As a result of a sudden spike in demand driven by the Coronavirus outbreak, the head of a leading injection tool mould manufacturer is urging the UK’s manufacturing sector to re-think the long-term benefits of ‘local sourcing’.

The re-shoring call comes from Roger Vance, MD of Ad-Vance Engineering which is headquartered in Northern Ireland. It follows recent news reports surrounding reduced production levels at JCB’s UK factories due to component shortages from Chinese suppliers.

“The Coronavirus has heighted the need to ‘think local’ on a long-term basis, and reduce over reliance on overseas sourcing,” said Roger Vance, whose tool manufacturing business recently marked its 15th anniversary. 

“Many leading businesses are suddenly facing major supply challenges because of Coronavirus. But with over 50% of UK tool manufacturing currently being sourced from China, the impact on our entire manufacturing sector, and wider economy, could be disastrous.”

Ad-Vance Engineering is currently responding to an increasing number of enquiries for injection moulding tools from GB-based businesses, including the automotive, medical device and pharmaceutical industries.  Some have referenced sourcing problems from China and the Far East.

Roger added: “The Chinese market has been steadily winning business from the UK since 2000, primarily based on the promise of reduced costs. Over the years this has resulted in the closure of many local tool manufacturers who simply could not compete.”

According to Roger Vance however, local businesses such as his have responded by repositioning and investing in their core services, enabling them to offer the major manufacturers a more sustainable supply solution.

“Across the board we are better organised, more responsive and much more efficient. We also have the experience, processes and people in place to offer an experienced, no-risk, high quality solution which is also very cost effective.

“Whist it is disappointing that it has taken a global threat such as Coronavirus to highlight the benefits of re-shoring, I would urge the manufacturing sector to seize this opportunity to re-consider its supply base.”