aims to compile a future survey that looks into these issues and trends in more depth later in 2023. It would like to thank all those that took part in the survey.