University of Nottingham (c)2005

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Survey BB107 April 2007 :

The April survey revisits a series of questions posed in June 2005 on behalf of government on the subject of New Product Development. Also included this month are questions on pre-tax profit margins, capacity, the medium to long term future plus, what you would do if you had the use of an expert for the day.


Question NumberQuestion
Q1Has your business introduced any new or significantly improved products, services or processes in the past 2 years?
Q2Would you describe your most significant new or improved product / service / process as…
Q3Have you sought external advice on any of the following when developing new products, services or processes? [tick all that apply]
Q4Which of the following intellectual property rights have you sought external advice on when introducing new products, services or processes [tick all that apply]
Q5Which of the following factors do you think limits the ability of your business to introduce new products, services or processes? [tick all that apply]
Q6Excluding normal seasonal fluctuations, how have your pre-tax profit margins changed in the past 6 months?
Q7Excluding normal seasonal fluctuations, how do you expect your pre-tax profit margins to change in the next 6 months?
Q8To what extent are you working up to capacity (in terms of the full utilisation of resources)? (100% would imply a need for additional staff or other resources)
Q9How do you expect the number of full time equivalent employees in your business to change in the next 6mths?
Q10How has the number of full time equivalent employees in your business changed over the past 6mths?
Q11To what extent are you more or less optimistic about the medium to long term future of the UK economy compared to a year ago?
Q12If you had free access to an expert consultant, advice on which of the following issues would be most beneficial to your business?

(1) Has your business introduced any new or significantly improved products, services or processes in the past 2 years?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Yes - new/improved products31.4%
2. Yes - new/improved services41.3%
3. Yes - new/improved processes8.3%
4. No19%

(2) Would you describe your most significant new or improved product / service / process as…
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. A completely new product, service or process (not introduced by other businesses before you)16.5%
2. A new product, service or process to your business (already available from others in your sector)24%
3. An improvement to an existing product, service or process (similar but better)35.5%
4. A change to an existing product, service or process (similar but different).5.8%
5. Not applicable18.2%

(3) Have you sought external advice on any of the following when developing new products, services or processes? [tick all that apply]
ResponseTotal answers: 254
%
1. Marketing10.6%
2. Costing5.1%
3. Design9.8%
4. Technical13%
5. Protecting intellectual property rights through patents, copyrights, trademarks 6.7%
6. Business plans3.9%
7. Advertising6.3%
8. Software6.7%
9. Formal staff and customer feedback systems (eg ideas bank)3.9%
10. Networking groups (with Universities / other businesses / business associations)5.1%
11. Contracts with external experts9.4%
12. Other3.9%
13. Don’t know1.2%
14. Not applicable 14.2%

(4) Which of the following intellectual property rights have you sought external advice on when introducing new products, services or processes [tick all that apply]
ResponseTotal answers: 142
%
1. Patents11.3%
2. Copyrights9.9%
3. Registered designs4.9%
4. Trademarks 16.2%
5. Not applicable57.7%

(5) Which of the following factors do you think limits the ability of your business to introduce new products, services or processes? [tick all that apply]
ResponseTotal answers: 263
%
1. Lack of time22.4%
2. Lack of customer responsiveness to new products or services8.4%
3. Development costs too high7.6%
4. No room in the market3%
5. Lack of external competition 0.0%
6. Potential upheaval within business4.9%
7. Lack of new creative ideas4.6%
8. Lack of information about costs / benefits1.9%
9. Access to external finance (loans or equity)4.2%
10. Access to in-house skills (qualified personnel)7.6%
11. Access to external/specialist skills 2.3%
12. Fear of imitation0.8%
13. Risks involved6.5%
14. Regulations involved8.7%
15. Low returns6.8%
16. None1.9%
17. Don’t know1.5%
18. Not applicable6.8%

(6) Excluding normal seasonal fluctuations, how have your pre-tax profit margins changed in the past 6 months?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Risen35.5%
2. Fallen24%
3. Stayed the same38%
4. Don't know2.5%

(7) Excluding normal seasonal fluctuations, how do you expect your pre-tax profit margins to change in the next 6 months?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Expected to rise32.2%
2. Expected to fall9.9%
3. Expected to stay the same55.4%
4. Don't know2.5%

(8) To what extent are you working up to capacity (in terms of the full utilisation of resources)? (100% would imply a need for additional staff or other resources)
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. 90% - 100% 36.4%
2. 70% - 89% 44.6%
3. 50% - 69% 15.7%
4. below 50%2.5%
5. not applicable0.8%

(9) How do you expect the number of full time equivalent employees in your business to change in the next 6mths?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Expected to increase24.8%
2. Expected to stay the same64.5%
3. Expected to fall3.3%
4. Not applicable7.4%

(10) How has the number of full time equivalent employees in your business changed over the past 6mths?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Increased16.5%
2. Stayed the same61.2%
3. Fallen14.9%
4. Not applicable7.4%

(11) To what extent are you more or less optimistic about the medium to long term future of the UK economy compared to a year ago?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Much more optimistic 2.5%
2. More optimistic 15.7%
3. The same42.1%
4. More pessimistic34.7%
5. Much more pessimistic5%

(12) If you had free access to an expert consultant, advice on which of the following issues would be most beneficial to your business?
ResponseTotal answers: 121
%
1. Recruitment4.1%
2. Finance14.9%
3. Marketing52.1%
4. Management skills15.7%
5. Regulation13.2%