John Pearce, CEO at Made in Britain, looks back over the last 12 months
THIS was the year that the official Made in Britain mark really started to make a discernible difference to the collective outcomes of SME and larger manufacturers – our members. In 2021 we delivered on our promises: to shout out loud and consistently in the media about the collective mark, about our organisation and, importantly, the impact we are having on professional and consumer purchasing decisions. We’re helping more members sell more and helping professional buyers and consumers choose British-made first.
Demand is up for products that are made closer to where they are needed, here in the UK. Our annual Buying British Survey results show nine out of ten consumers say it’s important to buy British-made products. And 80 per cent want to buy more of those products, with 85 per cent considering provenance before buying anything – that’s up 18 per cent from the previous year’s Made in Britain Buying British Survey figures. Some seven out of ten employees in our survey say they want the businesses they work for to buy more British-made products and 87 per cent consider provenance before buying something – that’s a seven per cent increase from 2020. To hear the third annual survey results in full, join us on Tuesday 11 January for our live webinar, Demand for goods made in Britain is booming. Click here to book your place.
On average this year, we have seen measurable, on-message media coverage once every week. We have made sure diverse members across all our trade and consumer product sectors are cited as case studies, adding rich and colourful detail to the evidence as to exactly why the Made in Britain mark really matters, now more than ever.
Welcoming 300 new members across all our product sectors is an achievement no one at Made in Britain takes for granted. Our new members must make a commitment to the values of our code of conduct and renewing members confirm that business commitment every time they renew the licence. This means there are now 1,795 responsible SME and larger manufacturing businesses heading into next year in a united and coherent group of peers that care about each other’s business fortunes and those of the UK economy, of which we are all a part.
A factory-visit enthusiast and, dare I say it, connoisseur, I love being energised by the people that make the thousands of products listed on the Made in Britain product directory. For the first eight months of this year, I was sadly unable to meet up with members in person; to learn from you, the experts, how to make and sell goods profitably. But once restrictions were eased and trade events back on, Made in Britain was invited to speak at three sector-specific manufacturing events in just four weeks through the autumn.
During my keynote speeches, I was able to refer to several members and highlight their achievements. These included: Mowbray Leather Goods, Swanline Print, Kemp Sails, Excell Metal Spinning, Heald, UPSO/Carradice, Vauxhall, Heap & Partners, Plunkett Associates, TRT Lighting, RECO surfaces, Furnitubes, Fracino, Durisol, Sure Antennas and Pallite.
The message about Made in Britain growth is reliably strong – provably responsible manufacturers are striving together by rallying around very high business standards and innovative, often awe-inspiring products. It was a pleasure to be invited by the marketing team at Vernacare to learn how they had managed to install new machinery, making a £1.3m investment during the long lockdowns of 2020 and give the Made in Britain CEO a much-needed factory visit ‘fix’.
What we want most of all is for our members to profit from making and selling goods made here. The arrival in May of Ilika Copeland, our chief operations officer, is already improving our capacity as a non-profit organisation to find new and exciting ways for our members to connect with each other and to extend our reach to marketing and trade experts who add insight, knowledge and connectivity to all our members’ businesses, regardless of what they are making or where they are on the journey of sustainable, responsible growth.
The last 12 months have confirmed my long-held belief that the official Made in Britain collective mark makes a real, measurable difference to the perception of British manufacturing sectors and the demand for goods made by local businesses.
There is no doubt that 2022 will be yet another challenging year for raw material cost inflation, shipping and logistics prices, skilled labour shortages and the transitioning to more environmentally positive business models. With the support and togetherness of businesses that believe in transparency as an advantage, I am confident that Made in Britain members in 2022 are better equipped to succeed together and fulfil the growing demand for products made closer to where they are needed – closer to home.