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British engineering manufacturers need to unite to stay ahead

08 October 2015

High-value, advanced manufacturing activities are what British engineers do best – and there’s a wealth of evidence to support this.

John Pearce

A look through the Made in Britain directory of members in the high value engineering sector confirms my personal belief that the UK engineering sector is one of the best in the world and leading global markets. High-value, advanced manufacturing activities are what British engineers do best – and there’s a wealth of evidence to support this.

The Global Innovation Index, an analysis that ranks world economies’ innovation capabilities and results, places the UK second only to Switzerland. EngineeringUK recognises that “engineering is crucial the UK economy, contributing £1.06 trillion in turnover, or 24 percent of the turnover for all businesses in the UK”.

The engineering industry worldwide remains extremely competitive so being market leaders is no mean feat. With our focus on producing high value goods, British manufacturers are proud to shout about their unique selling points and wear the ‘Made in Britain’ badge with pride.

Some makers even choose to laser engrave the Made in Britain logo on to their components and packaging, highlighting the importance of their British origin to their buyers. Their commitment to design-focused engineering and attention to detail unites manufacturers and helps companies keep one step ahead of competitors in a busy global market.

The Made in Britain campaign is helping to bring together British manufacturers. We’re currently working on a #1000makers campaign to find 1,000 manufacturers to unite across all industries and shout about the fantastic products we’re producing on British soil. Using the British identity has its worth in marketing products abroad.

However, we believe the Union Flag by itself doesn’t say enough about a product to tell consumers about who has made it – there is a real need to unite manufacturers so they can support one another to strengthen the UK market. The #1000makers campaign aims to not only support UK manufacturers but illustrates how UK manufacturers support British engineering, jobs, and the economy.

We work with a host of advanced manufacturers who pride themselves on high standards and pioneer products across a range of high-value industries. Joss Engineering, one of the Made in Britain campaign members, states that it only uses “the best in the world for engineers… by engineers” and prides itself on the excellence of the products that they offer to the entire industry, which they have done since 1982. 

For some smaller manufacturers in the UK getting support from the Government and trade bodies can sometimes be challenging and often time consuming. Many of our members instead chose to speak directly with their local Chamber of Commerce who can help them find the information they need. Like the British Chamber of Commerce Network, Made in Britain works with a very broad range of manufacturers. We often find our members are suppliers to each other, and collaborating with other members helps grow sales and improve productivity.

One of our members, based in Cheshire, is K5 Precision Engineering. This firm has over 20 years’ experience, and the family run company specialises in quick lead times and superior quality engineering. As well as the longevity of Joss Engineering and K5 Precision Engineering, their specialisms in milling, turning, and machining is extremely important to their reputation.

Equally, Harvard Engineering shows how the firm’s engineering has raised the bar in industry standards as its components, used in Holophane’s Haloprism lighting, won the Lux’s Interior Luminaire of the Year Award. The product outshone the competitors through its innovative design and impressive output of up to 38,000 lumen.

Hutchinson Engineering is another great example of a manufacturer in its prime, even when it works across diverse industries such as oil, gas and sustainability. It also seta the UK’s industry standard for telecommunication towers providing the structures and masts for mobile suppliers throughout the UK.

Many of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers rely on their expertise in design, manufacture and supply of steel structures to renewable energy markets. It is brilliant to see that sustainability is at the forefront of British engineering and Hutchinson Engineering uses cutting-edge techniques, such as submerged arc welding and coating processes, to position itself as a world-class provider in the renewable energy market.  

With manufacturers across all product sectors choosing to adopt a clear and concise provenance icon, we think it’s time for the great makers of Britain to stand together and unite for the future of UK engineering, showing that being ‘Made in Britain’ represents much more than just a place of origin in the current market.

British manufacturers are continuing to lead the way in the production of high-value goods and should show the global engineering sector that the UK has plenty to be proud of, and it starts here.

John Pearce is CEO of Made in Britain

The Made in Britain marque supports & promotes British manufacturing enabling customers at home and abroad to identify British-made products. For more information, click here.

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