InImpact: The Journal of Innovation Impact

Publisher Future Technology Press
Vol. 8 No. 2 KES Transactions on SDM II - Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2015
Volume Editors KES International
Journal ISSN 2051-6002
Article TitleOpportunities for Sustainable Local Supply Chains: An exploratory study of Welsh Manufacturing Companies
Primary AuthorJacqueline Marsh, Cardiff University
Other Author(s) Michael Ryan; Anthony Soroka
Pages 656 - 667
Article ID sdm15-051
Publication Date 02-May-16

Research has provided evidence for a trend for companies in the USA and Germany to return manufacturing from global suppliers (off-shored) to those based locally (i.e. near-shored) [1]–[4]. Whether this trend is occurring more widely in European companies has yet to be confirmed, but some authors suggest that it is [4]–[7]. This exploratory study investigates to what extent four companies are using local and UK based suppliers and the level of importance they assign to a number of factors when selecting them.

It is found that the 4 manufacturing companies interviewed were all using suppliers of manufactured parts and materials locally (within Wales) and the UK but the extent of this varied between companies. The use of local suppliers varied from less than 5 percent to 25 percent and the use of United Kingdom (UK) suppliers varied from 30 to 100 percent. The four main drivers for using local and UK suppliers were: quality of product, speed of communication, flexibility and accredited quality system. The main challenges were: the ability to offer manufacturing capabilities in very high value and nano technologies, and the availability of events to showcase local and UK suppliers. If Welsh manufacturing industry is to be efficiently supported, knowledge of the existence and extent of re-shoring in the region is vital. Therefore, more research in this area is required.

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Remarks Paper presented at KES International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing, 12-14 April 2015
First date of publication in InImpact: 1 December 2015