Our previous report looked at how manufacturers were reacting to the challenges and opportunities associated with the emergence of fast-growing low-cost economies in the East. It showed how manufacturers were thriving by focusing on areas which allowed them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
While the outlook for manufacturing may have changed for the better, performance across the sector has been extremely variable. In what is a very diverse industry, some sectors have fared significantly better than others in recent years. This report identifies the high performers, looks at their characteristics and considers the reasons for their success.
Perhaps what is most notable about the fastest-growing sectors of manufacturing is their diversity. The top 20 manufacturing sectors cannot all be described as high-technology, nor are they all capital or research and development (R&D) intensive sectors. But there are a number of reasons why these sectors have pulled ahead of the pack.
Strategies like these have supported solid growth rates in our high-performing sectors, which in turn has driven growth in manufacturing as a whole. The question is - can this continue? There are reasons to be confident about manufacturing in the UK. A number of sectors have demonstrated that it is possible to thrive in a high-cost location and have been doing so in recent years – and many have taken the lead over French and German counterparts. Overall, they are well placed to maintain the momentum. And indeed there are potentially some lessons for those sectors that did not make our top 20.
While some may have tried to write the sector off in recent years, this report shows that many parts of manufacturing in the UK continue to flourish in a continually changing global environment.