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Crowe and CMB check the financial pulse of UK manufacturing with Winter Survey

19 January 2024
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Crowe, a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, together with CBM, the trade association representing Metal Forming companies across the UK, officially launches its Manufacturing Outlook - Winter Survey for 2024 to take the financial pulse of manufacturers for the coming year.

Despite the headwinds over the last few years, companies in the Crowe/CBM 2023 Manufacturing outlook report were buoyant about sector growth, investing in sustainable production and embracing the next industrial revolution as digitisation, AI and automation become an important arsenal in building resilience and growth. 

However, the survey revealed financing remains a key issue for the sector. While manufacturing is an integral part to the UK by generating £138 billion in economic output, the sector has faced significant disruption arising from high inflation, supply chain issues and unprecedented soaring energy costs.

This has adversely impacted investment plans by limiting manufacturer’s ability to access capital resources or share equity in their businesses. While many have turned to using their ‘own resources’, the tough economic climate has meant lending has become difficult and expensive to obtain for companies across the UK. 

The Winter Survey 2024 aims to understand the views of importers and exporters across the country, gauging their strategies, practices, and expectations regarding investment in research and development, headcount as well as their optimism for growth over the coming year following a tumultuous 2023.

Johnathan Dudley, National Head of Manufacturing at Crowe, said: “2024 is a big year for the manufacturing industry, in some ways, sentiment towards the government could see chickens coming home to roost as ongoing domestic and global uncertainty continues to plague a sector struggling to recover from the challenges of the past.

“Our winter survey aims to understand how manufacturing firms, large and small, across numerous different sectors, adapt to these pressures affecting their bottom line and ability to invest and grow over the next 12 months. However, challenging times can present real opportunities.”


Stephen Morley, President of the CBM, based at its headquarters, the National Metalforming Centre in West Bromwich, said: “As we enter 2024, I have been enthused by what I’ve witnessed after recent visits to our members. Despite the challenges the sector faces, they’ve all shown a high level of optimism about the year ahead.

“While there might be some geopolitical influences that we can’t predict and some political challenges at home. It will be interesting to review outcome of the survey responses from the manufacturing sector and see if the optimistic view is maintained.”

He said the survey would take manufacturers less than five minutes to complete but would give an insight into the real day-to-day issues confronting the sector.

The deadline for survey responses is Sunday 31 March and the full results will be published in a detailed report later this Spring.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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