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JUN 13

Forget China: technology manufacturing is coming home

The following article appeared in The Telegraph.  It talks about the new trend of bringing high tech manufacturing jobs back to the UK and US with positive outcomes.


Breffo, currently one of the UK's largest manufacturers of consumer electronic accessories, has been manufacturing all its products at its factory in Devon, for a number of 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 companies to reassess the perceived benefits of Far East manufacture. 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 associated costs are still cheaper in China than they are in the UK or the US, but 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, a highly skilled and educated workforce, low shipping cost and timings and fast efficient turnaround into the mix and manufacturing in the UK or the US becomes a no-brainer.

We love being within a 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 allows for much quicker reaction times 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 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. Every single Breffo product is made here, in the UK and we are also promoting growth in the local UK economy and driving manufacturing trends in the right direction. By sourcing materials here and supporting other British companies we are doing our part to help get the British economy back on track.

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.

A rise in labour and energy costs in China's economy has made manufacturing in China significantly more expensive and is 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 if this is predominantly automated.

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 that 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.

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 be making their products in the US.

tags: manufacturing, china, technology, uk, us
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