Contrary to common belief, manufacturing in the UK is strong and is growing faster than any other sector.

The Chancellor George Osborne recently delivered his Autumn Statement speech, in which he said that investment in manufacturing is set to rise by 11 per cent this year – growing faster than any other major advanced economy. Indeed, despite the decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed to 25 per cent of GDP, the UK is currently the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world.

The latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) show orders, output and employment are on the rise in the manufacturing industry, giving more weight to Mr Osborne’s speech. The CBI’s industrial trends survey for the three months to July showed total orders rose by three points on the previous quarter.

Responding to these figures, Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, said: “The recovery in the manufacturing sector is keeping a good pace. Industry is performing well as orders and hiring are on the up, and investment intentions for the year ahead are looking healthy across the board.”

However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that in order to continue competing effectively in the global economy, UK manufacturers must make further efforts to differentiate themselves from lower cost countries including China, India and Brazil which are steadily moving into higher value industries and activities.

Nevertheless, whereas these developing countries are able to produce mass-produced goods at a low price, the UK has a competitive edge in that it manufactures high-quality products. Indeed, the current trend for products that are ‘Made in Britain’ has spurred many manufacturers to move their production from overseas back to the UK. PricewaterHouseCoopers said this so-called ‘reshoring’ is picking up in some sectors, driven by shifting consumer preferences, a reduction of the wage gap with emerging economies, volatile international transport costs and a desire by management to better control quality and supply chain risks.

Building products manufacturer, Steadmans, is one such British firm that prides itself on having full quality control over the manufacturing process. Quality checks and process samples are taken at regular stages within the manufacturing cycle at the plant based in Carlisle, and everything possible is done to ensure products are within exacting production tolerances.

The company also has complete control over the distribution of its products. It uses computerised systems to track orders and monitor stock levels, ensuring customers’ needs are always met. It ensures deliveries arrive on time by using its own vehicles, where possible, and an approved contractor.

David Henderson, marketing manager, Steadmans, said: “In order to compete globally, we know that innovation is key. That’s partly why we recently invested £500,000 in a new state-of-the-art slitting line at our headquarters – the only one of its kind in the UK. This is able to split pre-painted coil both width and length wise and re-coil sheets. It can also make flat sheets and split and rewind heavier metals, such as zinc.

“As one of the UK’s leading building products manufacturer, Steadmans prides itself on being at the forefront of Britain’s resurgence as a global manufacturing force to be reckoned with.”

For more information call Steadmans on 01697 478 277 or email [email protected]