Good morning and welcome to this week’s Friday Brief.
This week we have launched the 2020 edition of the Technology, Design and Innovation (TDI) Challenge. The flagship schools’ competition, which has been running for 17 years, will return in 2020 with a twist. Due to the current Coronavirus situation in the UK, a new format for 2020 edition of TDI is being launched online. See the story below to find full details of this year’s competition and how you, or a young person you know, can get involved.
As it appears increasingly likely that we are past the peak Coronavirus infections, thoughts are starting to turn to the exit from the lockdown and what might happen in the next few weeks and months. The MTA has been feeding into a Government consultation process on how to restart the economy, with announcements based on types of workplaces expected next week. With our colleagues at Oxford Economics, we have completed the Spring update to our forecasts for the UK machine tool and cutting tool markets. The crucial factor in the forecasts are the assumptions around the lifting of the current lockdown (the base-line assumes mid-May) and the timing/shape of the recovery. We explore these and other issues - the status of Brexit and a trade agreement with the EU remains very important for 2021 and beyond - in the article below and members can access the new documents via the MTA web-site with a link below. We are also preparing a presentation on these updates which while we cannot give it at a physical meeting, we will make available for MTA members next week.
While we have seen much of the best of humanity over the last few weeks, it is unfortunately inevitable that difficulties like those we are now facing bring out the fraudsters too. Sadly, we’ve seen a number of scams circulating which have targeted MTA members and MACH exhibitors, please be extra carful and see the within the Brief for more details.
Applications for the next six-month leaders programme run by the Royal Academy of Engineering close on May 11. The programme is for the founders, managing directors and chief executives of engineering and technology SMEs (but not consultancies), with plans to scale-up the business. Grants of up to £10,000 are available. It is open to both engineers and non-engineers. For details, see here: https://enterprisehub.raeng.org.uk/programmes/sme-leaders-programme/
"WENZEL EXPO 2020" takes place from May 5th to 7th they will open the digital gates of their virtual fair for our customers and interested parties from all over the world. WENZEL brings its metrology specialists directly to your desk, find out more about this event below.
Until 30th June 2020 NPL will be running eLearning courses for free. As a result of the new ways of working, online learning platforms have rarely been more important for skills development. The complete online catalogue of e-Learning content, including courses which may have cost up to £700, covers a variety of different content – including metrology, dimensional measurement and a range of specialised application areas. Find out full details within the Brief.
The April edition of our Business Survey is launching today and as well as the regular questions, it also includes questions to get a reflection of how MTA members are dealing with the current crisis. We would encourage everyone to take part and details of how to do this are in the article below.
With many countries on holiday today, we only have the UK Purchasing Managers Index to report and, as expected from the flash data last week, this showed a record low reading for the manufacturing sector of 32.6 and even this hides the real level of activity because two of the elements of the index are not reflecting the real situation - we explain this in the article below. We are starting to get GDP data for the 1st quarter of the year, with the Euro-zone/EU data the first to be published - these showed their steepest ever quarter-on-quarter reduction although we don’t yet have data for many of the individual countries. The European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Index was similarly gloomy with a sharp fall in confidence that may well be understated by reduced response rates to the various surveys. Profitability of UK manufacturing companies continued its steady decline at the end of 2019 with the Q4 figure the lowest for over 6 years; while falling profits are the main driver it also reflects recent increases in investment which has lowered the rate of return. Finally this week, the data file for the Contract Price Adjustment Service that we subscribe to on behalf of MTA members is available - let us know if you want a copy.
That’s all for this week, we’ll be back next Friday with more industry news and views, until then stay safe.