Small and medium-sized companies overwhelmingly want to design and develop their products through UK manufacturing, according a recent survey conducted by Cheltenham-based Duku Product Design.
But this desire doesn’t always translate into action.
Director at Duke Product Design, Andrew Aylesbury, said: “We wanted to find out if the UK’s SMEs could be missing out on opportunities to design and develop their own products – and if so, what’s holding them back? so ran a small snapshot survey among some companies in our region to try and find out.”
The findings revealed that while 85 per cent were keen to innovate, only 69 per cent had actually taken the plunge and developed their own product. However, 90 per cent of all respondents would prefer to use UK manufacturing to overseas.
“Not surprisingly, the main drivers behind the wish to innovate are to improve on existing products, build on a product range or to address a gap in the market,” said fellow director at Duke, Alex Lee. “But respondents told us that the main things that were holding them back were time constraints, development costs and a lack of in-house expertise.”
The survey also suggests that not everyone is aware of how best to pursue innovation projects, nor how to access the grants and funding sources available to support SMEs and innovation projects.
Given the government’s goal to ‘build back better’ in a post-Covid business world, and that almost all the companies we approached were keen to focus on UK markets, this feels like a missed opportunity,” added Andrew.
“Having home-grown innovation is great for the economy and reduces the reliance on imports, as well as often being lower carbon-intensive.”
Alex added: “Companies want to get their products to market as quickly as possible without incurring high development costs, with the appropriate intellectual property protections.
“It’s at times like these that experts like us can step up and help, providing anything from design and production support to advice on how to source and secure funding and grant support, whether it’s from Patent Box, R&D tax credits or government schemes like Innovate UK.