The UK Gasket & Sealing Association (UKGSA), which supports UK businesses who convert materials into gaskets and seals, report on the results of their latest Member Survey (which closed ahead of the second lockdown).
Has Coronavirus impacted your business?
It comes as no surprise that none of our members were immune from the impact of Coronavirus:
When asked about current capacity levels the majority of members were operating below capacity, although the 40% operating at full capacity must be viewed as extremely encouraging for the industry and may reflect investment highlighted elsewhere in the survey:
Members were asked if they had used the Government’s Furlough scheme:
Percentage of staff still working at home
The survey did not establish the percentage of staff working from home during the height of the lockdown. The fact that almost 50% of all members still had personnel permanently working from home and 7% of members had over 50% of their staff working from home will, to some extent, reflect safety concerns for vulnerable members of staff:
When asked if members felt their business could cope with another lockdown or increased social distancing measures, the overwhelming view of members is that they were confident they could cope, having presumably invested safety measures and PPE:
Members told us about investment in key business areas since March 2020 and whilst many have reigned in spending on training and marketing, there has been a major focus on product development:
Members identified areas impacting on decisions to potentially raise prices. Increases in raw material costs may well be a result of lack of clarity over Brexit coupled with reduced capacity due to COVID shutdowns. Overhead costs will be impacted by the next increase in the National minimum wage and ongoing costs of enhanced safety measures for staff:
Outlook for 2021
Despite Coronavirus and Brexit, members were generally optimistic about the outlook for 2021:
Main Business Concerns
The main challenges members were facing were:
- Another country-wide lockdown
- Another global lockdown
- Recovery, specifically for manufacturing, following lockdown/s
- No deal Brexit
- Brexit – little time for planning impact due to Coronavirus
- Business development / sales
- Continuity of demand
- Employee wellbeing and mental health
Compared to the previous quarter, the continuing impact of Coronavirus and further lockdowns plus Brexit are significant areas of concern, whereas previously Brexit, increased costs and competitor activities were more prevalent.
Simon Winfield, chairman of the UKGSA and director of MacLellan Rubber Limited, said: “The survey has been a useful exercise to gauge the views of our Members at this difficult time. I was proud to see our Members’ response during the first lockdown to diverting supplies and manufacturing to support our NHS.
“The continued lack of confidence in Government policy and communication regarding Brexit continues to affect UK businesses in all sectors, and organisations such as the UKGSA provide a forum for member to member support, the exchange of information and the sharing of ideas.”
For more information about the UKGSA visit: ukgsassociation.co.uk