As costs rise in newly developing countries, such as China and India, through salary inflation and increasing manufacturing costs, greater attention is now being given to bringing production and the provision of previously outsourced services back to Europe and the UK. However, this may not be quite so simple.
Certainly cost differentials are reducing and making such transitions of manufacture more achievable. According to recent reports in the Financial Times, “many SMEs are considering whether now is the time to ‘re-shore’ back to the UK.”
Positively, such a reversal, after years of off-shoring activity, raises the prospect for European manufacturers of fewer language barriers, transparent legal systems and, of course, the absence of time zone differences.
Indeed, ahead of these broader economic changes, Incorporatewear, the UK’s premier corporate clothing company, has for some time recognised the benefits of European manufacture and garment sourcing as both an alternative to the Far East and as a means of reducing supply chain risks through dual-sourcing.
Consequently Incorporatewear has established manufacturing partner relationships stretching from the Far East through Eastern Europe to Portugal which allow for security of supply, flexibility in minimum order volumes and, of course, optimisation of cost.
However, although the mitigation of cost is important this has to be balanced with wider business priorities.
“Cost is not everything,” explains Incorporatewear’s Managing Director, Chris Wood. “As a firm that provides corporatewear to some of the UK’s largest companies – such as Virgin Atlantic, Barclays Bank and the Nationwide building society – Incorporatewear has also to consider the quality of garments and local adherence to corporate social responsibility and ethical trading principals. Dealing with overseas sourcing naturally puts pressure on a business. Local knowledge is vitally important and we deal with this through in-house specialists and local agents who often have complementary operations, which reduces operational and legal risk.”
Clearly, whether offshoring, re-shoring or manufacturing locally, companies are faced with a range of concerns and perhaps none more so than SMEs operating in the garment sector.
Incorporatewear is able to meet these challenges pragmatically and practically through a mixed methodology: balancing cost, quality and delivery options through a truly global approach.
Read more at www.FT.com