Manufacturing Options

The pandemic has shined a bright light on our UK manufacturers and demonstrated not only their innovation and their resilience, but also the skills and ingenuity of the workforces to adapt and overcome. With so much uncertainty in the global economy, many businesses are understandably concerned about mitigating their risks. Those with existing offshore manufacturing and those looking for manufacturers are weighing up the pros and cons of where to manufacture.

It is true that low cost, high volume consumer products can be difficult to manufacture competitively in the UK and on this factor alone many would say it might appear not to be commercially viable for a business to reshore their product manufacturing or to manufacture in the UK. In our experience, so long as the comparisons are like for like and the full picture is considered, the answer is not as black and white as some would suggest.

Here are ten reasons why manufacturing in the UK can benefit a business and counterbalance a lift in the unit price.

1. No language barrier. This facilitates clearer negotiations and ensures words used are ‘interpreted’ correctly. It is quite normal for many offshore companies to employ translators who have no technical training. They are often unable to express the true meaning of emails and drawings to the shop floor. Notes on control drawings are a classic example of critical information which often gets ignored or miss interpreted.

2. Reduction in financial paperwork and no need for currency conversion. Many businesses are concerned about exchange rates and the redefining of what money constitutes. They ask if they should throw their weight behind bitcoins? The dollar? The Euro? Or sterling? Buying domestically largely solves this conundrum.

3. There is immense value in having a team come together around a table or a machine at a moment’s notice to solve problems. Sadly, it is unlikely that international travel will be as convenient as it used to be for a very long time. Getting to almost anywhere in the UK is comparably very easy and very quick. Once local travel restrictions are ended it will be easier and more cost effective to make UK site visits as and when they are needed.

4. International shipping costs are sky-rocketing and problems with landing and forwarding are causing many logistical nightmares.

5. Import and taxation are not easy and the landscape is changing as the UK adapts to post Brexit and other international trade deals.

6. Domestic manufacturing reduces the risks of variable delivery times and partial-shipping can often be resolved with less trauma when the supplier is ‘around the corner’.

7. The UK is arguably one of the most constant and stable nations on earth with a working infrastructure and tolerant population. Political wrangling, global disaster events, civil wars etc have shown how vulnerable many businesses could be to events out of their control.

8. Importantly, and something that is often missed – domestic manufacturing will provide a certain level of protection from intellectual property theft and give confidence in compliance with standards and regulations governing product performance and manufacture. Counterfeit materials, dodgy certification and inferior quality can ruin a business.

9. Can you be certain that the supplier is looking after your best interests? Inspections and sign offs are easier to arrange and verify when parties are local to each other.

10. Let’s not forget the golden rule – you usually get what you pay for.

There are strong arguments for domestic manufacturing and especially for reshoring but we must not forget that many businesses are very successful in manufacturing offshore. They achieve this by nurturing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with proven partners. They get the right balance between cost and volume and marry the right manufacturing partner to their needs.

Sated Design have extensive experience with manufacturing here in the UK and offshore and we think the best way to tackle this question is to approach it with an open mind and look at both options in depth, matching capabilities, understanding cost, weighing up the risks and benefits.

Need help taking your product idea to manufacture? Whatever the budget for tooling, required production quantities and preferred country of manufacture we will work very closely with our clients and manufacturing partners to determine the optimum manufacturing solution to meet the demands of the project. We can help to ensure suppliers meet the quality you expect, both in pre-production trials and once production has started.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements.



Dreams can come true

“Back in ‘82 I saw Blade Runner on the big screen and it was awesome, easily coming into my list of the top ten films. One thing in particular that stood out for me were the flying police vehicles known as Spinners – taking off at ground level from seemingly anywhere and going directly to their destination. It seemed like the stuff of dreams to imagine that we could see these in my lifetime but jump forward a few years and we are almost there with the development of the flying taxi”.
Sated Design’s Director Chris Howsam

The Hoversurf air taxi is such an inspiration. Billed as Russia’s ‘flying taxis’ these amazing machines could be ready for flights in 2025 and will offer passengers a quick and easy way to travel. Being electrically powered means they are also environmentally friendly providing the first real potential for convenient, zero-emissions, go anywhere travel for us all.

Once upon a time, flying vehicles seemed unachievable due to safety concerns, logistics and costs. Confined to the dreams of our youth, this kind of travel seemed as though it would never appear outside of fiction; immortalised in films such as Back to the Future and the Fifth Element but never within our grasp.

Yet through the innovation and aspirations of Hoversurf’s inventor Alex Atamanov, the drone taxi will be in production in less than 5 years. And so, fiction gets ever closer towards a reality.

Currently the infrastructure to support flying vehicles is the weak link – there is much work to be done here but excitingly that is being addressed too with start-ups such as the Urban-Air Port receiving a large grant from the government to help fund a temporary installation of a flying car airport in Coventry city centre.

We believe that innovations like the flying car are incredibly exciting and clearly demonstrate that better things are to come. Well researched NPD (New Product Development) that is proven to be both achievable and desirable will usually attract investment and interest and therefore, in most cases, lead to success. What we dream of today can be the reality of tomorrow.

If you have got an idea for a great new product and want to make it a reality, we will assist you through your journey. Even the most accomplished will require assistance which is where our expertise is invaluable. We work closely with all our clients to ensure they have all the support they need.