For the past few years China appeared to be well on the way to reshaping its economy, to focus less on exports and more on satisfying domestic demand. In line with that goal, Chinese leaders were willing to let factory wages rise to the point where it was becoming cheaper to manufacture products in the western hemisphere. As a result, UK and US manufacturers have been reshoring their supply chains, with a recent sourcing survey finding that a third (32 per cent) of North American and Western European manufacturers recently “re-shored” production or were in the process of doing so.
Here at Fascia we believe more UK manufacturers should follow this trend. A recent EY study has found that reshoring supply chains could create 315,000 UK jobs, and increase national output by over £15billion. Outside of boosting the local economy, there are many advantages to ‘making it in Britain’. Moving suppliers to the UK means you can have tighter controls on day-to-day aspects of the business and the production process.
Shorter lead times
A huge benefit stemming from shortened supply chains and low transportation costs is short lead times. You can respond to the latest trends and fashions and tailor production more closely to sales when there is only one week’s waiting time rather than four.
More reliable supply chains
Supply chains where manufacturing is separated across the globe, so that each component is made wherever it is cheapest, makes them highly vulnerable. For example, extreme weather, natural disasters and geopolitical turbulence can halt the production of one or more of the components and bring the entire manufacturing chain to a halt. By having your manufacturing operations all in one place and your suppliers close, your supply chain is much less vulnerable to these disruptions, and in turn so are your manufacturing operations.
There are no language barriers when dealing with suppliers in the UK, so any confusion is cut out, and there is less risk of a product arriving not as specified. There is no excuse for poor quality, but if for any reason there is a problem, it is a lot easier to call or visit the manufacturer.
Slashing transportation costs
With the cost of transporting goods rising, companies can no longer rely on the consistently cheap shipping they had previously been used to. By having your manufacturing operations close to your customer base, transportation costs will be minimal.
Sourcing from within the UK could also strengthen our economy, create job stability, and contribute to building the nation’s growth and prosperity. If more companies bring production back home, they’ll be able to supply a better product to market, at a fraction of the time, and we’ll be able to continue pushing up our manufacturing output for another 40 years.