Reshoring manufacturing has been a major UK industry debate ever since British companies started subcontracting engineering production to offshore companies. In recent years, our manufacturing sector has held its own, with the UK now being the ninth largest manufacturing nation, but with the COVID-19 outbreak changing the way we buy, sell and produce, many companies are calling for an nationwide reshoring effort, to bring key product manufacturing back into the UK.
Despite the current pandemic, there are multiple reasons why UK companies have been bringing their production back home. Here, we will explain why more and more UK companies are reshoring their activities and examine exactly what the industry has been experiencing in the recent years.
1. Increase in global shortages
The coronavirus crisis has highlighted that UK companies are becoming overly reliant on overseas supply of critical items. Although reshoring is far from a straightforward process, the current crisis has illustrated that UK manufacturers can rapidly shift to producing critical components which are struggling to be resourced from existing supply chains.
From this crisis, we have seen that UK manufacturers can be much more adaptable and diverse than previously thought. Moving forward, if the UK starts to favour domestic production, this will reduce the shortages caused during periods of global demand. This is important for the future resilience of both the UK economy and manufacturing industry.
2. Improved delivery times
The vast majority of business operations depend on components arriving on time. When waiting for deliveries across the globe, you have to factor in extra lead time for components processing and delivery. This can be anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months and can place huge strain on even the most prepared of businesses.
By reshoring production to the UK, companies will benefit from incredibly fast turnarounds compared to overseas. Furthermore, due to the size of the UK, fast delivery times are easy to come by, and issues such as returns, or additional stock required can be resolved much quicker.
3. Improved quality
One of the main reasons why offshoring has become so popular with UK companies is because of the lower labour costs. Despite the wage gap between UK and overseas competitors closing, the UK still cannot compete with the low prices other nations have to offer. Nonetheless, in July 2019, Lloyds Bank published ‘Business in Britain: Manufacturing. A survey of key sector opinions, trends and insights.’ 37% of the firms surveyed said they are planning to bring their manufacturing processes back to the UK which they had previously offshored to eastern Europe and Asia. 71% of those intending to bring their manufacturing back to the UK stated that the move was to improve quality. This is a key indicator of the high standards which British manufacturers and workers uphold, which also has positive implications for UK supply chains.
4. Improved flexibility
Businesses with limited storage facilities may struggle to meet the minimum order quantity of overseas suppliers. Ordering in the UK, there are less order quantity limitations. Equally, building a repertoire with a local trusted supplier is much easier than building a relationship with a seller overseas. For example, UK suppliers will feel more obliged to help their loyal customer when in a tight spot.
By reshoring manufacturing and bringing the production of key products back onto UK soil, the economy, job market and quality of produce can be significantly increased. Now more than ever, we’re looking for skilled maintenance engineers, production managers and specialists. If you’re on furlough, a temporary worker, or between jobs, we’d love to hear from you. With the nationwide effort to reshore manufacturing, Synergi are here to support growth and development from entry level to management – contact Synergi Recruitment today for more information.