Members attend an excellent October meeting

16 members have attended the final ITSA meeting of 2018 which was held at Missenden Abbey on the 1oth October.

1. WELCOME & INTRODUCTION

1) The Chairman welcomed everybody to the meeting.
2) The Chairman updated all attendees with his activities since the last meeting in May.
4) The Chairman gave an overview of the associations finances which continue to look solid. We will exit 2018 with a surplus which will enable us to carry out more PR/Marketing in 2019.

2. STATISTICS

The members statistics for the first half of 2018 were presented. Overall 2018 has been positive for the members despite the continuing uncertainties in the market and the ongoing weakness of the £. Virtually all members saw a slowing down in the Interconnect market in the 3rd Qtr of 2018.

3. ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION ON THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

A very good interactive discussion was held regarding the state of the interconnect market in 2018
Most members indicated that they are still experiencing growth in 2018 although lower than 2017. The trend, however, is that the second half of 2018 will be very challenging and there was an air of caution over how 2019 might look
The first half of 2018 has seen capacity issues surface affected by both material and component issues and parent manufacturing organisations having capacity challenges to meet their global demands.
Members Distribution channels remain very positive, in particular the big catalogue distributors are performing very well.
Currency continues to cause issues putting pressure on inbound costs and subsequently market prices.
There were some very interesting comments made about the US increasing duties on certain commodities, as Donald Trump promised, and this has or will have a very negative impact on some members products going into the US.
Brexit remains on everybody’s mind and all members are trying to develop contingency plans to overcome issues such as customs blocks etc, however, no one knows what will happen. There was a general consensus among members  that it is a case of “watch this space” as events unfold in the coming weeks.
In summary the association members have had a positive  2018 so far but there are signs that the second half could be slower and may result in an overall lower growth for 2018 than was hoped for.  Most members felt that moderate growth in 2019 is likely.

The members were provided with a summary of the UK Manufacturing Market issued by Markit/SIPS.

4. UK Manufacturing Market Summary (source of data HIS Markit/CIPS survey)

The PMI data for the first 9 months of 2018 shows a level of 54.0 which is flat over the previous reporting.
Contributing companies to the PMI reported weakening output and new orders.
The softer growth trend for UK Manufacturing continued in the third quarter, this has been driven by a weakening growth of domestic business that was somewhat offset by a stronger trend in exports. Price pressures also continued driven by the high input costs which in turn have lead to the steepest rise in selling prices since February.
The start of the 3rd quarter saw the weakest rate of expansion in UK manufacturing output in 16 months.
As indicated above, exports continue to do well with improved demand from mainland Europe, USA, China and the Middle East.
Despite the weakening trend employment rose for the twenty fourth month in a row, most reporting companies linked increased staffing to planned company expansions, this despite the spectre of BREXIT.
The Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.25% recently to try and reduce inflation but it is likely that further rate increases will follow as consumer credit debt continues to increase. BREXIT remains a hot topic with many ministers saying a “No Deal” scenario is very likely now.

5. Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker at the October meeting was John Ranson who ran a very lively and interactive session on “Refreshing Skills for Modern Day Sales People”.

6. Date of next meeting

The date of the associations next meeting will be the 10th April 2019.