As Leeds manufacturer, Pland Stainless, signs up for another years membership of the ‘Made in Britain’ initiative, Steve Duree, Managing Director shares a positive view on the future of British Manufacturing.
There is no doubt that growth in the ‘Made in Britain’ (MIGB) initiative has gathered momentum over the past few years, partially I’m sure, due to the implications of exiting Europe. And whilst it is still too early to fully understand the issues that may surface from the Brexit process, it is without doubt unnerving to customers and creates an air of uncertainty. Wherever this uncertainty exists customers have a tendency to either resist spending unless there’s an absolute necessity for a product or to look for a more local supply.
British manufacturers, like Pland are therefore signing up to the MIGB scheme in the hundreds with members now spread over 40 different product categories. The initiative is owned and run by the members, who are all visible on a website directory that encourages buyers, specifiers and ultimately, consumers to treat the directory as the procurement site for British-made goods. The membership support each other when sourcing British manufactured components too for their UK production lines.
As a nation, the will of the people has been invoked with Article 50 and we all need to look inwardly when sourcing to see if we can obtain an equivalent or improved product/service from within the UK. The Pland business is primarily based on sourcing of materials within the UK, however we do purchase some of our products from France and Italy. We are monitoring closely prices and availability of products from our European partners and will be meeting them to discuss future supply. We have looked to source European supplied products from within the UK but haven’t so far found a suitable alternative. This will not stop us looking. If we can find an equivalent product within the UK of similar specification and quality then we will look to change our supplier. Initially it’s finding that manufacturer that proves difficult and initiatives like MIGB help to bring us together. A lot of manufacturers over the years have exited the UK and have moved to Europe. There they have invested in infrastructure and tooling with support from local Government. This has benefited them in realising reduced costs and increasing their market share.
At Pland Stainless we do expect to receive more enquiries from our current clients and prospects because our nearest competitors have moved their manufacturing base to mainland Europe. Our Customers tell us this process involves longer lead times and a reduced selection of products. We have another advantage in that we are strong in the design and manufacture of bespoke products too and are able to produce them relatively quickly following our initial contact with the Customer. This gives Pland an advantage and we will be doing all we can to try and exploit it. I recommend that other British manufacturers do the same and focus on what they can offer that has an advantage over their competitors.
In the future, I am hopeful that we will see a focus on British manufacture and there will be a desire from the majority of the population to buy British. There is an opportunity to put the Great back into Britain. We have the talent and the desire within the UK to make a quality British product. If we can match our European sourced product in terms of quality, then there’s huge potential for our own manufacturing industry to grow and prosper. If we can do this and look at inward investment then we may well have a bright future to look forward to.