Uk plc manufacturing 2014

Having spent much of the last 18 months working out of the UK with a global automotive components client I thought it was time to catch-up what has been going on in UK plc.
Having consulted a variety of recent material published by the CBI (particularly “Pulling together” from a supply chain perspective) and the EEF I have gleaned the following :
• Manufacturing now accounts for 11% of Gross Domestic Product and 50% of total exports.
• Manufacturers are optimistic about the future and are recruiting accordingly however domestic orders are up but exports are down.
• Raising productivity and skills shortages are the biggest barriers to competiveness in the UK
• 1 in 6 manufacturers have “re-shored” some activities this year to improve quality, reduce lead times and increase certainty of delivery dates.
• 8 out of 10 CBI members would vote to remain in the EU.
To a Supply Chain consultancy this is all very interesting stuff. The interest in “re-shoring” activities is not entirely a surprise to us as we have always held a belief that there was a “herd mentality” to offshoring over a decade ago. We are perhaps surprised that the levels are only 1 in 6 and we would expect this number to increase dramatically over the next couple of years as innovation in product design increases and lead times continue to reduce.
The level of commitment to remaining in the EU does not come as a surprise either and is one of the reasons that DCI have strengthened their presence across Europe by forming the International Consulting Network (
As a provider of global supply chain training for many large organisations we are very aware of the opportunity to further improve productivity by improving skill levels. Our relationship with our European partners under the ICN also enables us to deliver a broader range of training anywhere in Europe.
It is clear that if UK plc is to continue to grow it has to develop markets outside of Europe, one of the reasons we now have offices in Asia, India, North and South America.
If you would like to discuss any of the items in this article please contact me at