Another move to repatriate manufacturing

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G Plotnek Manufacturing in Spring Hill, Birmingham, appears to be ideally placed to take advantage of a plan supported by Vince Cable, the business secretary, to reverse the decline in the manufacturing sector in this country.

The company designs, manufactures, distributes and retails its collection of ladies fashion, mostly in the UK – exporting only a small proportion of its £3 million turnover to Ireland.

Currently G. Plotnek’s mainstream production takes place overseas and only ‘short runs’ are made in the UK, but that could change.

More expensive jeans or shirts can now be made more cheaply in the UK than China

Research by Trigon Diligence indicates that for the more expensive jeans or shirts, it is now cheaper to base production in the UK than in China or other Asian production centres such as Bangladesh and India.

Factors include:

  • high but hidden costs of buying goods from suppliers in Asia at fixed prices which have to be sold at large discounts because customers have moved on to the next trend;
  • UK plants are quicker to respond to requirements for new designs;
  • labour and transport costs in Asia have gone up.

Textile industry figures such as Lord Alliance, founder of the Coats group, and Sir Stuart Rose, former chief executive of Marks and Spencer are supporting the plan. Read more here.

A timely injunction from John Kellas

*Mr Kellas welcomed the initiative and hopes that it will be emulated by other industries, “china, glass and cutlery come to mind as once-distinguished British industries whose domestic manufacturing could be restored”.

He pointed out that the stance of retailers who give little thought to UK-based sourcing is at odds with the views of their customers, many of whom would like to buy British.

A circle of prosperity

John Kellas adds the clincher: retailers who stock merchandise made in Britain are supporting the jobs of their customers, whose prosperity will feed back into the retail sector. #

*Would this be John Henry Kellas, OBE, who was former chairman of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and is currently Interim Chairman of the Professional Oversight Board and executive director of the Financial Reporting Council?

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