The Manufacturing Matters initiative will discuss challenges and opportunities for the sector, and open up dialogue with the media, politicians and industry influencers to ensure that the right support is in place to encourage growth and future job creation. It is thought to be the biggest campaign of its type ever launched and is being backed by BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and UKTI (UK Trade & Investment).
“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,” says Stephen Peacock, a director at Grant Thornton, who leads the consortium delivering MAS. “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% 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,” he adds. “Now is the time to place the spotlight on these firms and showcase some of the amazing small-to-medium-sized manufacturers we have in this country 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.”
Dedicated Web pages for the campaign will host breaking news, interviews and key issues being discussed by SME manufacturers. SMEs will also be able to say why “manufacturing matters” by posting short videos, pictures and tweets to @mfg_matters or using the #mfgmatters hashtag.
“We want it to be inclusive, so 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,” says Peacock. “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.”