Why businesses should bring manufacturing back to the UK

Jason Leslie, managing director at UK Point of Sale Group, explains why he's confident about the future for UK manufacturers and why in-house is often best.

If we are to believe what we read, the UK manufacturing industry is finally showing signs of growth.

A recent article claims that 34 per cent of manufacturers have reported an increase in new orders over the three months to January 2014. This is the strongest sign of growth for almost three years.

In fact, the UK is said to be out-pacing Germany alongside all other western European economies in terms of growth, with 55 per cent of companies predicting that their exports will increase this year.

Mass figures are reassuring but as any business owner knows, it’s often hard to look past the here and now of your own organisation. Optimism has to come from within.

As a company manufacturing and selling into the retail space, a sector that has suffered more than most at the hands of the recent recession, we are confident about the future and would urge businesses contemplating investing in their own manufacturing processes to take heart.

The decision to manufacture in-house marks a strategic path for a company that can set them apart from their competitors. Despite the perceived cost advantages of manufacturing overseas, in reality the benefits of developing an in-house manufacturing capability far outweigh the alternatives:

UK Point of Sale Group manufacturing

UK Point of Sale has made the decision to manufacture in-house

  1. Speed of delivery – Having your own design and development team in-house enables client briefs to be prototyped, modified and produced quickly and efficiently – giving the customer the finished product faster.
  2. Quality assurance – By controlling the manufacturing process, you control the quality. As a business, the buck stops with you on maintaining high standards. The costs in time and resources of replacing disappointing suppliers or compensating unhappy customers, is immeasurable.
  3. Cost savings – In reality it is not always cheaper to manufacture abroad. Keeping manufacturing in-house ensures that processes can be continually reviewed to maximise production efficiencies – hence reducing production times and keeping costs low. And again, you’re in control.
  4. Better customer service – Innovation in-house enables companies to offer bespoke products to clients in a range of materials or budgets – all on demand. An outsourced model might require using multiple suppliers for different materials or products – meaning a longer lead-time and reduced service levels for the customer.
  5. It’s right to invest in our manufacturing industry – In order to see manufacturing figures continue to grow businesses need to protect manufacturing jobs at home. Green shoots are appearing and the number of manufacturing apprenticeships is on the up. By supporting the Made in Britain campaign and hands-on apprenticeships, growing businesses can help to bring manufacturing back to the UK, strengthening the contribution it makes to the overall economy.

Buying directly from the manufacturer has always been a mark of quality and reliability for the customer. Not only that but as more companies bring manufacturing in-house they help to build jobs, expertise and innovation – all of which are vital to sustain growth in the economy and make the UK a leader in manufacturing once more.

More on British manufacturing:

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.