UK manufacture v imports

The case for UK-made water purification systems

Product availability, quality and supply chain certainty

Covid brought the fragility of global supply chains into sharp focus. But in reality, the causes of supply chain disruption predated the pandemic and are going to continue even once we’ve got the coronavirus fully under control.

Consider the problems for manufacturing, distribution and logistics that are caused by extreme weather events, geopolitical conflict, terrorism, energy shortages, nationalism and the rise of protectionism. These problems might be local or regional. But regardless of their geographic extent they each have the potential to have a significant impact – today and in the future – on the just-in-time availability of products and components, and on the nature of globalisation.

The upshot is that there has been – and will continue to be – a significant increase in supply chain disruption and volatility, with a corresponding increase in the reshoring or near-shoring of many manufacturing operations.

We’ve been manufacturing water purification systems in the UK for over 40 years and have always done our best to source locally; or if this proves impractical, to obtain parts and components from the nearest and most reliable supplier with, wherever possible, a policy of multi-sourcing to create a short and extremely robust supply chain.

Why you should buy UK-made water purification systems

Let’s be realistic. Making specialised products such as water purification systems in the UK may never be the cheapest option. There will always be places around the world where manufacturing and labour costs are cheap, and where products can be made to acceptable standards of quality.

There are, of course, potential issues with purchasing products made in distant, albeit cheap, locations. For example, UK companies that take their CSR (corporate and social responsibility) policies seriously may be confronted by ethical, political or environmental concerns, such as poor labour rights or standards of employee welfare, enforced employment under harsh autocratic regimes, or production methods that cause pollution or threaten local ecosystems.

Although traditionally in our globalised economy the import of goods from around the world has become commonplace, the cost and availability advantages of this approach are now rapidly being eroded. Supply chains are being disrupted by external events, CSR and environmental concerns are growing, and the cost of offshore manufacturing and shipping are rising as fuel and energy prices become ever more volatile.

By comparison, sourcing water purification systems from a UK manufacturer offers you an escape from the tyranny and risks of globalised supply chains.

An experienced UK manufacturer will have a short supply chain and will have engineered risk out of their production and procurement processes. At Purite, for example, although we have to import some of our components, we have a robust policy in place that allows us to maintain a balanced inventory of parts. This ensures that we are able to build each water purification system either promptly to order, or for stock for fast delivery. We also work closely with our key UK supply partners, providing detailed forward order projections to help them plan accurately to meet our future demand.

This approach also means that we can supply spare parts for routine servicing or breakdown quickly and efficiently, so that customers’ water purification systems, especially those in critical healthcare applications, stay on-line at all times. Additionally, as a UK manufacturer, we have a dedicated UK-based support team and a nationwide network of service engineers, with the skills, knowledge and resources to help customers specify, commission and maintain systems.

It’s also worth noting that, without wishing to be unduly nationalistic, buying from a UK manufacturer helps to support local jobs and economies. Indeed, for large organisations in the state sector there is often a preference, wherever possible, to source locally as long as the supplier can match the normal price, delivery and support criteria.

Of course, not everybody wants to deal directly with the manufacturer and instead chooses specialised laboratory or educational distributors. These companies are able to offer a wider range of options, and can supply a broad cross section of products. Nonetheless, when selecting a water purification unit the same criteria should apply, in terms of point of origin, availability of spares and local support.

Ultimately, sourcing water purification systems from a UK Manufacturer is a win-win solution. The customer is protected from the vagaries of extended supply chains and risks of reputational damage when dealing with suppliers in areas with poor labour or environmental practices. For the supplier, selling locally creates a much more secure business model and supports employment and future growth.

With UK manufacturing, everybody wins!

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