Manufacturing collective boosted by £1.5m of onshoring orders

From left: Larry Joyce (Kimbermills International), Matt Harwood (Barkley Plastics), Tom Bruce (Alucast) and Adam Cunningham (Muller Holdings)

A Midlands manufacturing collective is benefiting from the increasing trend among its customers for onshoring work.

The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), which comprises eight sub-contract manufacturers and a specialist engineering design agency, has seen more than £1.5m of new contracts placed from firms keen to re-establish production in the UK.

Whilst the drop in the value of sterling has improved competitiveness, the group believes the change in philosophy had started before the Brexit vote and there is now a multi-million-pound pipeline of opportunities.

Four member companies – Alucast, Barkley Plastics, KimberMills International and Muller Holdings – have joined forces to capitalise on this trend by forming a Metal and Plastics Components cluster that will get its first public outing at the Automechanika trade show in Birmingham in June.

The cluster idea is to offer clients access to a complementary manufacturing service that reduces lead time, increases capacity and can solve complex production issues.

A new brochure has been developed and a digital campaign launched to attract interest from clients in the UK and overseas.

Larry Joyce, chairman of KimberMills International, said: “Our cluster has experts in plastic injection, casting, forging and CNC machining, a single source solution for anyone looking for a plastic or metal component.

“We have all worked together to deliver new products or re-establish supply so it made sense that we make a concerted effort to attract new work…especially with the ‘onshoring’ enquiries we have received in the last six months.”

Inquiries have come from the automotive sector, oil and gas, rail and renewables.

Mr Joyce said there seemed a real desire to buy British due to the UK’s strong record on innovation and ‘security of supply’.

“Automechnika was brilliant last year and we knew we had to be part of it this time around. We didn’t want to just turn up with the same offer so decided we’re going to really push this cluster approach…it’s what industry wants,” he added.

MAN’s Metal and Plastics Component cluster can lay claim to 450 skilled engineers between the four companies, working across nine UK factories and benefitting from £3m of annual investment in new machinery and technology.

Customers can tap into the expertise of one, two or all members to support them with their outsourcing requirements, with the opportunity to also access the other five companies within the group to support with pressings, automation and control, fabrication, design and electronics.