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Your questions for the Cranfield University National Manufacturing reshoring debate, please!

On the 20th May I am attending the Cranfield University National Manufacturing debate which will be discussing re-shoring.

During the debate in the afternoon, Nick Hussey from the Manufacturer magazine will chair the session.  There will be 8 panel members - listed below - and they are encouraging audience participation in the reshoring debate.

What question would you pose to the below panel on the reshoring debate?

  • Dick Elsy
  • Professor Iain Gray CBE, Cranfield University
  • David Kynaston
  • Clare Marett, Assistant Director, Advanced Manufacturing and Services at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Harry Moser
  • Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner, Indian Embassy, London
  • Ian Pearce
  • Paul Sloman

I shall endeavour to get at least one of the below questions answered,  so please do list yours below. 

Claire Lauder is the Principal for Manufacturing & Engineering at Interim Partners. 


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Keith Worrall

17 May 2015 07:21 AM

Having seen re-shoring from Eastern Europe, the Far East became the new threat to UK manufacturing and now this chapter is 'ending' with the current reshoring where do the Panel see the next threat of off-shoring likely to come from and what can we take from the 'lessons learned' from the two previous times to overcome the threat? Second point, has anyone ever accurately calculated the real cost of off-shoring over time and, if so, what are the true benefits achieved versus the perceived benefits forecasted when the decision was taken to off-shore? Keith Worrall.

Claire Lauder

15 May 2015 16:26 PM

Thank you to all of those who have commented so far. Here are some more comments from my network; Ruth Todd ‘How can we hope to become competitive internationally if we don’t take advantage of cheaper economies for commodity manufacture? Surely re-shoring is just another government gimmick?’ John Warren My experience of offshoring is mixed – it is often done as an answer to the shortage of available resource; the desire to reduce costs; to achieve a corporate need to use offshore facilities or maybe to reduce the impact of the exchange rate fluctuations. But I have often also found that you get exactly what you pay for or ask for: I have had experiences of receiving lower than expected quality or maybe getting exactly what you asked for but it isn’t what your team actually requires. This necessitates additional work in either specifying the exact detailed requirements in the first place or reworking it if you don’t specify it well enough. Does the panel believe we have lost the ability to perform the work onshore as a result of the offshoring that has occurred in recent years? After we are still specifying it; helping to engineer it or make it happen; inspecting it on arrival or resolving the issues when it goes wrong. Given the examples above, does the panel believe onshoring will increase or decrease the total cost of getting the job done? Sean Clancy "what is the single short term action the new government can put in place that would be to the immediate benefit of Manufacturing in general and your respective industries in particular"

Peter Wells

13 May 2015 14:39 PM

Hello Claire - What steps can be taken to engage Sajid Javid and Anna Soubry, to ensure effective government support for re-shoring initiatives?

Doug Campbell

12 May 2015 21:06 PM

How will the Indian Govt react to the possible loss of Industry being re-shored back to the UK especially as the Modi Govt is actively campaigning with the "Make in India" Programme.

Peter Lawson

12 May 2015 13:15 PM

After 20 years of offshoring and all that has entailed in cost and customer relationship management, how do firms ‘future-proof’ themselves in the event that reshoring is not the long term viable solution, to some issues, it may seem today? Might reshoring, at least in the short term, mean relocating the skilled workforce from overseas and an exacerbation of the difficulty finding local unskilled workers to fill the low wage jobs?

John Sawford

12 May 2015 11:28 AM

Given the historic decline in UK based manufacturing do the panel believe there would be a sufficiently large pool of appropriately skilled candidates to successfully allow reshoring to take place.

Ramsay Ross

12 May 2015 10:00 AM

Alignment of UK supply Chain with UK energy policy - There has been a singular failure to establish a comprehensive and robust domestic supply chain for off-shore and on-shore renewables. A report for BIS in mid 2012 confirmed that we no longer have the capability to manufacturer large rigs in the UK.Both korea and Singapore can compete effectively in the latter market. Q: What changes need to be made by Govt and industry bodies to ensure that the maximum added value from infrastructure investment is retained in the UK over the next 10 years ?

Ian Chaytor Parker

11 May 2015 19:52 PM

Claire For many privately owned SMEs the challenge when bidding for reshoring contracts, particularly in component supply industries, is finding a source of funding for client specific tooling. These investments can often be greater than the firms yearly EBITDA! So what steps are Government taking to help SMEs get access to tooling finance?

Mike Wignall

11 May 2015 17:05 PM

One extended debate that I had with my local MP elect was that if the UK does re-shore then we may be able to utilise the wasted manufacturing talents of the 50+ age group/generation who are being frozen out of employment and thus unable to pass on their considerable skills and knowledge. In my humble opinion this is currently one of the greatest social and economic injustices in the United Kingdom and the negative attitude of employers and investors here to this age group is in stark contrast to our partners in, for example, Germany. My question to the Panel is what would they do to promote the engagement of this lost talent pool?

David Craven

11 May 2015 15:00 PM

Hi Claire, I guess my ? would be : If manufacturing is reshored would this have a very favorable knock on effect for the local community re social cost saving i.e. reduced crime, morale and benefits saving... and be a cost saving for the UK as a whole....probably greener as well. Thank you David

Claire Lauder

11 May 2015 14:56 PM

Some great questions from my network; 1. "How can UK manufacturers cope with the increased capacity on-shoring offers if they have been unable to invest in equipment and skills due to the lack of demand caused by short term decision making by naive purchasing managers in the past" 2. "Over the past decade or more a lot of manufacturing skills, facilities and manufacturing specific supply chain partners have been lost. If reshoring were to take off: a. How would individual companies manage to rebuild capabilities? b. What type of support will the new Government be lobbied to provide?" 3. "How do the panel see a re-shoring strategy being affected by an increasingly strengthening Pound Sterling Vs Euro/Dollar following the success of the Conservatives in the election" ?

Peter Dauwe

11 May 2015 14:54 PM

The EU, tax incentives, appropriate onshoring capacity and sector skill levels are all relevant. But the biggest issue for the UK is woeful productivity, which has now fallen below that of France and Italy according to recent ONS data. We should, rightly, be astonished that the UK has lost real competitive advantage, and ask why any investor would support uncompetitive reshoring. So, who needs to do what to clarify and quickly address uncompetitive cost and productivity issues?

Frank Walsh

11 May 2015 12:58 PM

If we do leave Europe in the upcoming national vote on a in out referendum. What would the impact be to manufacturing inshoring for UK?

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