Onshoring boom sparks manufacturing cluster

17 May 2017
MAN cluster

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

Four UK-based companies have joined forces to form a metal and plastics components cluster in response to a surge in new contracts from overseas customers looking to onshore.

Alucast, Barkley Plastics, KimberMills International and Muller Holdings are part of The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), which comprises eight sub-contract manufacturers and a specialist engineering design agency, and has seen more than £1.5m of new contracts placed by foreign firms.

The quartet created the collective to offer clients access to a complementary manufacturing service that aims to reduce lead time, increase capacity and solve complex production issues.

Larry Joyce, chairman of KimberMills International, said: “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.

“These have come from customers in the automotive sector, oil and gas, rail and renewables. There seems a real desire to buy British due to our innovation, our track record and ‘security of supply’.”

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

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

The four companies believe that the increased interest in UK production started before the Brexit vote and there is a multi-million-pound pipeline of opportunities currently being discussed.

The cluster will get its first public outing at the Automechanika Birmingham exhibition in June.

Matt Harwood, business development manager at Barkley Plastics, added that the quartet are discussing the possibility of embarking on a cluster roadshow where it can demonstrate its capabilities to potential new customers.

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