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16 May 2017

'Onshoring’ boost sparks launch of manufacturing cluster

(L-R): Larry Joyce (Kimbermills International), Matt Harwood (Barkley Plastics), Tom Bruce (Alucast) and Adam Cunningham (Muller Holdings)
A manufacturing collective is reporting a surge in orders from customers looking to ‘onshore’.

The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), which comprises eight sub-contract manufacturers and a specialist engineering design agency, has seen more than £1.5 million of new contracts placed from firms keen to re-establish production in the UK.

While the drop in Sterling has improved competitiveness, the group believes the change in philosophy had started before the Brexit vote and there is a multi-million pound pipeline of opportunities currently being discussed.

Four member companies – Alucast, Barkley Plastics, KimberMills International and Muller Holdings – have joined forces to capitalise on this trend by forming a Metal and Plastics Components cluster that will get its first public outing at Automechanika in Birmingham in June.

The idea is to offer clients access to a complementary manufacturing service that reduces lead time, increases capacity and can solve complex production issues. A new brochure has also been developed and a digital campaign launched to attract interest from clients in the UK and overseas.

Says Larry Joyce, chairman of KimberMills International: “Our cluster has experts in plastic injection, casting, forging and CNC machining, a single source solution for anyone looking for a plastic or metal component.

“We have all worked together to deliver new products or re-establish supply so it made sense that we make a concerted effort to attract new work…especially with the ‘onshoring’ enquiries we have received in the last six months.”

He continues: “These have come from customers in the automotive sector, oil and gas, rail and renewables. There seems a real desire to buy British due to our innovation, our track record and ‘security of supply’. Is the Brexit vote helping? Possibly, but the trend had started long before then.

“Automechnika was brilliant last year and we knew we had to be part of it this time around. We didn’t want to just turn up with the same offer so decided we’re going to really push this cluster approach…it’s what industry wants.”




Adam Offord

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