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The view from the supply chain

Sometimes when you are a component manufacturer like Borough, supplying chrome-plated parts for a wide variety of cars built in the UK, it's easy to concentrate on what we do and forget the important part we play in the overall success of the industry.

This brought home to me in no uncertain terms when I attended the latest of the 'Meet the Buyer' events, organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The latest figures from the sector highlighted its importance to the UK economy, employing over 770,000 people and investing over £1.9bn in R&D every year.

The strength and capability of the automotive supply chain was recognised a crucial factor in driving growth of the automotive industry and attracting investment into the UK. Which is good news for British manufacturers like us with a proud heritage of delivering quality chrome-plated components to be used on some of the world's most iconic brands - that will have to remain nameless.

The good news for Borough and many smaller manufacturers like us, is that there is growing interest from both global vehicle manufacturers and the UK's Tier 1 suppliers to source more components in the UK.

This is the reason behind events like one held at the QEII Conference Centre in London in May, when around 250 businesses, sought time with buyers representing 22 vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 buying organisations.

This willingness of the major names to engage with those of us further down the supply chain is encouraging, as is the SMMT's attempt to help local suppliers retain and build relationships with the manufacturers and the Tier 1 organisations.

Whilst it was good to see current customers, who confirmed their commitment to good local suppliers by attending, it was good to see support from potential new customers, like Ford Europe, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan and Peugeot Citroen.

As a by-product of these events, there are almost as many interesting and potentially valuable meetings to be had amongst the manufacturers attending in the hope of meeting the main buyers. From conversations had with the sector representatives at the event, the optimism felt at Borough for the future health of the automotive supply chain in the UK is not only shared, but expanded on.

Written by David Brereton at 16:15

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