The latest official figures showed that UK manufacturing output is expanding at its fastest rate for almost a decade, confirming what leading engineering steel supplier Hillfoot has observed over recent months.
ONS data revealed that manufacturing output was 3.9% higher in the three months to November 2017 than in the corresponding period of 2016, extending the trend to seven consecutive months of expansion.
A separate study by the manufacturers' organisation the EEF found manufacturers positive about their prospects for 2018, with an increasing number of companies forecasting growth in productivity, profits, domestic and export sales.
Commenting on the figures, Hillfoot’s Managing Director Craig James said: “It’s encouraging to see the wider picture matches our experience, which is that activity levels in the UK manufacturing sector are rising.
“We’ve seen increasing demand for engineering steels in recent months, with particularly strong sales growth in the industrial machinery, transport and energy sectors.
“There is real confidence within manufacturing that this strong performance will continue throughout 2018 which, while being a real positive for businesses, will bring its own issues.
“With the US, Chinese and European economies all growing, global demand for steel is high, putting pressure on the price and availability of specialist engineering grades. And we’ve already seen high-quality European steel producers extend lead times for a number of key grades.
“Forward planning and closer partnerships between purchasing teams and suppliers are becoming more important than ever, in order to avoid materials shortages at key points in the production schedule.”
Hillfoot offers a range of supply chain management services for manufacturers and have vast experience of designing bespoke solutions that reduce inventory, improve lead times and manage cost in the supply chain.
Contact the Hillfoot team to discuss how we can help your business to deal with market conditions and ensure consistent supply of materials.