One of the great stories in business over the last 5 years is how the highly skilled German ‘Mittelstand’ manufacturing companies weathered the recession so well. And what about our UK equivalents, the much talked about and now ‘box office’ SME’s? How have they done and how are are they doing now?
In my management consultancy travels around factories and design offices in the UK and Europe I have noticed some major shifts over the last 5 years and some literally mind blowing job creation in the UK, much of it by SME’s. In my view, now that we have some sort of political stability (assuming EU negotiations don’t tear the new Government apart) it’s the best time in 30 years to be an SME in the UK for 4 major reasons:-
- Supportive Government who ‘get it’ about manufacturing, technology, apprenticeships, design and new product development,
- Stable economy, banks prepared to lend, helpful Unions generally,
- Morale and growth prospects appear good in nearly all sectors which plays to SMEs’ agility and minimal company politics (unlike the corporate leviathans) and finally…
- The role model of Jaguar Land Rover and their engineering product led turnaround.
As an ex Longbridge Manufacturing Systems MSc. graduate from Warwick University, sponsored by Rover Group in the dark and gloomy mid 80’s, the rebirth of volume car manufacturing and exporting in the last 5 years is nothing short of truly staggering and I’m not ashamed to say that makes me feel very proud. Of course, none of this would have been possible if Nissan in Sunderland, and the Qashkai model in particular, hadn’t also been such a spectacular success. And I’m not forgetting Rolls Royce, JCB, Dyson, Airbus, GKN of course and their SME supply chain….
David Cameron stated in Downing St after meeting the Queen to form a new Government on May 8th, “I truly believe we’re on the brink of something special in our country.”
For SME’s, I genuinely believe this to be true. Grab the nettle and go for it! SME growth will prove to be key to our future economic success.
Cheers to the next 5 years!!