What To Expect From The UK Government Reshoring Initiative

Business Insights

Businesses in the United Kingdom that eye being prosperous global manufacturers must welcome (adopt) the fundamental and soon expected changes in manufacturing. It is a reinvention of manufacturing that will forge the future. Many are considering reshoring companies.

What will be the new face of industrial production look like?

Shifting from mass production to mass customization

Manufactures will offer greater variety and more personalized products with the transition to mass customization, which will be at a lower volume but having higher margins. More and more businesses are opting to use advanced materials and techniques that speed up product time, making manufacturing more flexible and efficient. It also allows them to have more time to market their products.

We discovered this when working with a global consumer healthcare company seeking a broader item category for the products sold under one brand. We addressed their expectation by manufacturing base materials in bulk, followed by customizing the product. We used a mixing and dosing system for the customization, which saw us develop new flavours and colours. As a result, we helped our clients introduce new products to the market at no extra costs.

Manufacturing will be at the point of demand

The conventional value chain within the manufacturing industry can be expected to morph into flexible networks. A change that might be populated by smaller and widely distributed specialist businesses plugged into various global supply chains, selling and buying diverse technologies. The companies also are likely to bail when the ventures go burst. Therefore, businesses serving word markets will have home-based operations in high-cost economies. They will develop capacities to create and protect their IPs as they manufacture at the point of demand.

New technologies will birth new opportunities

Out of the reinvention of manufacturing shall spring new and exciting business models and opportunities. Our Tech Center in Cambridge is where we are putting our minds at work, fiddling with new digital and product tech solutions that will generate personalized products the markets want. It is something we believe might see the return of manufacturing to Europe. For instance, we developed a new technology for the major consumer products companies to have a larger scale production for customized goods and at more efficient speeds.

Big Data is one of the technologies we are talking about, which offers accurate information about consumer needs to which the manufacturers must react. Furthermore, intelligent robotics will allow machines to make decisions based on gather data to determine the best response to production challenges. Our work also encompasses other technologies like virtual production (prototyping and scale-up using computational science) and 3D printing. We also have cybernetics, green plastics, and nanotechnology, such as programmable self-assembly nanomechanics.

Taking the long view

The reshoring initiative could potentially encourage manufacturers to consider reshoring their production processes in the short-term, especially the British-based businesses that have held on to their engineering and R&D in the United Kingdom. The projected return of UK manufacturing for the long-term depends on how the manufacturing industry reinvents itself to the modern consumer’s needs. It also will have the sector investing in new talent and relevant new technologies.

How lucrative a location might be in the future as a manufacturing base will depend on the manufacturer’s capacity to be flexible and create new products while maintaining high-quality standards. It is a trend that will support advanced capability for manufacturing in the UK, built on legacy, and have the support of the latest tech solutions. With such a production capacity, arguments regarding the basing of manufacturing in low-cost economies will cease.