Industry barometer cites £1.6m success

J&CR Wood is set to achieve a £1.6 million turnover after growing sales across its business.
Sales at J&CR Wood in Clough Road, Hull, are up £200,000 compared with last year and the company has taken on six new employees to cope with demand.
Established in 1950 as a small engineering firm, it is run by the second generation of the Wood family, brothers Barry and Ian, whose father founded the firm.
Barry said: "Traditionally, our core activity has been in the manufacture of our own hand-powered metal working tools under the brand, Metalcraft.
"This has seen growth domestically and, thanks to a strategic distribution agreement, across many emerging markets around the world."
Earlier this year, the business, which also produces utensils for the food industry, steel frames for laboratory furniture manufacturers and mounting bracket components for in-store surveillance systems, won a six-figure contract with Formica Group to display its Axiom kitchen worktops.
Barry said: "We are also seeing an increase in demand for our other division, which specialises in bespoke point-of-sale displays for blue chip clients, including Bosch, Dulux, Flymo and Samsung.
"This area of expertise is certainly driving us forward and we expect to turnover a combined £1.6m this year."
J&CR Wood was one of the companies featured in the Manufacturing Advisory Service's (MAS) Barometer, published this week.
The Barometer found growth prospects among Yorkshire and Humber manufacturing SMEs is currently at a 12-month high.
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of companies said they were expecting to increase sales over the next six months, with 39 per cent reporting a rise in sales turnover.
And 91 per cent of respondents said are either looking to take on staff or keep workforce levels the same.
Barry said one of the biggest issues facing J&CR Wood was "achieving the right level of efficiencies on each job".
The firm is now working with MAS to adopt a lean manufacturing culture, with extensive training for key shopfloor managers among its 34-strong workforce. Appetite for investment has also seen an upturn, with 41 per cent planning to boost spending on new technologies and 46 per cent intending to invest in new machinery and premises.
However, more than half of firms said poor profit margins were the main barrier to growth, followed by an inability to meet lead times and access to working capital.
Martin Coats, area director for MAS in the East, said: "There appears to be a greater appetite from SMEs for investment in order to remain competitive and I think we are also seeing a desire to create jobs to meet expected demand.
"However, poor profit margins and lead times both paint a potential picture of unrealistic customer expectations. It appears manufacturers are favouring a more pragmatic approach to taking work on."

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