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90% of design survey respondents prefer UK manufacturing to overseas

07 December 2020

According to a recent survey conducted by Duku Product Design, there’s a real appetite among SMEs to design and develop their own products through UK manufacturing – but this desire doesn’t always translate into action.

“Could the UK’s SMEs be missing out on opportunities to design and develop their own products – and if so, what’s holding them back? We wanted to find out, so ran a small snapshot survey among some companies in our region to try and find out,” explained Andrew Aylesbury, Director, Duku Product Design.

The findings revealed that while 85% were keen to innovate, only 69% had actually taken the plunge and developed their own product. However, 90% 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 Alex Lee, Director, Duku Product Design. “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,” noted Andrew.

“Having home-grown innovation is great for the economy and reduces the reliance on imports, as well as often offering a lower carbon-intensive solution.”

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.

“We can also help fill any in-house design and production skills gap, enabling the company to focus on what it does best. Having us on board can also speed the journey to market, which we know is a priority.”

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