New group highlights what’s holding back manufacturers

Manufacturers across Sussex are being held back by supply chain challenges, lack of finance and skill shortages – businesses at a manufacturing forum noted.

The issues were highlighted at the inaugural meeting of the Sussex Manufacturing Forum, a new industry group set up to help local manufacturers and engineering companies share experiences and tackle burning issues.

The first forum event, attended by a wide cross section of manufacturers and engineers, heard about the challenges of growing a business internationally from Geoff Edwards, chief operating officer of Worthing firm Bowers & Wilkins.

He called on the Government to stop ‘fiddling’ with regulations’, to encourage more capital investment through tax relief and to simplify the research and development tax credit system.

Chris Cooper, of Worthing company Carpenter Box, said:“What came out of this first session was an understanding that manufacturers of every size in Sussex share similar challenges and that there is real value in networking within the forum model and learning from the experiences of others,

“We will be using the feedback to develop future events looking at topics of particular concern or interest.”

The forum is supported by Carpenter Box, UKTI and HSBC, and receives input from a number of other sector support organisations, including the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the Design Council.