JANUARY 2019 COMMENT
A false dawn
Happy New Year, and welcome to the fi rst Manufacturing
Management of 2019.
You may have seen, in amongst the turkey-and-chocolatebased
haze of the Christmas period, that the latest Purchasing Managers’
Index hit a six-month high of 54.2. Orders are up, costs are stabilised,
and everything is looking positive for the year ahead.
Or is it? Much like the alarm going off on the fi rst morning after the
Christmas break, I’m here to bring you down to earth with a bump.
These fi gures are something of a false reading, skewed by the fact that
manufacturers up and down the country are stockpiling ahead of Brexit.
As I write, it’s just 80 days to go until we leave the EU, and the UK’s
makers are beginning to prepare for a worst-case no-deal.
Added to this, a separate survey by the British Chambers of
Commerce found that 80% of manufacturers struggled to hire the right
staff in the fi nal months of last year as fewer and fewer EU nationals –
on which this sector relies – came to these shores for work. This is only
set to be enhanced by the government’s planned £30,000 minimum
salary threshold for EU workers.
We need to ensure that this message isn’t lost. More than most other
sectors, manufacturing has the most to lose under a poor Brexit deal,
and it should be every manufacturer’s new year’s resolution to ensure
that they are keeping the pressure on the decision-makers to avoid 2019
becoming something of an annus horriblis for the industry. C.Beck
Editor Chris Beck
Assistant Editor Amy Best
Art Editor Neil Young
Production Manager Heather Woodley
Circulation Manager Chris Jones
Sales Director James Slade
Publisher Luke Webster
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CHRIS BECK, EDITOR email@example.com