Experts discuss the main challenges manufacturing faces today | RBS Invoice Finance

Experts discuss the main challenges manufacturing faces today

  • On Thursday 28 April the Royal Bank of Scotland hosted the first of two Twitter talks about manufacturing, featuring the hashtag #RBSmfgTalk.
  • With a panel of manufacturers, experts and organisations, they discussed the future of UK manufacturing and the challenges faced by businesses.

@EEF_EconomistsTeam, part of the manufacturer’s organisation, kicked the conversation off with a positive statistic about UK manufacturing.

Financial information services specialist @MarkitEconomics pointed out that there's still a slowdown in UK manufacturing, which is mirrored globally.

EEF said that the long-term trend was interesting.

So, what are the challenges facing manufacturers and how can they return to sustained growth?

The skills gap

Manufacturing network @Mfg_Alliance observed that there was still a significant skills gap in UK manufacturing.

Chartered engineer and Head of the Transport & Manufacturing IMechE report @Philippa_IMechE said that a lack of productivity was also affecting the skills gap in a response to business advisory service @RBSMentor, who linked to news of the recent launch of a safety in the workplace campaign.

The Health and Safety Executive @H_S_E pointed out that a lack of skills necessitated more training in the proper use of machinery.


A number of the participants said that more manufacturers needed to embrace exporting in order to grow. Markit pointed out the correlation between export performance and economic growth.

Metalwork manufacturer @Ritherdon said that their priority when it came to exporting was getting the word out about their products.

Business Growth Director @lisayauautomfg posted a link to the Future Fit: the road ahead for UK manufacturing report, citing statistics that suggested a lack of confidence among some manufacturers when it came to exporting.

Economic uncertainty

As the earlier statistics from EEF and Markit illustrate, UK manufacturers aren’t the only ones struggling in the current global economy.

The Forum of Private Business @The_FPB said that economic uncertainty was affecting many of their members.

Cash flow

For many manufacturers, maintaining cash flow is a significant issue. Independent finance advisor @GlennBlackman said that manufacturers were often waiting a long time to get paid and @RBSIF agreed.

@MadeinBritainGB, who supports UK manufacturers abroad, said that something needed to be done.


Innovation was another challenge for manufacturers that participants mentioned, including Senior Relationship Manager @jamesmfincher

@Mfg_Alliance recommended ideas sharing to improve innovation.

Asset Finance Business Development Manager @JoanneWhitehe15 observed that manufacturers could employ innovative business models.

UK asset financier, @LombardAF asked what tech could revolutionise manufacturing.

Business Development Director for Lombard Asset Finance @AndrewThrowerAF responded by saying that robotics had a big role, but that hard work was just as important as technological innovation.

If you'd like to take part in one of our Twitter talks and share your views on technology, join us between 12-1pm next Thursday 5 May using the hashtag #RBSTechTalk.

Security may be required. Product fees may apply.

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