Mike Parker and Colin Griffiths, directors of Wirral-based LED lamp manufacturer UKLED, recently invested in advanced SMT (Surface Mounted Technology) machinery at their Headquarters in Wirral, while keeping labour-intensive work such as soldering in China.
At a time where China is often able to remain one step ahead of the game through comparatively lower labour costs, UKLED is an example of an SME that is taking advantage of the UK’s better technological knowhow and intelligent practices.
Mike Parker, Managing director at UKLED told The Manufacturer about the multiple reasons UKLED decided to make the move. Mr Parker said that while products ‘Made in China’ may earn themselves a lower quality “stigma”. Products manufactured in the UK have a much higher value, and customers realise this.
Parker explained that another reason for the move was the lack of consistency experienced with some Chinese companies: “When you deal with Chinese companies, there is a tendency for them not to understand the continuity of specification requirement – they can be quite unscrupulous when they’re not making the margins they want to and they’ll just use a cheaper materials.”
In China, the ability to manufacture 24 hours a day, seven days a week was also severely limited in comparison to the UK: “When there is shortage of power in China, the authorities shut a lot of the power stations down for checks, and as a consequence many companies in our supply chain are unable to operate,” he said.
“Sometimes the power is only on for eight hours a day. The procurement side of things and getting things at the right time and at the right specification has always been hazardous at our Chinese operation,” he added.