- A recent survey of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK electronics sector has revealed significant findings that will play a key role in shaping the future of these enterprises. Conducted by Premier Farnell in conjunction with The Electronics Leadership Council (ELC) and the UK Electronics Alliance (UKEA), The British SME Technology Survey gathered information to help understand the current state of mind, challenges and needs of SMEs and support them to push forward out of the recession to a profitable future.
The response was overwhelming with almost 1,000 businesses taking the time to provide their thorough and detailed feedback to the survey, which also acted as platform for several electronics and high-tech SMEs to come forward for more in-depth discussions. University groups and trade associations also gave valuable insight.
One of the biggest concerns highlighted was the regulatory burden on SMEs. In a sector where innovation is the cornerstone of success, the complexity of regulations like RoHS, WEEE and REACH was seen as resource sapping and a major challenge. Other key issues highlighted by the extensive response to the survey included the need for greater support for innovation and the lack of access to overseas markets. Some respondents also flagged challenges relating to accessing finance, cash flow and an increasing skills gap.
In response to the survey findings, Premier Farnell has launched a dedicated SME portal on its innovative and successful element14 technology eCommunity for Electronic Design Engineers. A first of its kind in the industry, the element14 Small Enterprise Resource Centre will be a platform for discussion and knowledge sharing and will contain training modules in the form of podcasts; round-the-clock technical support and relevant careers information.
Premier Farnell has long recognised the considerable burden placed on the electronics sector business in understanding and complying with the growing amount of legislation impacting the industry. This is reflected by the company’s established Global Legislation website that provides a wealth of information including a range of easy to follow guides. The new dedicated SME element14 portal will complement and strengthen the support and information provided by Premier Farnell to SMEs in this area.
Commenting on the survey, Harriet Green, CEO of Premier Farnell said: “The success of small businesses in the electronics sector is crucial to the UK economy, which is why we committed to be a part of this important work. We, along with our partners in the survey- the ELC and UKEA - will ensure this feedback is well understood by Government as together we commit to further champion the cause of SMEs, and help to develop targeted programmes that make a real contribution. We look forward to further engaging the wider industry in this discussion on element14."
Intellect UK, a leading trade association for the UK Technology industry offered support in a statement: “This extensive survey provides an important insight into the electronics SME sector at a critical time. As the country emerges from recession it is vital that all areas of our economy are functioning as well as they possibly can. Understanding the major challenges facing SMEs allows the sector to find better ways of tackling certain issues.”
A full copy of the survey can be downloaded at: http://www.element-14.com/uk-sme
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