Other priorities include:
• Changing business operations to realise cost efficiencies (42%).
• Innovation through product development (35%).
• Looking for growth in emerging markets (31%).
• Exploiting growth opportunities through successful transactions (28%).
Looking ahead, 82% of manufacturing executives agree that they will need to capitalise on trends such as emerging markets, efficiency of resources and sustainability. They believe that such activities will better equip them to withstand market challenges such as increased regulation, shortages of raw materials and threats from new competition in a changing market environment.
In the long run, however, innovation through product development is expected to be a key driver for the manufacturing sector. At the moment, 43% of manufacturing executives believe that a shift towards the commercialisation of current technologies and products over traditional research and development is expected in the near future.
Stephen Cooper, UK head of diversified industrials at KPMG, said: “The government will need to play its role in this movement if the UK’s manufacturing base is to benefit from the commercialisation of current technologies. Business-friendly intellectual property laws and targeted incentives will be required if the UK is to become a pioneer in technologically innovative products.”