To remain competitive, many UK based manufacturing companies who are facing increasing competition due to cheap imports from China, have outsourced the manufacture of many of their products over the past several years to achieve cost savings.
Among the strengths and core competencies of many well established British manufacturing businesses are the ability to design and develop new products to market leading standards, and to provide a responsive and high standard of face to face customer service i.e. two key strengths that Chinese competitors can’t easily match.
To maintain the momentum of business development, several manufacturers recruit design engineers in China. The perceived benefits of the initiative are substantial. Not only can the new recruit support the existing in-house Levels Of Industrial Development product design and development function in the UK, but he could also work directly with business partners in China to manage the transition of new products from concept to volume manufacture in a greatly reduced lead time.
The costs of establishing a legal presence in China, a prerequisite of recruiting a Chinese National in China, can be prohibitive, but a number of specialist consultancies can help with the recruitment of Chinese staff and provide a base of operations for a lower cost.
The managing director of a leading British curtain pole and blind manufacturer commented on his experience of outsourcing, “This initiative has proved very effective in bolstering our NPD program, our time to market Secondary Industry Def lead times have improved beyond expectations. We are considering plans to extend the service to support the operational side of the business, starting with Quality Assurance and supply chain management.”
A� Miranda Wilson

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