A study by Atomik Research on behalf of Shire Leasing has shown that an SME equipment shortage is impacting growth for 49% of UK businesses.

The survey of 250 office workers who have equipment purchasing responsibilities showed that 49% of respondents felt that a lack of equipment hindered them from scaling up the business.

Nearly all (85%) of businesses claimed a lack of equipment hindered them from working at a proficient pace. Over 40% of employees said this affects their working ability every week, with organisations of over 500 employees feeling this way in 55% of cases.

Last year companies with less than 250 employees spent on average £62,100 on new technology, while larger businesses with 250-500 employees spent £44,500 in comparison.

The survey also found that UK businesses are in possession of thousands of pounds worth of unused equipment, including largely obsolete items such as fax machines. In total, the average worth of each company’s broken or unused equipment was £90,800.

Further individual pieces of SME equipment that were the most likely to fall into this sector were old, nonworking computers, word processors, and outdated printer machines. 22% of business still had floppy disks.

Only 16% of businesses said that they have leased business equipment through finance, yet the top issues with purchasing equipment were keeping up with new innovations in the market (41%) and cost of maintenance (31%).

Mark Picken, Shire Leasing’s chief executive officer, said: “SMEs often overlook the alternative finance options that are available. Through leasing, businesses can affordably pay for equipment as they use it, and in some cases, the single direct debit payment can also include the maintenance and service offered by the supplier.

“Simple return or upgrade options also minimises businesses having to store obsolete equipment over the oncoming years, and fixing the interest payable in these times of rising interest rates is good plain business sense.”

This month Shire Leasing announced a restructuring of its entire sales team following review.

As of Monday 3rd September, salespeople from both divisions report to a single regional director. The UK market has been split into East and West, both headed up by new regional directors. These roles have been taken up by Carl Cartwright in the West, and Darren Fletcher in the East.