Manufacturing leadership with Made in Britain

Manufacturing leadership with Made in Britain
Published: 28 September 2020

Berwick Partners were delighted to host our latest Manufacturing Leadership Online Forum to discuss supply chain adjustment and future trading relationships. The manufacturing sector is worth nearly £400 billion annually to the UK. Rapid technology advancement, ongoing challenges of Brexit and the COVID Pandemic have resulted in a period of intense change; challenging businesses to adapt to thrive. To support our clients in their strategic thinking, we arranged an online event, led by John Pearce CEO of Made in Britain who offered his insight and perspective.

Made in Britain brings together the British manufacturing community, united with the use of the official protected mark, helping members to sell more at home and across the world. In his role at the helm of this non-profit organisation, John is responsible for leadership and management of the definitive Made in Britain mark, endorsed by government, supported by manufacturers and recognised by consumers at home and abroad. He oversees over 1350 members, a network of like-minded British manufacturers who are able to collaborate and are given invaluable sales, marketing, PR and export support.

The official mark is a utilised by both SME’s and larger corporates, from smaller tiered suppliers through to global OEM’s, making critical products for the UK and for export markets. The core purpose of the organisation is to promote British manufacturing, encouraging people to choose goods that are made in this Country.   

In the last two years there has been a significant increase in some markets choosing to buy British, and evidence of the flexibility and ingenuity of the manufacturing sector. Pivoting our capability has been exemplified by the enormous recent demand for PPE, where British manufacturers have quickly been able to adapt to meet some of this urgent need.

The environmental benefits of an efficient ‘closer to home’ supply chain is just one consequence of a consumer shift to local provision. Greater circularity as resources become scarcer, proximity to market, product traceability/transparency, risk reduction and shared learnings are all advantages that could be realised. Clearly there may be constraints in raw materials, for example resins for plastic injection moulding, but where possible we should be promoting the economic benefits of a thriving British manufacturing sector. Price will always be a factor; however, we also have to reflect on other measures of value in supporting localised manufacture of quality goods.

Brexit challenges

Inevitably, Brexit was discussed. It was clear that there remains great uncertainty around the likely changes and adjustments that will materialise after the transition period ends. Current focus is on inventory build-up and there are contrasting preparations required for just in time supply chains in industries such as automotive and short shelf life food; compared to the long-term supplier complexity of industries such as aerospace.

Technology advancement

Digitised factories are fundamental to future success and will have a big part to play in future efficiencies. As a nation, we have a fantastic opportunity to lead in new technologies. Looking to industries where Britain have competitive advantage and innovation capability, such as hydrogen and other green technologies. A coherent Governmental plan to promote British manufacturing needs to be a cornerstone of our future economic strategy.

David Thomas is a Partner in the Manufacturing & Engineering practice at Berwick Partners.

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