Bringing It Home... Why Return To UK Manufacturing


It has been widely documented that the Covid 19 pandemic coupled with Brexit has forced businesses to review their supply chain, and as a direct result numerous companies across various industries are now choosing to bring production back to Britain.


As British plastic injection moulding specialists, Paul Norman Plastics Limited are delighted with this resurgence and wholeheartedly advocate this progressively growing trend of reshoring back to the UK.


In this blog, I am going to discuss the factors that are driving this resurgence and why we as a nation need to seriously consider bringing it home, bringing it back to British.


1. Cost

Having been in business for almost 40 years, we fully appreciate that cost is one of the fundamental constraints for many of our plastic injection moulding clients.


Ironically, the overseas price advantage that initially enticed businesses to offshore production just a decade ago has progressively been eroded.


China is no longer cheaper for injection moulded parts, as skilled workers are now commanding higher wages. In addition, global currency exchange rates are now in China’s favour with a devalued pound making overseas purchases more costly.


Although Chinese workers typically work for less (thus lower profit margins), the factories often require very high minimum orders. If you are looking for small-batch manufacturing or one-offs, you will struggle to get your needs met in China, but here at Paul Norman Plastics, we can help.


2. Time (Is Money)

Having established in point one, that cost is a key reason to return your manufacturing to the UK, the second reason on my list is reduced lead time and as we all know, time is money.


Shipping can be a real challenge with offshore production, long lead times, significant shipping costs and the potential worry that your goods could get stuck in customs. And as if all that isn’t enough to worry about, inventory management also becomes imperative when you’re dealing with international lead times. If your items are out of stock, your customers will go elsewhere. The additional time that your parts are spent in transit means you always need to think ahead when dealing with overseas manufacturers.


3. Smaller Minimum Order Quantities

Far Eastern manufacturers usually have high minimum order quantities, which essentially equates to a container or two as opposed to a couple of boxes! Once your container load arrives here in the UK, you will also need to store your stock somewhere util your next order.


PNP are a UK based plastic moulder who can facilitate small-medium order quantity requirements and our fulfillment services include a dedicated storage area for stock holding, we are also able to store any other free issued parts and can provide a pick, assemble, and pack service, so we can then process and despatch orders to your end customer.


If your business is limited on cash flow, it is likely that you will have to order smaller quantities more regularly. If you order from China, you will be looking at 6-12 weeks for a container load to be delivered to the UK. However here at Paul Norman Plastics Limited, if we have your parts in stock, then you’re looking at a 3–5-day lead time. If we need to manufacture your components, it usually takes 2-3 weeks.


4. Ownership of Tooling and Intellectual Property

Working with a UK based plastic injection moulding specialist means that your plastic injection mould tool(s) would reside in the UK, full ownership of the tool will be yours. Here at PNP we will look after your tool by storing it in a dry heated environment, with full comprehensive insurance. You are welcome to visit our facility at any time and view your tool should you wish to do so. Each tool is used for our client’s exclusive requirements, and we will honour all IP rights. Intellectual Property is more widely policed and respected in the UK, making it highly unlikely that your design will fall into the hands of competitors.


5. Communication

It takes a huge effort to develop relationships with a company located on the other side of the world. Establishing, building, and maintaining effective communication is an integral part of all successful commercial partnerships.


Communication is much improved when you share the same language and time zone. By choosing to work with a UK based injection moulders and toolmaker, the absence of language barrier and time difference will inevitably make the whole process, from product development to resolving production issues a lot easier and a lot quicker. Although countries such as China have opened to International trade, not everyone is proficient in English and if you cannot speak Mandarin or Cantonese then you may need to hire a translator which can be costly.

6. Customer Service

We understand that each client’s injection moulding requirements are unique and that is why we adopt a customer centred approach. Our overarching aim is to work closely with our clients and help them to succeed.


At the free consultation we listen intently to fully understand your requirements to align with your vision and objectives. Once you have placed your order with PNP, we will provide a concise project management plan and guarantee a prompt response to any queries and spec changes. We are always on hand to discuss any other issues that you may have and will keep you informed every step of the way. You will receive our full support and guidance in every aspect of your project, coupled with the promise that we will work hard to deliver your requirements, meet your time scales, and exceed your expectations.


7. Greater Quality Control & Traceability

Quality control in the Far East can often be an issue. If you want to ensure that your parts are being produced to the standard that you expect, in a facility with the right capabilities, it is almost essential for you to take a trip to visit said facility.


Here at Paul Norman Plastics Limited, we understand that quality is fundamental to your success. We guarantee that every step of the plastic injection moulding process is carefully monitored, we maintain detailed batch traceability records and work instructions for every single part that we produce. Specifications and tolerances are inspected using advanced equipment and we always complete a first off check against your master sample or drawing. You are welcome to visit our facility here in the South West of England any time should you so wish.

8. Product Provenance

Customers are increasingly start to care about where their products are coming from. Using UK based suppliers provides peace of mind that your component parts are being manufactured to a high ethical standard.


Here at PNP we implement quality procedures that are fully compliant with ISO 9001:2015. We have been ISO9001 approved since 1994 and our quality systems are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are suitable with our client's requirements.



9. Support the UK Economy


With the UK economy suffering from the impact of the pandemic and Brexit, British manufacturing offers an imperative lifeline. The recent signs of a resurgence in production across a range of industries can potentially drive substantial economic growth and create much-needed jobs for British citizens. Manufacturing overseas has been normal practice for so long, it can be difficult to source workers with the necessary skillset; fortunately, the government are actively supporting training programs helping people move into new careers. With new technological advancements comes jobs which are more interesting and fulfilling than conventional production line work. If more British companies are prepared to bring it home to Britain, we will be on our way to building a new generation of manufacturers within the UK.


10. Reduced Carbon Footprint

The costs of transportation from the Far East to the UK market are not just increasing from a financial stance. The world is becoming increasingly more aware of the consequences of global warming, and as such, companies are now being held responsible for their carbon footprints. As well as factoring in the obvious emissions produced by long-distance lorries, air freight, and cargo ships transporting products to the UK, businesses are being made accountable for direct pollution of the local area caused by factories in areas with less strict environmental laws. British companies manufacturing within the UK have increased accountability and greater control over their production processes, and their reduced factory-to-consumer carbon emissions. Whilst being better for the planet, businesses that follow environmentally friendly practices ultimately attract customers who are making a conscious effort to reduce their own carbon footprint. Eco-credentials are a huge selling point in today’s new world.


So, there you have it – our top ten reasons why you should bring manufacturing back home to the UK.


If you are considering reshoring your production or have a new project that you would like manufactured in the UK, then why not schedule a free consultation with us.


To arrange your consultation either call us on 01453 833 388 or email us at tradesales@pnplastics.co.uk.






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