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12/06/14 09:18

£135m savings to Scottish firms since records began

Scottish manufacturing year on year up by £4.2 million.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney has welcomed the latest figures from the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) on business efficiency savings during 2013/14, published today, which show that Scottish manufacturing firms have achieved £25.2 million of savings – up £4.2 million from the previous year.

The new figures from Scottish Enterprise show that manufacturing companies in Scotland completed 185 business improvement projects which saw them investing in tactical, short-term projects that focus on immediate ways of adding value and improving productivity, to looking at transformational projects which focus on a wider people centred approach to business excellence.

Since it was set up in 2006, SMAS has delivered over 1,050 business improvement projects contributing over £135 million of value added benefits to Scotland’s economy.

SMAS support is a driver for growth and a platform for higher value support such as exporting, account management, supply chain development and investment.

Welcoming the results whilst at the 4th annual SMAS conference held at Dunblane Hydro Mr Swinney said:

“The manufacturing industry underpins all of Scotland’s key sectors and therefore underpins the success of our whole economy, and right from the start of the economic downturn.

“The record savings that businesses have made during 2013/14 is down to the hard work from them but also the team at SMAS. With almost £26 million of savings it shows the delivery of more high value, transformational projects which has helped improve production techniques, reduce costs and boost their competitiveness.

“These figures come of the back of Bank of Scotland PMI survey which shows that Scottish private sector activity is being driven by strong growth in both the Services and Manufacturing sectors. We also heard from Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey which showed that foreign investment to Scotland in 2013 reached its highest level since 1997, increasing at a higher rate than the UK as whole, and creating over 4,000 jobs.

“The recovery in Scotland’s economy is continuing, with growth widely forecast to accelerate this year. the work of SMAS gives us a strong basis for the future and the First Minister will shortly announce plans to use the powers of independence to reindustrialise Scotland.

“With full fiscal and economic powers of independence, the Scottish Government will support businesses now and in the future to be more competitive will mean Scottish companies have the best chance of success.”

Adrian Gillespie, managing director of operations at Scottish Enterprise said “These figures highlight that manufacturing remains vital to a robust Scottish economy, with 60 per cent of Scotland’s international exports and 50 per cent of all business research coming from manufacturing businesses. SMAS support is a driver for growth and a platform for higher value support such as exporting, supply chain development and investment. By encouraging and supporting transformational business efficiency projects, we can help companies become as competitive as possible, giving them the best chance of success, and creating a culture of continuous improvement to enable increased innovation and exporting.”

The top three sectors to use SMAS support during 2013/14 were food & drink and energy-related engineering and general manufacturing (123 companies in total) whilst general manufacturing (£6.9 million), food & drink £4.1 million and aerospace, defence and marine sectors delivered the most value add – £4.1 million per sector, closely followed by energy-related engineering (£3.9 million).Geographically, Glasgow, Aberdeen City and Shire and Dumfries & Galloway achieved the most in value added benefits (£3.2 million, £4.1 million and £2.1 million respectively) while Glasgow City, Fife and South Lanarkshire completed the largest number of projects – 48 in total.

Gillespie continued: “The key theme of today’s conference, which will bring together over 400 top flight industrialists and industry leaders from a wide spectrum of businesses, is people and leadership. Research shows that 60 per cent of all improvement change will fail unless the people, leadership and culture is correct and customers have told us this is where they need our support.

Charlotte Wright, Director of Business and Sector Development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, commented: "The last year has seen an increase in the number of businesses across the Highlands and Islands which have made savings as a result of the advice and support they have received through SMAS. Our region has a strong history of manufacturing, from our renowned food and drink industry to our growing reputation at the forefront of renewable energy development. Working together with SMAS and partners in other public organisations, we will continue to provide practical support to our businesses, encouraging them to grow and remain competitive on a national and international stage."