It’s something that is often said – ‘Buy British’ – but why?
Employment – There are some obvious reasons to buy British such as helping to keep British people employed meaning that the local economy benefits from money being paid to local people who then are likely to spend most of their income in Britain. In fact most will spend their money in their local area in shops, pubs, leisure centres etc. We all like to see thriving high streets so buying local helps this.
Service – Service is everything. Companies who manufacture locally can often provide much shorter lead times and even respond to special requests much quicker than companies who import products. There is no need to build long transportation times into the lead times with local manufacture. If something goes wrong with a product then because it is locally manufactured the more likely it is that the product can be repaired or exchanged. If a product has to be sent back to an overseas manufacturer from repairs or to be replaced that can take time.
Quality – British manufacturing is amongst the best in the world. Investment made in the past few years have brought the UK right up to the highest level. Evidence of compliance to recognised standards, such ISO 9001, demonstrates the high level of quality local manufacturers achieve. Adoption of recognised manufacturing standards has often been incorporated into their processes such as Six Sigma, Kaizen and the Gemba Walk. All of these increase both productivity and quality.Many local manufacturers are happy to demonstrate their capabilities and processes through factory visits.
Costs – With the decision to exit the European Union through the infamous Brexit election the value of the Pound dropped from around 1.4 € to the £, to around 1.12 today everything that we buy from Euro based countries costs around 20% more. It is true that components that are imported will cost more but the labour element, and other costs such as overheads will be based on UK costs and not Euro costs. Not only the impact of currency exchange rates will have an impact but the cost of transporting goods is also a significant additional cost to goods. So the shorter the distance the goods have to travel the lower the costs. The cost of transporting product from a factory in Germany or Hungary rather than in the UK will add significant cost to the product.
Environmental Considerations – with local UK manufacturing there will be a lower impact on the environment because the vehicles used to transport goods emit noxious substances and greenhouse gases.
Being closer to the market the manufacturer lowers the environmental impact. Many customers have strict requirements on reducing the environmental impact of projects so local manufacture can help to achieve this.
National Trade Deficit – Whilst the amount involved may be small everything adds up and the more we spend in the UK the better as it helps with the national debt. The news is always full of stories about how much the UK borrows from other countries and how much we spend overseas compared to how much we sell overseas. Buying British benefits so many people and areas.