Fastlane turnstiles manufacturing facility in Feltham

Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager, Integrated Design Limited

Challenging economic and political conditions continue to impact UK manufacturing, with Sky News reporting that the sector has shrunk for its 17th month in a row. But there are signs of a revival on the horizon – the government has announced a multi-billion funding package to boost manufacturing in Britain – and we are seeing success stories across industries, with the motor industry celebrating the production of one million cars and vans in UK factories in 2023 and a £24bn boost in investment. And last year, the UK overtook France to become the world’s eighth largest manufacturer, according to trade association, Make UK.

UK production is resilient, and I know why: the opportunity to manage each stage of the process – product design, manufacture, and sales – in the UK delivers the best possible outcomes to customers in terms of quality, flexibility, reliability, and sustainability, and it also makes for a more effective and productive workforce.

Building Resilience

Global supply chains are vulnerable to shock from economic, political and weather-related disturbances; a UK-based, in-house, self-reliant manufacturing process offers some protection against unforeseen global events. A truly integrated process of design and manufacture means there is little reliance on external supply chains, and customers benefit from the resulting certainty and efficiency.

While there may always be some reliance on imported goods for manufacturing, when products – including the smallest components – are sourced locally and assembled in-house, customers benefit from a more reliable supply chain, and as a result, shorter and more consistent lead times.

Product integrity and quality

In the realm of entrance control turnstiles, our area of specialism at Integrated Design Limited – manufacturers of Fastlane turnstiles – reliability is paramount: there is no room for error. It is crucial that customers can trust their products to function effectively from the start and continue to function consistently throughout their lifetime. Maintaining an on-site manufacturing facility is key to achieving maximum control over product quality.  And, done right, this practice can foster close collaboration among design, sales, and manufacturing teams, providing the opportunity for everyone from senior management to the production operatives to work together effectively.

In our fast paced world where technology is evolving rapidly and business needs – and security risks – can change frequently, owning the design and manufacture process in-house can also give businesses more opportunity to adapt their products to ensure they remain at the cutting edge of their field. And, with both designers and manufacturers located in-house, this gives us the opportunity for products to be customised to meet the specific needs of our customers.

British quality for global market

British manufactured products have benefits for international customers too; British goods are renowned for their quality.

While quality is always a major factor in a customer’s choice, whether this outweighs price can vary significantly from territory to territory.  In some markets, North America for example, in our experience price often comes further down the list of priorities than aesthetics, ease of use and return on investment as the contractor sees the benefits of discerning choice when it comes to lower lifetime cost of ownership. This is especially true if a customer has previously experienced inferior products failing in a short time and has had to replace them with an alternative.

In Eastern Europe, however, in our experience we see that the budget available for the initial outlay is often tighter, forcing purchasers to have to consider lower price point options which can sometimes lead them to make compromises in supplier choice.

While products manufactured in the UK can come with a higher price tag in some instances, it is important to take into account all the cost implications and weigh up the initial, versus whole life costs, while considering the impact of elements such as the product’s functionality, the opportunities to remotely update software, along with the robustness of integral technology. Often, the benefits of a product manufactured in the UK by a company committed to quality are evident.

Value-driven teams

As well as guaranteeing complete control of the design and manufacturing process, an integrated in-house approach to manufacturing can create a sense of personal investment in the process for team members; company values tend to flourish when everyone feels a genuine sense of connection to what they are producing.

Sustainable practices

As we seek to transition to a global net zero economy, reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing is critical. Manufacturing products on site offers a route to more sustainable practices, giving businesses more control over the environmental impact of their production processes, while reducing deliveries distances for UK customers.

While the UK manufacturing sector continues to face ongoing challenges –  including labour shortages and rising energy prices and global commodity prices –  the benefits of manufacturing in Britain are clear, and, with the right government support, the sector will remain resilient and adaptable.

Integrated Design Limited is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high quality, user friendly entrance control systems. All of the Fastlane turnstiles, as well as its Door Detective optical anti-tailgating detection units, are designed and built at its UK headquarters in West London. For more information please visit www.fastlane-turnstiles.com