A year on from penning the above article (click here or on the image above to read it in full) that reflected on our failed attempt to manufacture MODUAL here in the UK we thought it would be interesting to revisit the topic and track our progress.
To describe our attempt as an complete failure would be a little unfair, as we do currently manufacture our tyre levers in the UK. However, in all honesty this isn't hugely impressive considering the cost of injection moulding between the UK and China has narrowed considerably in recent years.
We have been making strides elsewhere and have recently signed a contract with a mental health charity in the UK to sub-assemble our products (more on that in a future post). Whilst this isn't strictly a manufacturing process it is a still an important secondary process nonetheless and certainly something worth celebrating.
We have also been investigating the viability of bringing the manufacture of our tool rolls back to the UK, but it's early days. The upsides are plain to see; simpler communication, much easier to manage quality control, shorter lead-times and increased flexibility, but these don't come without a cost attached.
Whilst a fair bit has changed since this time last year, most notably the value of the pound has dropped significantly which (alongside other domestic factors in the Far East) has made offshore manufacturing more expensive and thus less appealing. However, its probably fair to say this won't be the case forever and this has already been partly offset by changes in employment legislation closer to home.
No matter how you frame it, unless the landscape changes dramatically it would only be possible for us to manufacture in the UK if we were also willing to overhaul our pricing, which in an already competitive market is simply a non-starter.
Our pipe dream remains just about intact, but who knows for how long.