Forget China: Technology Manufacturing is Coming Home

With the recent announcement of Google's Motorola opening a manufacturing plant in the US as well as Apple and Lenovo announcing similar, it's easy for us to see why firms like these are making the manufacturing shift from the Far East, more specifically China, back to the US after many years abroad, says Patrick Mathews, MD of Breffo, a leading UK Manufacturer and Retailer of consumer goods. There are many, many advantages now being realised through local manufacture, local being to the core market base and not these are not just fiscal advantages either, says Mathews 

Breffo, currently one of the UK's largest and only manufacturer of consumer electronic accessories, have been exclusively manufacturing all their products at their factory in Devon, UK for a few years now.  

We have had the fortune of realising the advantages of UK manufacturing from the start and there is most certainly a shift taking place for more and more companies out from China, says Scott Mullane, Marketing Exec at Breffo. We have found the shift is based more on strategy over financials. 

More recently, manufacturing has moved into a highly technical and highly automated environment. This reduces the need for manual labour, which in turn reduces cost. These associates costs are still cheaper in China than the UK or the US for sure, however, if, as many companies such as Apple and Google and Breffo manufacture with high Automation, then the costs to produce become far more even between countries. Add high quality materials, highly skilled and educated workforce, low shipping cost and timings and fast efficient turnaround into the mix and becomes a no brainer!

We love being within an few hours drive of many of our customers as well as our factory and suppliers. It allows for a much closer relationship and understanding with the whole market within which we work, which is very important in today's economy. It also alows for much quicker reaction time if needed. 

We do not have to deal with long shipping times and our retailer and distributors both here in the UK and across our international markets love that we can turnaround a product and get it shipped within days and not weeks or months. This has been a big positive for us and a large competitive advantage. 

There are also no language barriers which can quite often delay a product release or cause issues due to drops in communication or language misinterpretations. 

We are passionate about local sourcing and production and have been since inception. 100% of our products are made in the UK and we also are promoting growth in the local UK Economy and driving Manufacturing trends in the right direction. 

We are at a pivotal point in the new revolution and we would very much like to be a part of bringing manufacturing back home to the UK where we were once the world leaders in this area. We have picked up a large amount of business through our Breffo Manufacturing arm from third parties who literally beg us to take on their production and regularly fly tools back into the UK to our factory in Devon from their previous Chinese Manufacturing Partners. 

We are very happy to get these calls and get the business contracts to take over production as it all lends weight to the new shift and furthers the local UK economy. 

A rise in labour and energy costs in China's economy have made manufacturing in China significantly more expensive and are driving business out of china and back to places like the US, UK and beyond. Transportation costs have risen too and it is often no longer greatly advantageous to manufacture abroad, especially automated manufacture. 

Companies are also tired of the constant legal battles due to the poorly regulated Intellectual Property market in China. With every new idea shipped to China for production, is a real and validated fear of your idea being stolen, copied and produced, even before you get to market! This is not the case in most regions outside China where IP is very well regulated and policed. It's almost a pleasure not having to worry whether the factory who is handling your products is ripping you off out the back door! We have heard some nightmare stories where copycat products are outselling genuine product all sold from the master manufacturers factory in China! Manufacturing in the UK, we don't have to deal with this issue. The Chinese still make the fakes, but they can't by law state 'Made in the UK' and this makes all the difference nowadays. It almost highlights quality and innovation of its not made in China! This helps us a lot as a design and innovation led firm! 

So we see this shift as a really positive step for manufacturing in general and for the global market. Higher Quality products will certainly be more abundant and although Google are just experimenting with the production of Google Glass in the USA right now, all eyes from the Manufacturing and Tech world will be on them to see how successful they can produce products in the US, and others will be starting to think about how they call follow suit. No Doubt!

This post was featured on The Telegraph online, check it out here: