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Caroline Milton - Menzies Accountant

Caroline Milton – Manufacturing sector expert

To paraphrase author Mark Twain, the death of the manufacturing sector in recent years has been grossly exaggerated. The UK is the 11th largest global manufacturer and, whilst there has been a fundamental shift away from traditional heavy manufacturing like steel, we still build cars and there is vibrant growth in aerospace, oil and gas, chemicals, clean technologies, composite materials and robotics/drones.

Manufacturing sector advice services

We advise a diverse range of manufacturers, as well as a number of sector-dependent clients. We work closely to find solutions to industry issues, utilising our expertise in everything from business strategy and corporate finance, to audit and tax advice.

How tough could Brexit make things for manufacturers?

With Brexit approaching, it is more important than ever that manufacturers plan ahead. Understanding how individual risk factors might affect their business model is critical and the degree of risk exposure will vary from business to business. Business leaders must take ownership of the situation and prepare a bespoke Brexit plan to support them through the changes that lie ahead.

Working with the Manufacturing sector

Menzies boosts PT Plastics successful growth in the UK market

As a packaging expert with knowledge, technical expertise and production flexibility, PT Plastics contacted Menzies to support them with their growth into the UK Market.

Whether you need an agile format, whilst you are testing the UK market, or wanting to fully expand into the UK, Menzies can provide comprehensive assistance in all areas to ensure nothing is missed.

Growing a business through work/life balance

Read how Menzies applied #BrighterThinking to FTI supporting a Manufacturing owner/manager not only restore a work/life balance but grow his business.

Group Reconstruction

Read how Menzies applied #BrighterThinking to a specialist manufacturing business by advising on Group Reconstruction. The result: this new structure allowed the business to ring fence valuable assets without incurring onerous tax charges.

Key challenges for the manufacturing industry


Much has been made of the UK’s productivity per head compared with our international competitors. The Office for National Statistics estimates that UK hourly output is around 27% below both France and Germany, and 31% below the US.


Technological advances will further reduce energy usage and wastage, for example, 3D printing has had a huge impact on efficiency and cost savings. Control of energy usage and supply chain costs combined with management of the impact of commodity prices are key to ensuring competitiveness.

Overseas manufacturing competition

Asia is continuing to increase its influence on global manufacturing and the continued perception is that the Asian markets build everything faster and cheaper.

Competitive advantage

Knowledge and innovation is essential for creating sustainable advantage. Whilst 94% of UK manufacturers state they are engaged in innovation, most are concerned that they are not doing enough to stay competitive. Lower levels of investment may hold the key. The UK only spends 1% of its GPD on R&D, compared with Germany’s 2%. Similarly, the UK does not rank highly in terms of Patent Applications. Whilst 69% of business R&D emanates from this sector, only 37% of R&D Tax Credit awards are to manufacturing companies.

Skills gap

The UK is simply not creating enough engineers or talented leaders for tomorrow’s business. OECD results show that the UK performs poorly on intermediate professional and technical skills, and is forecast to fall to 28th out of 33 OECD countries for intermediate skills by 2020.


It has never been easy to fund the long delay from innovation through prototyping to commercial production, and a funding gap still exists. Investment is essential to raising productivity. In today’s economy that is not simply a matter of increasing the physical infrastructure but also, crucially, developing human and intellectual capital.

Contact Menzies Manufacturing Sector Team

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