With the Government recently announcing a significant investment in the manufacture of semiconductors in the UK to head off global challenges, it’s a good time to consider the environmental, social, and economic impacts of domestic manufacturing.
In today's globalised world, in which the ten largest importing industries to the UK account for an estimated £220bn of products, the benefits of domestic manufacturing are of even greater importance, particularly at a time of rising concerns about the fragility of the environment.
In this article, we’ll explore the environmental, social, and economic impacts of domestic manufacturing.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s carbon emissions peaked nearly four decades later than first thought once the effect of imported emissions – for example, those produced when products are imported from overseas – are taken into account. While many scientists believe that emissions reached their peak in 1972, the effects of imported emissions means that CO² levels were rising until 2007.
With pressure on businesses to achieve net zero by 2050, domestic manufacturing plays a crucial role in reducing the carbon footprint of goods. By producing goods locally, shipping distances are minimised, resulting in the lower emissions that are associated with long-distance travel. Also, when products are manufactured closer to their intended markets, raw materials are more likely to be sourced locally, reducing the need for extensive transport networks and contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly supply chain.
In the last half-century, the number of people employed in UK manufacturing has plummeted by over 5 million as the country has shifted towards a service economy that relies on overseas imports for huge volumes of goods. Domestic manufacturing, however, creates job opportunities within local communities, contributing to lower unemployment rates and better stability and security for workers and their families.
Moreover, manufacturing facilities in close proximity to partners, suppliers, and customers improve communication and collaboration and help to overcome the productivity challenges, such as different time zones and language barriers.
In many countries, the manufacturing sector is one of the largest contributors to GDP, driving economic expansion and development. By producing goods locally, revenue is generated within the country, boosting economic growth and creating a multiplier effect that leads to increased spending power, job creation, and enhanced economic stability. For example, in the US the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reports that every $1 spent in manufacturing generates $2.74 in economic activity; furthermore, each manufacturing job supports an additional 2.5 jobs in other sectors.
Additionally, relying on domestic manufacturing reduces dependence on imports, strengthening the country's self-sufficiency and resilience in leaner times or during unforeseen circumstances.
Supply Chain Resilience
Finally, local manufacturing reduces reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions by offering greater control over the manufacturing process and supply chain logistics. This minimises the potential for delays, transport issues, and logistical challenges. In times of crises or emergencies, such as natural disasters or pandemics, a robust local supply chain ensures a more reliable supply of essential goods and reduces vulnerability to disruptions.
Find Out More About Our Services
At Hone-All, we carry out our deep hole boring, honing and precision engineering services at a dedicated facility in Bedfordshire, enabling us to support UK manufacturers with no dependence on overseas providers. To find out more about how we can support your project, please call us on 01525 370666.