Boomerang Economy
Why British offshored manufacturers are returning home & how to maximise this trend

By David Merlin-Jones
September 2012
Distributed By Coronet Books
ISBN: 9781906837419
185 pages, Illustrated
$19.95 Paper Original

Over the last decade, the offshoring of UK industry has been well publicised. Now we are beginning to see a new trend: onshoring - the return of British manufacturers from overseas. In The Boomerang Economy, David Merlin-Jones examines the reasons why this is happening and how the UK government can encourage it. The emigration of industry to foreign locations, and most notably China, was driven by the desire to drive down production costs. Through offshoring and outsourcing, this led to a real erosion of the capabilities of British manufacturing. However, a range of factors now make offshoring significantly less desirable, from double-digit wage growth to tripled shipping costs and from intellectual property infringement to low productivity.

While offshorers could move production to other emerging economies, many are finding onshoring to Britain to be better for businesss. It also brings clear benefits for the overall economy, from increased employment and import substitution to higher export volumes and supply chain enhancement. Onshoring has already been championed in the US, and its success there is steady, although it also reveals the obstacles that must be overcome fully to unlock its latent potential. The manufacturers that have either maintained or reverted to UK production have adapted their practices to compete with the lower labour costs of their rivals. They have moved into niche markets, introduced services, focused on high quality goods and adopted the most advanced production methods. With government assistance more manufacturers could make the shift, granting British industry a new lease of life.

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