What does the future hold for manufacturing?

Caroline Gumble, chief operating officer of the EEF manufacturers' organisation, who will be speakin

Caroline Gumble, chief operating officer of the EEF manufacturers' organisation, who will be speaking in Suffolk, in Felixstowe, in February at networking lunch for businesses Picture: NEIL MANSFIELD - Credit: Archant

The chief operating officer of the EEF, the body representing the UK’s manufacturing sector, is to speak at a lunch event next month, hosted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Caroline Gumble has more than a decade and a half of experience in working for EEF in representing the interests of member organisations, having previously worked in HR roles for Lucas Diesel Systems and Ransomes.

She will be talking about key issues impacting on the manufacturing sector, including Brexit, new technology and skills.

John Dugmore Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive said: “we’re delighted to have secured Caroline as our guest speaker. Manufacturing still accounts for a significant percentage of businesses in our county and now seems a particularly timely opportunity for such an expert to share her thoughts about the future.”

In the latest Suffolk Chamber quarterly economic survey for the last quarter of 2018, manufacturers generally reported more favourable trading conditions than their service sector counterparts, with a noticeable improvement in both export sales and export orders.

On the other hand, manufacturers were considerably less optimistic about future profitability and continued to struggle to recruit the right staff for their vacancies.

Amanda Ankin, operations director for Suffolk Chamber, added: “anecdotal evidence from our manufacturing members suggests that many are stockpiling components ahead of Brexit and eating into their working capital, as well as facing significant inflationary increases.

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“So there’s no better time to hear Caroline Gumble speak about the issues that matter to them.”

The lunch is at Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club on February 22, at 11.30am.