Reshoring UK - pushing against an open door?

1 min read

The twenty two leading industrial engineering associations currently behind the Reshoring UK initiative, developed to assist manufacturers connect with trusted, accredited suppliers capable of delivering UK-based products and services, have applauded the recent poll conducted by the technical journal The Engineer: ‘will pandemic drive reshoring of UK manufacturing?’ (see link below)

“Ever since manufacturers began outsourcing production to more competitively priced overseas economies, there has been a race to the bottom, based on price,” states CEO Julia Moore. “However, there is an intrinsic value attached to making things here in the UK, not least being the opportunities to innovate. Reshoring UK highlights the skills and resources of the UK supply chains and aids manufacturers when considering domestic production for new projects or for the relocation ‘onshore’ of existing work programmes.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic exposing the frailties of many of the UK supply chains, underlining in stark detail just how reliant many have become on the overseas supply of critical items, there should be more impetus put on re-establishing UK production of these parts and protect SME manufacturing.

Adds Moore: “Everyone behind the Reshoring UK platform appreciates the complexities involved when transferring manufacturing from overseas. The website portal has been created to help re-establish the capability required to meet manufacturers demands, and those businesses that have used it in this current crisis have realised just how much capability and competence is available within the UK.

“We know it is a myth that the UK no longer manufactures anything, but it is often repeated and needs to be dispelled. In reality, prior to this pandemic we were the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world contributing 10% of the UK Gross Value Added (GVA). The sector plays a vital role as an employer, with a workforce of around 2.7 million, and an innovator accounting for 70% of all business Research and Development (R&D) spend.”

Even before the global threat from Covid-19 there was a paradigm shift from OEMs looking at the benefits of reshoring, as highlighted by the Lloyds Bank report ‘Business in Britain: Manufacturing’. A sponsor of the Reshoring UK facility, research from Lloyds Bank showed more than a third (37%) of firms asked said they were planning to move manufacturing processes back to the UK that had previously been offshored to territories like Asia and eastern Europe.

The prime motive for this, cited by 71% of those with these plans, was to improve quality – a telling endorsement of the high standards that British manufacturers and workers uphold, which also has extremely positive implications for UK supply chains.

“With so much value to be gained for both sides, large manufacturers only need to look more closely at what is already available to them in this country, in terms of innovation, technology transfer across sectors, and quality.”