The UK plastics sector by comparison has gone from being worth £18 billion annually in 2002 to around £3.5 billion annually in modern day – following a general trend in decrease of UK manufacturing.
Ripples in the UK injection moulding industry are saying that things are moving back to the West. Twenty years ago the UK manufacturing industry heralded an “injection moulding apocalypse” of sorts where hundreds of businesses went bust – some of them almost overnight. The cause: people moved their business to the Far East, mostly for economic reasons. Those of us who survived, must have done so for a reason, and in addition, UK Manufacturing is slowly returning from China. Why? Let’s talk about a few reasons:
1. Local businesses care about both small and large orders
The Far East tends to work much better when you have the ability to predict far into the future. This is all well when you’re a large multinational with big pockets and whole departments to manage stock and supplies, but the small-medium business simply doesn’t have the cashflow or resources to buy from the Far East.
2. Lead times are much shorter
If your business is tight on cashflow, then you’ll be wanting to order smaller quantities more frequently. If you order from the Far East, then you’ll be waiting around 6-12 weeks for a container load to come to the UK. Not to mention all the documentation and shipping costs involved. If we have parts in stock for a company, you’re looking at a 3-5 day lead time. If we have to manufacture something for them, normally it’ll take 2-3 weeks on average, sometimes less.
Many Far East manufacturers have higher MOQs, and the shipping time/cost normally means you’re looking at rather than a few boxes, a container or two. You’ll also need to store that container load somewhere until your next order.
4. Prices are more competitive
As a result of the wave of globalisation that has swept the world in the last 40 years and all the resultant effects of this, China is no longer as cheap for injection moulded parts as it used to be: skilled workers are demanding higher wages, global currency exchange rates are going in China’s favour with a devalued pound making overseas purchases more expensive.
5. Quality control
Not in every case, but an issue with the Far East has been quality control. If you want to buy from the Far East, you’ll need to go there and check the company out at first, and even then you can be assured that if there’s a problem, it’ll be easy to sort out. What happens if there’s a problem with batch that has just taken 3 months to arrive in your warehouse?
6. Carbon Footprint
AV Plastics is an injection moulding company local to the UK: shipping within the UK uses less energy than shipping from injection moulding companies in the far east. we recycle ALL our leftover scrap plastic materials that we can.
7. Intellectual Property
What happens when you see a copy of your product coming into the UK from the Far East? Intellectual Property rights are generally a lot easier to enforce within Europe than from the outside. How will you manage copyright infringement in the Wild Far East?
Thinking about getting an injection moulding project made in the UK? Contact us for information and quotations.