The success of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in the south-east has won plaudits from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Launching a report into the work of the MAS, Patricia Hewitt said that the service had delivered an average added value of £85,000 to manufacturers in its first year of operation.

In the case of the MAS in south-east, which serves manufacturers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight it had delivered the greatest single project success — productivity improvements valued at £577,000 per year for Oxford Engineering at Abingdon.

Ms Hewitt told her audience that the MAS was proving to be an important element in providing practical support to manufacturers and in helping them to ‘move up the value added chain’.

“This report shows that the Manufacturing Advisory Service is a huge success. I am proud of the fact that we are delivering practical help to manufacturers that is world class and is working.

I would urge manufacturers to take advantage of this service, which is clearly delivering huge rewards for those who have already engaged with it.”

In the south-east the MAS has provided practical advice to more than 300 companies, welcomed more than 3,000 people to events, given in depth support to more than 50 companies, created first year productivity gains valued at more than £2.6m, helped to increase turnover by £2.3m and helped companies save £200,000 in equipment costs.

David Seall, chief executive of EEF South, which delivers the MAS in the south-east said: “The work of the MAS is proving its value many times over with companies eager to improve their competitive position — if we can build a culture where such activity is the norm, then we will be well on the way to creating a sustainable future for manufacturing.”