Are Manufacturers Ready to Revert Back to British Supply Chains?
Globalisation has long played a significant role in the creation of a solid and successful supply chain. It’s enabled manufacturers to utilise established resources in a bid to cut costs and save time, passing these savings along to their buyers. It was a concept that couldn’t fail… until the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of global trade.
A Logistical Nightmare
In early 2020, suppliers around the world began to shut down. Even manufacturers who were lucky enough to be working with suppliers that remained operational were thrown into a logistical nightmare. Air and sea transport was cancelled; operational transport solutions were in high demand; freight costs skyrocketed beyond recognition. All of these aspects created major barriers to maintaining the international supply chain.
The July Manufacturing Monitor report by the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK found that nearly half of all UK manufacturers had reported significant increases in logistics costs since the start of the pandemic, with the majority citing rises of up to 10%. Additionally, freight time had increased by up to 25% for many of the respondents.
Adaptation in the New Normal
The new challenges that have arisen as a direct result of the pandemic appear to be opening manufacturers’ eyes to the true face of globalisation in the supply chain; a high risk concept whose stability and longevity have long been taken for granted by UK manufacturers. So, are manufacturers ready to revert back to British supply chains?
The truth is that UK manufacturers were already on the brink of localising the supply chain due to the proposed increased tariffs once Britain leaves the European Union at the end of the year. COVID-19 has simply delivered the final push for these manufacturers to minimise their reliance on international suppliers. Make UK estimates that half of all UK manufacturers are ready and willing to bring the supply chain home.
The Benefits of Local
At Wearwell, we’ve long supported the British supply chain, sourcing as much as possible from local UK suppliers which enables us to deliver higher quality workwear with shortened lead times. And in light of the pandemic, the benefits of local are becoming increasingly visible. Stephen Phipson, CBE – Make UK’s Chief Executive – believes that shifting to local supply chains is key to facilitating a new, green future. He says that ‘a new digital, greener, and more sustainable economy will emerge from this with an opportunity to catapult manufacturing, science and engineering once again to centre stage in the UK’, highlighting one of the many advantages to supporting local.