Bucking the Trend
If 2020 was not already going to be an uncertain year in the lead up to our full withdrawal from the European Union, nothing could have prepared us for the outbreak of COVID-19.
Given the pace in which the pandemic took control of us, both personally and in business, it would have been easy to “down tools” and scale back our activities.
However, the fluidity of how those in manufacturing adapted to the situation, supported the drive to control the virus and support the NHS and was testament to the industry and the ability of our businesses to react quickly.
This was certainly true within the region. I heard of a number of positive stories of businesses supporting the cause and it shows how important our manufacturers are both locally and to the UK.
Recently published data indicates that whilst the East of England has suffered loss of productivity and output during 2020 to date, it is lower when compared to other UK regions. In addition, the region actually saw an increase in employment in Q1 2020 compared to other regions which fell.
Whilst a number of sectors within manufacturing have undoubtedly suffered, the range of sectors the East of England is involved in has led to its figures being more positive than the UK average – showing once again the backbone of manufacturing to the Eastern Region.
Emerging from this pandemic it will be important for businesses to take time to assess current trends and the adaptations that may have been undertaken, ensuring good practices are taken forward to help grow the business in a different world. This will also be the case once we have a clearer picture of Brexit, and if a trade deal is agreed before 2021.
The region remains strong and adaptable. It will be interesting to see which manufacturing types grow in the short term and some that immediately spring to mind are life sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing and the green economy.
Our latest edition of Manufacturing Matters has been created to remind us of areas which could be considering during this time and beyond.
Let’s hope the region continues to buck the trend and remain strong during these times.
For more information on anything mentioned above please contact Chris Barrett.
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