Reshoring trends spurs launch of new manufacturing cluster

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

Reshoring - L to R: Larry Joyce (Kimbermills International), Matt Harwood (Barkley Plastics), Tom Bruce (Alucast), and Adam Cunningham (Muller Holdings)
L to R: Larry Joyce (Kimbermills International), Matt Harwood (Barkley Plastics), Tom Bruce (Alucast), and Adam Cunningham (Muller Holdings)

While the fall in Sterling may have played a role, the manufacturing collective 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 Manufacturing Assembly Network member companies – Alucast, Barkley Plastics, KimberMills International and Muller Holdings – have joined forces to capitalise on the reshoring trend by forming a Metal and Plastics Components cluster, due to get its first public outing at Automechanika in Birmingham in June.
The cluster aims to offer clients access to a complementary manufacturing service that reduces lead time, increases capacity and can solve complex production issues.

Chairman of KimberMills International, Larry Joyce explained: “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.”

Over the past six months, enquires have been received from companies working in the automotive, oil & gas, rail and renewables sectors.

Joyced added: “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.”

MAN’s Metal and Plastics Component cluster can lay claim to 450 skilled engineers between the four companies, working across nine UK factories and benefitting from £3m of annual investment in new machinery and technology.

Customers can tap into the expertise of one, two or all members to support them with their outsourcing requirements, with the opportunity to also access the other five companies within the group to support with pressings, automation and control, fabrication, design and electronics.

Business development manager at Barkley Plastics, Matt Harwood said: “This is an exciting move and follows on from the launch of our dedicated outsourcing capability for OEMs last year.

“All four businesses have worked together on projects before and all boast high-profile contracts, including carrying out work for London 2012, the Winter Olympics, the Channel Tunnel and a host of the world’s car manufacturers.

“£1.5m of ‘onshoring’ work has already been secured from clients who had previously been manufacturing in the Far East, Middle East and EU. We reckon we could quite easily double this to £3m with a more focused ‘cluster’ approach.”