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Manufacturing matters campaign will put South West manufacturers on the map

PUBLISHED: 13:48 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:48 15 October 2013

Small to medium sized (SME) manufacturers in the South West received a boost recently week, with the launch of a new industry campaign designed to showcase the vital role they play in driving economic growth. Manufacturing Matters, the brainchild of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), intends to raise the profile of a sector that currently accounts for more than 110,000 businesses, 1.1 million jobs and a major share of £140bn of annual GDP.

The initiative will look to discuss key challenges and opportunities, whilst opening up dialogue with the media, politicians and major industry influencers to ensure the right support is in place to encourage growth and future job creation. It will culminate with a special week of activities in November to include the launch of the next MAS Barometer, a series of debates and events covering topics such as innovation, skills, international trade and access to finance.

Simon Howes, MAS Area Director South West of England, explained the thinking behind the campaign: “There is no better time to launch ‘Manufacturing Matters’ with recent reports and PMI data suggesting a three year high in confidence, investment and output. The larger companies are the ones that usually get the column inches and airtime, yet it is the SMEs in the supply chain that make up 95 per cent of industry. “They are doing more than most to help drive the recent resurgence with many taking on staff, launching new products and investing in the latest technology. Now is the time to place the spotlight on these firms and showcase some of the amazing SME manufacturers we have in the South West and the impact they undoubtedly have on the world.

“We also want to raise some of the issues affecting the sector and by engaging with the larger manufacturers, the Local Enterprise Partnerships, other business support partners and industry bodies, ensure they have access to the specialist assistance they require.”

Manufacturing Matters is expected to be the biggest campaign of its type ever launched and is already being backed by BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), GrowthAccelerator, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and UKTI (UK Trade & Investment).

As an offshoot of the MAS website, dedicated web pages are now live (http://manufacturingmatters.mymas.org) and will be used to host breaking news, latest interviews and key issues being discussed by SME manufacturers. Simon Howes added: “South West firms and their employees need to come forward and actually shout about all the good things they do and why they are proud of the industry they work in. If we get more people talking about the sector, watching videos or even teachers just talking to pupils about it in schools and colleges, then the initiative will have been successful.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Manufacturing is crucial to the stronger, more balanced economy we need to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Top class small and medium sized businesses are the foundations upon which the industry is built and we need to champion these firms and help them achieve their goals.

“Manufacturing Matters will be a great platform to showcase the SME supply chain, as well as highlighting support available through the Manufacturing Advisory Service, GrowthAccelerator and UKTI. This campaign will also complement our other initiatives, including ‘Business is Great’ and ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ which invites young people to go behind the scenes of major manufacturers.” MAS, which is funded by BIS, works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains. The organisation has recently pledged its support for the Institution of Mechanical Engineering’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards programme, which supports and promotes manufacturers to achieve greater productivity and worldwide competitiveness with particular emphasis on sharing best practice between larger firms and SMEs.

Details of Manufacturing Matters’ final week will be published on http://manufacturingmatters.mymas.org shortly with opportunities for SMEs to get involved in a series of special events.

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