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Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service strategic and operational review: final report


The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) is a dedicated programme of support for the manufacturing industry, primarily targeted at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) although it also assists a proportion of larger organisations. The purpose of the review was to provide interim feedback to Scottish Enterprise (SE), the Scottish Government and the SMAS team on the delivery of the service to date and areas where this could be improved over the next two years of the contract.


The methodology included the use of former knowledge of MAS, which has been delivered in England since 2002, to provide a context for SMAS delivery in Scotland, consultations with relevant partners and a survey of SMAS beneficiaries.


Given the overall cost to date of the Programme is £4.68m including internal SE costs, the £8.48m net GVA return to date would appear good. It is found that in some cases the SMAS input is leading to a sustainable improvement within the business. Thus far, the SMAS offer has been similar to that in England and Wales. Demand for the service appears strong. Feedback from assisted firms, where approximately 60% indicated that the scope should remain unchanged, suggests that they value the specialist and targeted focus of the SMAS input. It is therefore suggested that the current focus should be maintained and its scope not broadened to cover generic business development. Separately, SMAS achieves greatest net impact on GVA through its productivity improvement activities. There is a danger that these benefits could be diluted if the scope of the service is expanded.


A number of recommendations are made in relation to the following: current focus of the service and its expansion; the potential of offering support to pre-start manufacturing firms; promotion and team capacity; Level 3 activities; SMAS fit; rural geographic coverage and delivery; GVA reporting; customer satisfaction; and market penetration.

Author O’Herlihy & Co Ltd
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses