Some businesses are considering reshoring parts of manufacturing to protect quality ©DPA/PA Images
Some businesses are considering reshoring parts of manufacturing to protect quality ©DPA/PA Images

Manufacturing quality hampered by supply chain issues

12 April 2018

Achieving quality in the supply chain is a major concern for manufacturers, and access to good raw materials is a growing issue, a survey of 200 UK manufacturers has found.

Almost a third of UK manufacturers believe that raw materials will be the biggest barrier to achieving product quality over the next five years, according to a survey of 200 UK manufacturers across all sectors. This pushes it higher than the current concerns, where time pressures dominate.

UK manufacturers who responded to the survey, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Miele, said that delivering on time is currently the most significant barrier to achieving quality (27% of respondents), closely followed by the need to reduce time to market and understand customer expectations (26%).

Yet in the next five years, manufacturers expect raw materials to become the biggest concern in producing quality goods. Almost a third of respondents (30%) chose this option, closely followed by access to skilled designers (29%). 

This is in line with the report’s findings that achieving quality in the supply chain is the manufacturers’ second biggest challenge after innovation, with ethical sourcing also a concern. As a result, companies are reviewing quality procedures because of concerns over the provenance of raw materials, said the report.

Product quality is rated by 44% as more important than price, with 34% placing it higher in importance than exposure to risk. Without quality, there will be no business growth, 78% said, but if achieved it can lead to a 30% increase in both profitability and revenue.

Almost half of respondents outsource some of their manufacturing abroad (42%) – the greater portion to Europe – and  83% have experienced issues with quality control, prompting over half of them (57%) to consider reshoring back to the UK.

If they are to take advantage of the growth opportunities quality provides, UK manufacturers need to ensure that they’re addressing quality at every stage of the business, said Sam Bailey, sales and marketing director of Miele’s professional division.

“From raw materials, finance, sales and marketing through to post-sales customer service. Quality shouldn’t be underestimated as a tool for business growth,” he said.

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