The UK’s leading materials handling equipment provider is warning manufacturers that they could be in for a long winter if they’re unprepared for the new challenges that await them this year. Midland Pallet Trucks, the West Midlands-based supplier of hand pallet trucks, manual stacker trucks, machinery jacks, and more, is urging manufacturers and warehousing facilities to more carefully consider the importance of equipment over the coming months, as the industry trend for cutting jobs during periods of growth continues.
In August, the UK manufacturing industry saw a two-and-a-half year PMI high of 55.2. While this dipped slightly to 54.1 in September, the sector is still demonstrating rapid growth, with the PMI hovering above the 50 mark for the fourth consecutive month; a result of manufacturing businesses bringing more people back into factories and building the capacity to take on new contracts following periods of uncertainty during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. New business for manufacturers has risen for the third month in a row as consumer spending returns to pre-pandemic levels.
However, despite the Government’s job retention scheme still in operation, many manufacturing businesses have chosen to make redundancies; a worrying move at a time when business is growing. This marks the eighth consecutive month of job losses.
“Economic uncertainty created by the pandemic is building the foundations of chaos for manufacturing businesses,” says Midland Pallet Trucks Managing Director Phil Chesworth. “While organisations are playing it safe from a financial perspective by cutting jobs, customers are at completely the other end of the spectrum, reverting to normal spending patterns and generating more business for manufacturers.
“The combination of more work and fewer resources means businesses are opening themselves up to risk; risk of employee burnout, injury, errors, and more. Ensuring factories and warehouses have the right equipment in place is vital at any time, but now more than ever these organisations need to be prioritising the importance of tool efficiency when employees are expected to do more with less.”
Customer demand is cited as one of biggest reasons for new business. Not only are spending habits beginning to return to a greater level of normality, but the upcoming holiday season is further driving purchases. Financial comparison website money.co.uk reveals that shoppers are expecting to spend 25% more on average this Christmas, buying more gifts in an attempt to counteract the misery of 2020.
Midland Pallet Trucks’ warning for manufacturers comes at a time when shoppers are ready to kick off their holiday spending with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. With fewer staff to handle the anticipated increase in orders, having the right handling equipment to effectively and efficiently manage demand is essential.