PP C&A boss urges UK manufacturers to make the most of a ‘once in a generation’ relocation boom

Reducing supply chain risks, reducing long lead times and ensuring security of supply are driving a major trend towards relocation to the UK, according to a leader in the making.

Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation (PP C&A), believes that the cost and availability of freight, combined with enormous economic and political uncertainty, are changing perceptions regarding the “total cost of acquisition” and that translates into a “unique opportunity for domestic manufacturers.

His own company is already reaping dividends, taking in new contract manufacturing orders with OEMs involved in transportation, energy and power, warehousing and logistics.

These customers previously worked with partners in China, Eastern Europe and India, but have recently turned their attention closer to home to achieve greater value and faster delivery times.

PP Control & Automation employs 230 people at its world-class factory in Cheslyn Hay. Image credit: PP C&A

“Reshoring is on the way and the opportunities for the wider UK economy will only increase in my view,” commented Tony, who was named one of the top 50 most successful business leaders last year. ambitious of LDC.

“The political and economic landscape is unstable, raising questions about the risks and costs around ‘extended’ and remote supply chains. There are also growing environmental concerns, as well as the corporate and social responsibility of partners who reside in the supply chain.

He continued: “All of this means we are now more competitive than ever, and it encourages businesses to return to the UK or increase local content.”

PP Control & Automation, which employs 230 people at its world-class factory in Cheslyn Hay, is on track to post sales of £28million in the last 12 months, with a future order pipeline suggesting further growth on the horizon.

The strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialist has seen demand for its services increase by 25% over the previous year and company bosses believe this is due to a combination of relocation and a growing number high-tech companies bringing new innovations to market.

A member of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), the company recently expanded its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to include a more comprehensive mechanical/pneumatic offering and a dedicated Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) area to support electronics integration.

“The opportunity is there, but UK manufacturers need to be bold and brave to make sure they take advantage of it,” Tony added.

“We need to invest in people, processes and automation to create agile and flexible manufacturing models. Focus and spend on areas where you have really strong core skills and make sure you partner with experts in their respective fields.

He concluded: “Companies don’t need to get bogged down with high levels of vertical integration, it just leads to higher overhead and can lead to a lack of flexibility as capacity and demand cycles change.

“Get that balance right and there’s no reason UK manufacturers can’t beat their international rivals by delivering design for manufacturing support, security of supply and more added value.”

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