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Growing pains? Subcon releases new research on export and subcontracting in UK manufacturing and engineering

01-May-2018
Growing pains? Subcon releases new research on export and subcontracting in UK manufacturing and engineering
Subcon, the defining event in the manufacturing supply chain calendar, has unveiled research showing the subcontracting impact of a 48 per cent increase in of UK engineering and manufacturing exports over the past 12 months.

The research also revealed:
  • A further 35 per cent of businesses had seen export levels remain the same 
  • Of those increasing exports, the most common increase is a healthy 5-10 per cent 
  • For an elite 20 per cent of businesses, exports grew by more than 20 per cent. 

The research also shows that two thirds of manufacturing and engineering businesses used subcontractors in the past year, with 38 per cent planning to increase work with them in the next 12 months.

This is driven by a lack of in-house capacity and a desire amongst manufacturers and engineering businesses to focus on core competencies.

Of those engineering and manufacturing businesses that do use subcontractors:
  • Over half (53 per cent) outsource up to 20 per cent of their requirements 
  • More than a third (36 per cent) outsource £10,000-£100,000 
  • A further quarter outsource £100,000 to £1m annually 

“One of the healthiest indicators is that looking to the future, 30 per cent of respondents expect to appoint new subcontractors in the next 12 months,” said Gordon Kirk, event director, Subcon. “However the spectre of Brexit uncertainty also looms large over these decisions and more than 4 in 10 (42 per cent) are unsure about bringing new subcontractors on board.

“We look forward to as a lot of debate on the exhibition floor and conference stage to identify the trends that will define this increased activity among the subcontractor community and beyond.

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