UK companies consider manufacturing return to Britain

Posted on 13 Aug 2013

Two-thirds of UK companies said they would look at bringing manufacturing back to the UK or Europe as satisfaction falls with Chinese suppliers.

A survey of 1,124 firms from tamper evident bag manufacturer Versapak saw 67% of respondents agree they would consider the prospect of returning production to the UK with the right market forces.

A further 38% of those pondering a return home said they were “already in discussion” over manufacturing back in the UK or Europe due to unreliable overseas production.

The study asked UK companies working with manufacturers in the far east, ‘What are the main stumbling blocks when operating within the Chinese manufacturing market?’

The following top five problems were cited by business leaders.

1.    Difficult communication – 48%

2.    Rising prices – 48%

3.    Long lead times – 40%

4.    Poor quality of production – 35%

5.    Large minimum order quantities – 32%

Leon Edwards, group managing director of Versapak, said China has long been associated with the large scale manufacturing of British companies due to cheap production costs, but added he sees a shift occurring.

“It seems that the winds of change are now blowing more favourably towards UK shores and that the thought process towards UK based manufacturing could be shifting. From a personal point of view, I’ve had many discussions with business prospects about the challenges of Chinese production, the majority of which are evidenced in the results of our study.”