Manufacturing flies back to Britain

3 April 2013
Two weeks ago it was Pot Noodles. Now, as The Sun reports today, Hornby model aeroplanes will once again be ‘made in Britain’. The great re-shoring of manufacturing has begun. OK, that might be jumping the gun a bit. There’s still quite a lot going on in India and China. And businesses in Eastern Europe and Taiwan still have plenty of UK customers. But it is very interesting to see a trickle of firms favouring the greater control, proximity and traceability that comes with going domestic, over the lower cost, but potentially riskier option of contracting suppliers in other continents. The cost arbitrage offered by outsourcing to lesser-developed economies is still alive and well, but this trickle of firms coming back would support the argument that it’s not what it used to be. Throw in the potential for a supplier’s actions to directly damage a brand and the added complexity of doing business overseas brought by the UK Bribery Act and, all of a sudden, the decision as to whether to outsource overseas is not as cut and dried as it once was.
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