Here at the Pentagon, we are well versed in delivering the positives around UK manufacturing and our business. We don’t often (like many people) talk about the struggles and challenges we face.
There is undoubtedly a heavy gray cloud over the rapidly shrinking UK economy right now, a post-Covid, post-Brexit climactic fog, the impact of war, increased inflation, the rising cost of living, the lack of jobs. This weighted mix of issues is enough to make even the most grounded of people feel a little heady!
It would be remiss not to acknowledge the multitude of businesses where the lingering effects of COVID proved too much to bear and they had to cease trading. It would also be wrong to say that we are sailing through the challenging economic landscape that we all now have to navigate.
The tooling side of our business is busy right now, making tools for customers with our own molding facilities, but as anyone in the business knows, tooling is often feast or famine. However, production is extremely quiet, with the order books currently looking lighter than we would like in the coming months. Indeed, this could all change immediately, but right now the rest of the year looks quiet compared to years past (even compared to the COVID years!).
Although communication with customers is still flowing freely, demand for produce has certainly dropped rapidly in recent months. As with any supplier, you are as busy as your customers, and given the breadth of industries we serve, it shows just how far reaching the economic crisis is. No sector is more busy than another and where new projects are being quoted, price is key to being able to get a bespoke project, but with the cost of raw materials continuing to rise with pace and lead times are getting longer and there is nothing we can do to avoid passing these rising costs on to our customers. Even the powerful negotiating skills of our group buyer are making some headway on costs!
Anyone who has worked with us will know that we are very responsive to suggestions for cost savings in both die tooling solutions by making manufacturing easier and component design by looking at ways to eliminate some of the material costs during production. Our level of customer support is something we pride ourselves on.
Ever-increasing expenses in both personal and business activities are changing our business outlook and making us more cautious about where business funds are best spent. While we ensure that overheads and key production materials continue to be met, we are taking a more cautious approach to spending in other areas of the business. We have always operated with measured and considered spending, but right now management needs to be a little tighter as we weather this turbulent economic storm while maintaining investment in the right areas to support growth.
While the current times are indeed challenging on both a personal and business level, we remain safe in the knowledge that we are constantly in a state of flux. We know that the landscape will inevitably continue to change, but whether this is for the better or brings an additional challenge to society remains to be seen.
Let’s not pretend we’re operating in a pre-Covid world and everything is going well, let’s start an honest conversation and raise our hand to say it’s hard to do business right now.