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Subcon Research Suggests More Work for UK Subcontractors


New research from the developers of Subcon shows a good outlook for UK subcontractor manufacturers, with increasing amounts of work and a rise in contracts being re-shored from low-cost economies.

The Subcon Show 2016 takes place on 7-9 June at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and the research carried out by the event organisers show that 56% of organisations’ manufacturing was done in-house, while 44% was outsourced.

The study was performed on 263 purchasers of outsourced manufacturing services whose yearly spend totalled in excess of £215m.

Almost one third of replies, 31%, stated that they had expanded their proportion of manufacturing requirements ordered with subcontractors over the last three year period.

The research from Subcon developers also showed the key reasons for this increase, one of which being organisations’ desire to target core competences in-house.

Other reasons given included having surplus space in-house (41%), being more economical compared to in-house manufacture and not wishing to make capital investments in the processes outsourced (32%).

The study also looked ahead at the future for UK subcontractor manufacturers and found that 38% of respondents forecast the volume of work placed placed with contract and subcontract manufacturers to go up in the next year, while a mere 7% forecast a decrease.

25% of respondents said they intend to conduct more of work with UK suppliers over the course of the next year, while just 7% plan to reduce the volume of work provided to British subcontractors.

Further down the line, 33% of those studied said that over the course of the next three years they expect to base more of their work in the UK, with only 10% expecting less work to be UK based.

Meanwhile, 22% said they transferred work back to the UK over the last three years that was previously conducted in low-cost economies.

Among the reasons for this were quality (75%), response time (57%) and ease of communicating with suppliers (45%).

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