Fragility in the global market chains, has become a focus in the recent weeks as Covid-19 grips the nation.
It’s a scenario only scriptwriters and movie makers could dream up. How on earth did we get here?
But for the rest of us it’s a nightmare, a sequence of events we never could have imagined would happen.
Business’s have already encountered difficulty with sourcing parts out of China compounded with delays in getting components from overseas. However, as the weeks have dragged on and the coronavirus gripped the world, bringing delays in sourcing parts and delays in getting components from overseas.
But regardless of China being the global epicentre for manufacturing components and supply of commodities, uncertainty, global panic and fear of trade wars is fuelling customer buying unpredictability and isn’t allowing for any strategic future business planning.
If the uncertainty of Brexit caused UK manufacturing to slow and the wheels of industry to almost stop, exacerbated ultimately by the acceleration of business supply stockpiling: then coronavirus has the potential to put the breaks on completely and halt any business growth.
Over the last decade, if skill shortages, the ever increasing competition from global markets, the changing face of consumerism and as of later years Brexit, haven’t already done enough to batter British Manufacturing, can Engineering recover from this latest threat?
Ed Conway of The Times recently wrote, “ the disease could be the shock we need to harness new technology and new ways of working” I would suggest the old ways still have much to teach us, but with the assistance and addition of modern technology. I would also suggest that this episode in our Industrial history may be the reminder we all needed of our engineering heritage; we were once the world leaders.
However, if there is one bittersweet outcome to the situation, we find ourselves in, it maybe a wakeup call that industry needs to relook at the manufacturers that we have closer to home.
“China has been the dominant player in manufacturing for the last 20 years, but this worldwide disaster could be the turning point the UK needs to make people realise that sourcing closer to home is a better option.
Brands that manufacture locally and source their raw materials from the UK are in a much better position when the whole supply chain is local and not reliant on crossing borders, it is less vulnerable when something like this happens”
Kate Hills, Make It British
The article written, primarily focused on the textile industry, but the words ring true for all manufacturing throughout the UK. Only recently did we see the demise of British Steel, which was a monumental disaster for our own supply chain, engineering is now wholly reliant on sourcing raw material from overseas. We may have the promise of increased orders, with customers turning to more localised alternatives, but how are we able to fulfil orders without a continuous supply chain and with the lack of ability to future proof.
We’d be interested to know what frameworks you are putting in place to combat the effects of Coronavirus, economically and medically.