UK manufacturing is still in the game

ESUK Feb14 p4 GSPK VftT 2 LRThe UK manufacturing sector may have shrunk, but it has adapted to what the market needs and reinvented itself as a lean mean fighting machine, says managing director of GSPK Circuits, Steve Lloyd

For everyone out there, it’s been a tough couple of years. Some companies have gone, some have merged and some have battled through, but the majority have become more knowledgeable, more resilient, and certainly stronger for it.

This is definitely the case for GSPK Circuits, one of the UK’s largest PCB manufacturers with two UK manufacturing sites and part of the TCL group of companies. It sees the UK manufacturing sector recovering this year.

There are good signs that the UK is feeling better about itself. The economy appears to be growing and companies are recruiting again, for example. Now that confidence is returning, albeit not as quickly as could be hoped, there seems to be a clearer understanding of the demands customers have on them, and in turn, the demands they place on manufacturers.

In the globally connected world in which we live, everything is needed now and everything is needed as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, these two things do not always go hand in hand.

I passionately believe in UK manufacture and although there is strength in the UK’s ability to design and innovate, this should not over shadow the UK’s manufacturing prowess. The UK manufacturing sector may have shrunk over a long period, but it has adapted to what the market needs and has come back as a lean mean fighting machine.

Over the last 50 years, for example, GSPK continued to invest in manufacturing, even when the demand was dropping, using innovative methods and philosophies. Lean manufacture has been an ongoing project for GSPK for many years. It started in the company’s Knaresborough factory and has now rolled out to the Boroughbridge site, but with ongoing training and enhancements, we never stop improving.

Where appropriate, however, GSPK believes UK manufacturing and sourcing from low cost regions can sit together. One solution does not fit all and volumes and lead times vary across customer’s products and demands.

GSPK is in a position to support most requirements using group resources. For fleetness of foot and innovative products we use our extensive UK manufacturing sites, while for lower cost and more repeatable demands, GSPK has the backup of partner factories across the globe.

During this, its 50th anniversary year, GSPK Circuits is forecasting an interesting year for circuit board manufacturers and believes the market will see substantial growth. With fast reactions and rapid manufacture being in great demand, UK manufacturing is ready and willing to help its customers gain market share.

Photo caption: Steve Lloyd receiving GSPK’s Queen’s award for export from the Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire