Four out of every five manufacturers across Sussex are experiencing problems implementing social distancing measures as they begin to ramp up production, according to a survey conducted by METALL, the regional forum for manufacturing, engineering and technology businesses.
The poll also reveals that over 90% of local manufacturers had furloughed staff, 67% had received a loan under a government scheme and just under a quarter (23%) expected their annual results to be down by 40% or more. 70% also cited contractual issues with suppliers and customers.
The survey formed the backdrop to METALL's latest event - a virtual round table of businesses - where a roadmap for 'survive, revive and thrive' was on the agenda.
"There's no doubt that for most manufacturers these are very challenging times, so the round table was an opportunity for business leaders to engage with expert advisers in areas of finance, law and business support," said Tony Summers, Partner and Head of Manufacturing at MHA Carpenter Box, a METALL sponsor.
"Under current circumstances, it is very important that companies keep up-to-date on government support because this can have far-reaching consequences for technology businesses. For example, a business that takes a government backed loan may inadvertently be disqualified from receiving research and development tax credits under state aid rules, which could impact future innovation."
The virtual round table also heard from Lou Williams from the Coast to Capital Growth Hub, who emphasised the need to stay in touch with customers during this difficult trading environment, while Debbie Venn, Partner at solicitors DMH Stallard, urged companies to use this period to review their business models to identify areas where businesses could strengthen their trading arrangements, including opportunities for diversification, that could create long-term value.
METALL is sponsored by sector specialists MHA Carpenter Box, DMH Stallard and Coast to Capital.