Make UK report highlights supply chain issues for West Midlands manufacturers

Make UK Manufacturing Report CoverThe latest Regional Manufacturing Outlook report from Make UK in partnership with BDO UK shows that manufacturing remains crucial to the success of the West Midlands, with the sector accounting for 14.1 per cent of the region’s economy – above the national average of 10 per cent.

The manufacturer’s organisation Make UK champions and celebrates British manufacturing and manufacturers. The idea behind Make UK is to create a supportive environment for UK manufacturers to thrive, innovate and compete. 

It provides a platform that enables manufacturers to connect, share, solve problems and create opportunities through regional and national meetings, groups, events and advisory boards. Make UK works at every level to try to ensure that UK manufacturing performs and grows.

BDO UK is an accountancy and business advisory firm working in partnership with Make UK. It provides tax, audit and assurance, advisory and business outsourcing services to companies across all sectors of the economy.

The eighth Regional Manufacturing Outlook report, produced by BDO in partnership with Make UK, summarises how the manufacturing sector has evolved across all regions of the UK over the past 12 months. 

Bringing together four quarters of Make UK and BDO manufacturing outlook research, the report highlights manufacturers’ contributions in terms of output, orders, employment, investment and exports, and compares them to the national average. 

According to the latest report, which analysed the overall status of industry in the West Midlands over the last twelve months, the region was initially behind other regions of the UK in recovering from the pandemic due to its dependence on the automotive sector, which accounts for a third of its manufacturing output.

While orders have increased significantly in the sector, output is lagging as a result of supply chain issues and many companies have struggled to access vital raw materials and components such as semiconductors. 

Three subsectors account for just under two thirds (60 per cent) of regional manufacturing output. Transport, mostly automotive, remains the biggest manufacturing sector in the region accounting for almost a third of output (30.6 per cent), followed by metal products (17.4 per cent) and then machinery equipment (9.2 per cent).

The West Midlands continues to perform strongly in the export market, accounting for 8 per cent of total UK manufacturing exports. The main export destination for the region is the EU and its high dependence on EU export markets shows that local businesses have done well in adapting to new post-Brexit rules. However, ongoing government support may be needed, particularly for smaller firms.

It’s crucial for the region’s exporters that good trading relationships with the EU are maintained to ensure that trade remains as frictionless as possible. Further progress on free trade deals could also offer new and exciting opportunities for West Midlands businesses.

You can read the Make UK/BDO Regional Manufacturing Outlook report in full here.

For support with trading overseas and finding international opportunities for your Sandwell business visit our International trade page. The page outlines the changes and new rules for businesses since leaving the European Union and signposts you to useful support and guidance. It also highlights new opportunities for trading overseas.