Small manufacturers in Scotland are being held back from growing by rising costs in fuel and transport, research has suggested.
Problems with the supply chain and customers paying for goods late are also constraining manufacturers from expanding, according to a report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The organisation, which represents the self-employed and owners of small businesses, asked its members about their plans for the future and what was holding them back. A total of 92 Scottish manufacturers took part.
The findings indicate that while about two-fifths (41%) of small manufacturers plan to develop new products, 23% want to expand into new sectors and more than a fifth (22%) are looking to grow into new markets, many of them are being held back by the economic climate.
The cost of fuel was cited by 95% of respondents as a reason for the lack of growth while 88% said transport was a barrier to expansion. Half of those surveyed said supply-chain pressures, like reduced demand, late payments and pressure from larger companies to cut prices, were a problem.
Andy Willox OBE, FSB policy leader, said: "When we talk about manufacturing in Scotland, we often only think of our huge household names or multi-nationals with a Scottish presence. But, in reality, nearly 90% of those in the sector are small businesses.
"If Scotland has ambitions to grow its manufacturing base, we really need to understand the profile of those small manufacturers. Our research shows a diverse mix of businesses, operating across the length of the country, producing a vast array of goods.
"The rising cost of transport and fuel is squeezing many in business and manufacturers are no exception. However, they also face additional pressures piled on by supply chain problems and late-paying customers.
"Only half of our small manufacturers export. Those who don't point to a perceived lack of international demand or simply don't think it is right for their businesses. Those that do point out that currency fluctuations and long payment periods can make life difficult.
"If we are set on about broadening and strengthening our economic base, we need to listen more closely to what our small manufacturers are saying and help them realise their ambitions."