Record Power join the Made in Britain organisation

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Bojam

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Cool (I think?)! But what does it actually mean? Shifting all their far eastern manufacturing back to the UK? Anyone know more details?
 

marcros

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Cool (I think?)! But what does it actually mean? Shifting all their far eastern manufacturing back to the UK? Anyone know more details?

possibly me being cynical, but I wonder if this is for any more reason than that the cost of Chinese manufacture and QC checking has increased substantially in the last few years and the importing and logistics hassles are currently significant. UK manufacture for the UK market may now be the low cost option.
 

Bojam

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A question for anyone with a manufacturing background. How easy/difficult is it to reskill and retool for manufacturing once processes and product lines have been outsourced? I don't know how long it's been since RP manufactured their machinery in the UK but if they do intend to bring it all back in house what will it actually entail? Do you think we might see a high quality and competitive tool/machinery manufacturing sector in the UK in future? Or is the cost of labour and other overheads too much relative to the Far East and elsewhere? Can we learn lessons from Germany (and perhaps some other central European states) where a successful manufacturing base has been maintained despite globalisation and the general shift eastwards?
 

Bojam

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possibly me being cynical, but I wonder if this is for any more reason than that the cost of Chinese manufacture and QC checking has increased substantially in the last few years and the importing and logistics hassles are currently significant. UK manufacture for the UK market may now be the low cost option.

Yeah could be. But these increased costs notwithstanding, I wonder how viable this is in practice? I have no real sense of the costs of reestablishing production lines in the UK.
 

Bojam

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From the Made in Britain website, concerning eligibility:

Minimum requirements for physical manufacturers
To be eligible for membership you must be a manufacturer making physical goods (excluding digital products and software) where raw materials/components have undergone a substantial and transformative change as a result of your manufacturing processes in Great Britain. One hundred per cent of labour/human resource that makes the finished product carrying the mark, is in Britain.

I'm not entirely clear from this what is / is not eligible. The last sentence read alone seems to imply that the entire process of production must be carried out by workers based exclusively in the UK. But then the paragraph above implies that components can be brought in from elsewhere as long as they undergo "substantial and transformative change". So could we be talking about the assemply and QC of machines/tools in the UK using component parts manufactured outside the UK?
 

marcros

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Yeah could be. But these increased costs notwithstanding, I wonder how viable this is in practice? I have no real sense of the costs of reestablishing production lines in the UK.

It haven't watched the video, but there is a wealth of experience and capacity within the UK so a company could easily issue specs and drawings to subcontract and have components or assemblies made over here. If they plan to manufacture in house then it is slightly different and more difficult to re-establish.
 

Droogs

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@Bojam Doubt it as the parts would just be bolted/welded/soldered to a sub-assembly and put out as a finished product. The actual part has not been changed. A T shaped cast iron casting delivered and then machined to have dado mounts etc to be put on the assembly would qualify as size and shape would be different. Same as log arrives, gets split, you buy turn into a credenza. Tada made in Britain.
 

Bojam

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It haven't watched the video, but there is a wealth of experience and capacity within the UK so a company could easily issue specs and drawings to subcontract and have components or assemblies made over here. If they plan to manufacture in house then it is slightly different and more difficult to re-establish.

The video doesn't say anything about what they intend to do. Interesting to hear that you think there still exists the manufacturing base in the UK to easily take on the production of these sort of machines. Can they really compete pricewise with manufacturing in the Far East?
 

Droogs

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Standards of living and wage expectations have risen so much in PRC that their economic forecasts have been nearly halved. A large number of western Corps are already building new factories in Vietnam/Cambodia.

article here
 

LJM

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The video doesn't say anything about what they intend to do. Interesting to hear that you think there still exists the manufacturing base in the UK to easily take on the production of these sort of machines. Can they really compete pricewise with manufacturing in the Far East?

perhaps it marks an intention to aim higher in the market
 

Bojam

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Standards of living and wage expectations have risen so much in PRC that their economic forecasts have been nearly halved. A large number of western Corps are already building new factories in Vietnam/Cambodia.

Sure. But the fact that these Corps are relocating factories to other Far Eastern countries suggests that the incentives to reestablish significant production operations back in the West are not that strong (yet at least).
 

Droogs

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Perhaps Record still have the kit in a warehouse and its easier to bring it back on line. My main point was that manufacturing is moving westward on the whole, even relocation to India - highly educated but dirt poor population with no real workers rights, perfect for exploitation
 

Bojam

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perhaps it marks an intention to aim higher in the market

Could be. But Record Power's range is not high end. Don't get me wrong, I know that they have a history of making decent equipment. But can they continue to sell their existing range of machines at equivalent prices if manufacturing is relocated to the UK? If, say, their PT-107 planer machine suddenly cost substantially more, would people still buy or choose say a JET or even a Hammer machine?
 

Bojam

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Perhaps Record still have the kit in a warehouse and its easier to bring it back on line. My main point was that manufacturing is moving westward on the whole, even relocation to India - highly educated but dirt poor population with no real workers rights, perfect for exploitation

Westwards maybe but not back to the "West" yet it seems (on the whole). SouthEast Asia, South Asia, maybe Africa is next if some states can provide a stable enough investment environment.

It would be really interesting to hear from a RP rep about what they plan to do. I think it's great if a significant and successful manufacturing base can be reestablished in the UK. TBH though, I thought that this was a long time away from realisation. Capital will always seek to maximise profits and this tends (in an era of globalisation) to lead to a race to the bottom and the exploitation of labour in places where wages and labour standards are lowest.
 

LJM

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Could be. But Record Power's range is not high end. Don't get me wrong, I know that they have a history of making decent equipment. But can they continue to sell their existing range of machines at equivalent prices if manufacturing is relocated to the UK? If, say, their PT-107 planer machine suddenly cost substantially more, would people still buy or choose say a JET or even a Hammer machine?

Well, prices of tools and machinery do seem to have been climbing, across the board. But, I wouldn’t imagine a company trying to move up-market would involve the product remaining the same; if it is Record Power’s intention to move up market, be that across the board or through a wider product range, I would assume it would mean clearly improved products to differentiate from Far Eastern manufactured alternatives.
 

Ollie78

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That's funny, the air filter I got from them is definitely made in China and sold under about 5 names in different colours.

Ollie
 

Bojam

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Well, prices of tools and machinery do seem to have been climbing, across the board. But, I wouldn’t imagine a company trying to move up-market would involve the product remaining the same; if it is Record Power’s intention to move up market, be that across the board or through a wider product range, I would assume it would mean clearly improved products to differentiate from Far Eastern manufactured alternatives.

Yes and this takes us back to the original question of can their existing product line be manufactured in the UK today with prices remaining the same/similar to what they have been? Or do they actually need to change their range to make improved products that differentiate them and would command a higher price? Assuming it is the latter then this seems like a potentially risky strategy because it would bring them into competition with other manufacturers who produce higher end machines and are well established in this particular market segment. Maybe it is possible though, I don't know.
 

Bojam

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That's funny, the air filter I got from them is definitely made in China and sold under about 5 names in different colours.

Ollie

Exactly. Same with some (maybe all?) of their other machinery which bears remarkable similarity to other branded machines, presumably coming out of the same factories. Sure, there may be some relatively minor differences in technical spec and maybe the QC processes are different but these are to all intents and purposes the same machines. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Not really, if the manufacturing standards are good. But, again, I wonder whether RP can realistically take back the production of these lines of machines in house and remain competitive when the same machines made in the East and branded in different colours remain on the market?
 
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