UK automotive manufacturers needn’t fear being hit by unexpected delays or new tariffs imposed on EU-sourced components following a no-deal Brexit, argues B.G. Bullas’ Managing Director, Nathalie Wheeldon, in a new industry study. She believes there are many UK component manufacturers able to plug sudden breaks in supply chains, when combined with a pragmatic approach to storage and distribution.
Britain’s automotive manufacturing industry is a vital part of UK PLC. And the bosses of British car manufacturers from Jaguar Land-Rover to Toyota are speaking out louder than ever before about their fears of a no-deal Brexit. They claim it would mean significant extra expense in terms of new tariffs on parts, and delays in manufacturing caused by vital components being held-up at Customs.
However, Nathalie Wheeldon, MD of plastic component manufacturing experts B.G. Bullas, says the UK itself has a wealth of experienced and skilled component manufacturers able to step up and meet the needs of British automotive manufacturers, should there be a no-deal Brexit.
In a new Industry Study Nathalie reveals: ‘Any delay in production lines represents a huge cost to automotive manufacturers. It’s small wonder that many automotive industry bosses are becoming increasingly vocal in their concerns for a no-deal Brexit. A single 15-minute delay in production at its Honda’s UK Swindon plant could add £850,000 in costs; and a day’s delay at Jaguar Land-Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant would cost £60m.’
But B.G. Bullas argues there is an alternative source of vital components that is ready to fill temporary breaks in supplies. Says Nathalie ‘Our study shows Britain has a significant number of expert component manufacturers able to step-up and work with automotive companies to ensure a consistent supply of key parts.’
‘It’s widely acknowledged that a bad Brexit will create a need for more warehousing space. This applies to the automotive industry as well. British component suppliers can be manufacturing high quality essential components as a back up to EU produced parts; to be stored ready for use to fill any sudden gaps in supplies and keep production lines running.’
‘Of course, many British plants and component suppliers are already deeply embedded in automotive supply chains. Don’t think for a moment Honda or Toyota are simply using UK plants simply for final assembly. Companies such as BMW-Mini generate wealth and jobs across many British suppliers.
‘But these are long-established relationships, built into the structure of production plans. The resource that’s perhaps not being fully exploited is the wealth of other UK component manufacturers who are a perhaps a little smaller in scale, but still entirely capable of producing faultless high-quality components.
‘Of course, this isn’t a resource that could be tapped at a moment’s notice. But now is the time for UK automotive companies to be at least reaching out and exploring the capabilities of this significant alternative source.
‘Many industries are examining building-up their warehouse capacity so that, in the event of a hard Brexit, stockpiled vital components sourced from specialist UK manufacturers can be sourced immediately. It makes sense for the automotive sector to follow this example.’
The B.G. Bullas Study reveals the UK has a wealth of talent able to meet the demand if EU-sourced automotive components become uneconomical, or there are delays in vital component deliveries. Explains Nathalie: ‘As an example, B.G. Bullas itself is ISO 14000 certified and has extensive experience working in lean manufacturing supply chains. We can manufacturer high quantities of items from seals to heat proof engine components such as hoses.’
Says Nathalie: ‘I’m proud that I’m the granddaughter of B.G. Bullas’ founder, Basil ’Bob’ Bullas. The company has remained in our family’s hands for 55 years. We’ve a lot of tradition and pride; but also lead the way in terms of many of our extrusion molding processes. And we are merely the tip of the iceberg, just one of many specialist manufacturers across the country that have built up their expertise over many decades.
‘Of course, everyone hopes that the UK’s EU border remains frictionless, with no new tariffs or Customs clearance requirements. But the UK’s automotive industry’s £82billion turnover is a vital part of the nation’s economy. Those manufacturers committing themselves to retaining production in the UK will help safeguard their production lines against a no-deal Brexit by developing new ties with Britain’s many quality components suppliers.’
There’s no doubt Brexit represents a significant potential threat to British manufacturers with global supply chains; but looking closer to home to supplement existing component suppliers surely makes sense as we face up to the ‘Deal- No Deal’ challenge.