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Onshore manufacturing could be the new trend for UK industry

01 April 2009

With the pound weakening, increasing overseas manufacturing costs and increasing transport costs and delays, UK manufacturing could be bucking the offshore manufacturing trend as CT Production have found.

In many cases, the perceived benefits of offshore manufacturing have not been realised, particularly where overhead costs, delays and quality issues are taken into consideration.

This has prompted the more enlightened UK OEM companies to review their policies to see just what UK manufacturers can offer - and they are often pleasantly surprised.

For example, CT Production, a Contract Electronics manufacturer based in Dorset, claim to offer a high quality and competitive manufacturing service and on time delivery and is one such CEM that has seen a reversal of trends recently.

MD, Alan Trevarton explains, “We tend to keep our customers, only losing one here or there to offshore buy-outs. We lost two over the last three years to offshore manufacturing and have since regained both. One was lost last year to China, but after a few months, they decided to return to the UK with bigger volumes achieving an overall better deal than offshore.

The other was lost to the USA when the exchange rate was $2 to £1, but with the falling pound we have won it back again. At present we have several enquiries for work returning to the UK, even from East European countries. We welcome it of course, and can compete on all products except those using cheap materials made in China’s ‘back yard’.

Volumes are increasing overall and, having achieved 24% growth in 2008, we have purchased another new Europlacer, an Xpress25T, to increase SMT capacity. We are also looking to take on more factory space in readiness”.

There is a lot to be said for dealing with a company just down the road, especially if a quality problem or design change arises, or simply for peace of mind that you have actually met the people responsible for your product.

Trevarton continues, “We resisted becoming offshore manufacturing agents for two reasons: one, it was a conflict of interest and we didn’t believe in it; two, we didn’t feel it made sense to be piggy in the middle, taking away potential savings and exposing ourselves to another companys' issues and creating a further stage of communication”.

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