UK stepping up:
It’s fair to say that in times of crisis the UK engineering and manufacturing sectors have historically stepped up. Now is no different and there is presently a huge and united effort with engineering & manufacturing playing their part in designing, re-designing, manufacturing and more importantly delivering equipment to support front line efforts and to help save lives. Businesses have reacted in ultra-short timescales to produce not only life-saving equipment, but also designing some innovative products, arguably more effective or easier to produce than solutions that have been servicing these sectors for years.
King of the short run:
Flexibility has been key and the ability to move quickly from design, development and testing, through to production & delivery. Both SME’s and large organisations are well versed to adapt during a crisis as they have previously moulded their production capabilities to allow for short run applications. UK businesses have had to adapt to support JIT manufacturing requirements and working as infill and as 2nd line suppliers when large volume producers have been unable to supply.
When want turns into need:
Large businesses have developed slick supply chains, able to cater for production & delivery but at what cost? Unit prices have been driven down to the scale where many UK manufacturers and engineering businesses are commercially unable to compete on unit price alone. The Asian continents have been allowed to become copy and reverse engineering experts re-producing product in bulk at ultra-competitive prices.
What’s been the true cost of this for UK manufacturing?
What happens when things go wrong?
What happens when markets require new innovations?
What happens when choice and variety disappear and want turns into need and reliability?
UK versus ASIA what will the path look like?
As we emerge through the current Coronavirus crisis it will be interesting to see which path manufacturers decide to take when considering future supplier and purchase contracts for engineering and manufacturing businesses. Will the lure of cost down and low unit price from the Far East outweigh the innovation, dependability, high quality and high standards that UK engineering can deliver? Is this the turning point for manufacturing and engineering based in the UK?
Having had the pleasure of working with many UK based engineering firms over the last 21 years I know that business owners and stakeholders alike are passionate about what makes them great. Personally I would like to see future government intervention to assist businesses accelerate innovation and scale up and promote our ability to make things and solve problems. When the nation needed it these guys stepped forward and cost down was almost forgotten.
Will you use Far East suppliers in the future or will you look at UK based manufacturing engineering firms…..Interested in any views you might have.
Article written by Glen Shepherd
Glen has been recruiting at a senior level for the Manufacturing sector for over 20 years, he is always interested in differing viewpoints and news and views on how companies are managing in uncertain times. From Brexit to Covid-19, the recent climate has proved interesting and challenging for business.
Glen’s article above highlights his passion for UK manufacturing whilst also appreciating the need to reach out to the rest of the world, whether this is trading with them or sharing ideas.
To utilise Glens expertise on Manufacturing, or recruiting, contact him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07977266309