5 Reasons to Keep Your Manufacturing in Britain

We have been contacted by loads of manufacturers since beginning our project to buy British 3 months ago. There seem to be some consistent massages from these British manufactures as to why they feel the necessity to continue to produce in the UK. However, it was only speaking to Helen Ambrosen, co-founder of Lush cosmetics, yesterday that the penny dropped, as her views seemed to echo much of what we had heard before.


1 Costs
The feedback from industry is that the cost of manufacturing in the Far East is rising rapidly, but more than that, much of the actual costs of manufacturing abroad are hidden. While on paper you could set up your processing abroad far cheaper, in practicality it is never as cheap as you first anticipate. It is very easy for a business to come-a-cropper with a surprise bill with the many unknowns that exist. A strong business is one that can keep control of it’s financials. Manufacturing in the Far East is too risky, from a financial perspective, for some.

chain2 Supply chain
This seems to be an important one and the reason for many businesses returning to the UK after many years in the wilderness. Many manufacturers cannot hold vast warehouses of stock but need to support retailers and consumer demand. If the products are made locally then then managing the supply chain is significant easier. Let’s face it, every day your products are on a boat and not is stores you are losing money.

Quality3 Quality
Something that Richard Jackson from Jacksons Fencing said to us was – if you manufacture abroad you do not know what is going to come off the boat until you have opened the crates. For many, the lack of control over their products is too much to handle. If something goes wrong when making in the UK you can correct these issues quickly and there is significantly less risk of a poor quality batch getting into the chain. Alongside this there is the reassurance that, should a mistake occur in the UK supply chain, you know who was responsible and can ensure the mistake does not happen again. This is not something you can control control as easily with a potential language barrier and many thousands of miles.

scales4 Ethics
Businesses are becoming increasingly accountable for the transparency of their supply chain. As we have seen with the recent horse meat scandal, any unknown entity in your supply could lead to a PR disaster. After all the last thing anyone wants to see in this country are the pictures that surfaced 10 years ago of children in sweatshops stitching trainers. If your products are made in the UK you are able to better ensure that everyone in your supply chain is being treated properly and fairly.

home5  It’s home
Finally, and this is the most interesting reason from our perspective, the personalities that we meet that continue to manufacture in the UK do so because they really want to. They feel that they want to give back, help their communities and give people jobs. Interestingly, some very good business people have confirmed that they could manufacture overseas for cheaper, but despite the economics they feel a moral obligation to continue here. These are the kind of business people that, as a consumer, I want to buy my goods from.

Now, we are not suggesting that manufactures that do produce over seas do not display any of these characteristics. These are simply the reasons that we have been given by the people we have met as to why they have been successful in keeping production in the UK. We find it a persuasive argument to keep manufacturing here. What do you think?


  1. Marek Ujma says

    There are lots of other factors that could become issues in future. These include the possibility of hostilities disrupting supplies (Middle East, North Korea are very unstable and could cause significant damage). We rely on Asia for just about all the sophisticated electronics we coming to rely on. Imagine life without them. Most of these products are not manufactured in Europe let alone the UK.

    As for manufacturing in the UK many proven advanced techniques can be used to make it effective and efficient (Lean, Six Sigma are two such approaches).

    Creating jobs here mean creating wealth, which, in turn means more consumer spending and this will help the economy to recover and grow.

    All political parties in the UK should embrace manufacturing in the UK as should our entrepreneurs. To me it is completely win-win. We now know that relying on our services sector, more or less on its own, is dangerous. We still have a long way to go before the banking sector becomes effective and people can trust it for instance.

    We have the right skills in place in the UK for this to work we just need to persevere and keep on finding channels to promote ‘Made in Britain’ to everyone in the country. I strongly believe that manufacturing here is a major contribution to getting out of and staying out of recession. Let’s do it!

    • Completely agree Marek – and I think that the Bradshaws have really distilled the major reasons why manufacturing should be done in the UK as much as possible.

      We need also to be thinking about the trade deficit and one way of reducing this huge burden is by more people buying UK-made when they can (and therefore less needs to be imported). In addition, by equating UK-made with quality (which I believe is now true) then we can strengthen our own export market. Whether we are in the EU or not we cannot buy everything from UK manufacturers (no country can do this indefinitely) and we need to export to also help the economy grow.

      Many of the companies on kimwetu.com mention on their websites that they do export – perhaps some of those billions the banks seem to be squandering should go on business loans and advice to help companies export.

      I hope that the public are becoming more aware of buying UK-made and the Bradshaws have made a terrific contribution to this. I also hope that more people are going to be using websites such as kimwetu.com to find UK-made products and make a long term difference to our economy.

  2. Jenny jemison says

    Does this mean there may be light at the end of the tunnel?

  3. Steveo says

    I, for one, believe it does Jenny.
    However, The tunnel must be one in this country and NOT THE ONE THAT GOES UNDER THE ENGLISH CHANNEL, unless we are exporting of course!!

  4. Derry Clifford says

    I agree with what has been said, but would like to know what are the hidden costs referred to in the first part of the argument. I would also comment on the poor English used in the whole dialogue.

  5. We will continue to keep all of our manufacturing at home for tinyeco. I really hope that more things will be manufactured in the UK because if we were ever in a war situation again the uk would sink.

  6. Nicola says

    Thank you for all your postings. I’m sure I was the only person in the supermarket yesterday seeking out the Cambridgeshire-grown leeks as opposed to the Turkish grown ones. It might not be the style of manufacturing as discussed in this update but if only people sought out UK made/grown products… Thank you for your inspiring updates.

    • Well thank you for reading them 🙂 It is really great to know that there are other people hunting out British things and asking for them if they don’t see them. It’s the only way that we will get more supermarket and department store buyers seeking out the British goods to present to you.

  7. Really pleased to have stumbled across your site. Here at PJ Pan we manufacture all of our pyjamas and cotton nightwear in the UK, so it’s always interesting to read the views of other people involved in British manufacturing. It is without a doubt becoming more and more important to shoppers to buy British. Keep up the good work Bradshaws!

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