Plea for Swindon manufacturers to take part in survey to reveal impact of pandemic three months on

July 1, 2020

With the grim toll of the coronavirus pandemic on manufacturing jobs becoming clearer, firms in the sector in Swindon are being urged to share how they are coping with the huge challenges by taking part in a key survey.

The results of the last quarterly Manufacturing Barometer survey of England’s small and medium-sized manufacturers in April painted a particularly alarming picture as firms entered lockdown. 

It showed nearly nine in 10 South West manufacturers expected their sales to be hit over the following six months, with half saying they would need to axe staff to stay in business.

Three-quarters also feared government support would not be enough to help them survive or were unsure how to access it.

Now three months on – and with many firms facing the huge upheaval of working within social distancing rules alongside dwindling orders and cashflow problems – the Barometer’s organisers are keen to find out how the region’s manufacturers are adapting and surviving.

Manufacturing sector support group SWMAS (South West Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) launched the latest survey on Wednesday with a plea to the 600-plus firms that participated last time to take part again to give a vital snapshot of the challenges they face operating in the ‘new normal’ and whether they are receiving the help and support they need.

SWMAS managing director Nick Golding, pictured, said: “As UK lockdown measures continue to lift, it’s crucial that small and medium-sized businesses across the manufacturing sector are able to implement recovery strategies. 

“This survey aims to uncover which of the government’s financial support schemes have been accessible and relevant to them while helping us to identify the additional help they require over the coming months.”

The last Barometer also revealed that staff/HR issues and supply chain engagement were also presenting challenges. The new survey will explore the steps manufacturers have taken over the past three months to address these difficulties, and the areas they plan to focus on.

As facilitators of government funded-support programmes designed exclusively for small and medium-sized manufacturers, both SWMAS and MGP understand the importance of offering relevant help that focuses on immediate needs.

The survey results are shared with regional government representatives to help shape future sector support based on the needs of the industry offers.

Nick Golding added: “Times have been tough since the Covid-19 crisis hit the UK. But we have already seen a number of manufacturers make proactive changes to try and mitigate the impact on their businesses.

“Some are tapping into new, high-demand markets, whilst others are making changes to existing product lines to suit their customers current needs.”

MGP managing director Martin Coats said although there were some positive indications that manufacturing was beginning to bounce back, it was clear that there were still tough times ahead and many businesses across the sector still required significant support to recover from the pandemic.

“That’s why we urge all business leaders to take five minutes to complete this survey and call for the help that manufacturers need right now – the higher the number of companies who respond, the more influential the data will be when its presented to government,” he said.

“Each and every view matters. This is a chance to help inform policy makers of current challenges and how they can help address them.

To take part in the survey, visit

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