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Think local, act global by guest blogger H T Brigham

Posted on: Jan 13th

“Where did you buy your groceries from this week? Did you visit the independent traders on your local high street, or the one-stop-shop supermarket just down the road? Which you choose will probably come down to several factors including, price, quality, variety, convenience, and not least, whether you even have a local high street anymore.

We are often told about the benefits of sourcing locally for the local economy, the environment and for ourselves. In reality, we probably end up striking a balance between the two, in order to get the variety of goods we need, at the price that we want to pay, whilst still sourcing more specialist items from local suppliers.

In business, I suppose we can say that it’s pretty much the same, with the option of competitively sourcing many products and services on a national and even international scale, but having certain requirements which will always be better satisfied by a local supplier.

This is certainly true for H T Brigham. In fact, even though HTB supplies metal components on a global scale, the emphasis on sourcing locally is probably more prominent than you may expect.

And why not? The benefits of having a localised supply chain can be considerable and with over 70% of HTB’s suppliers based in the West Midlands area, we are taking full advantage of the skill base which is right on our doorstep.?

Why local?

One major benefit for businesses who decide to source locally is undeniably in the area of logistics. At a time when the trend for OEM’s sourcing from the Far East appears to be reversing, it is obvious that there is more on the purchasing wish list than just cost.

In business, time can often be in short supply, making supplier response crucial. The focus on time to market, quick turnarounds and short lead-times is extremely prominent. A local company which will take less time to deliver the goods required, at a lower logistical cost than a company which is further away, may well have the edge.

On top of shorter lead-times and lower delivery costs, our local suppliers can often provide a more responsive service too. Their locality means that they can be more reactive to our changing demands and any urgent requirements which we may have. They are also able to be more flexible with batch sizes and delivery schedules, as well as being able to act responsively to rectify any issues, should they occur.?

In addition, the relationships which form between companies within a close knit supply network can be extremely valuable. With simple chains of communication, personal contact and simply being near by, local suppliers can often work closely with customers, providing a level of support which can make all the difference.

On occasion, there may be reason for some degree of caution needed though. It may be convenient and comfortable to choose a supplier based just down the road or which you have used for forever and a day, but what if that supplier is not competitive on price or quality? We cannot allow our local suppliers to become complacent. Keep them on their toes with regular benchmark exercises.

Local boost

H T Brigham is a founding member of the Made in the Midlands initiative, a business network representing approximately 250 manufacturing SMEs in the Midlands area. The group acts as a platform for firms to source and supply with each other, and collaborate in order to improve their businesses.

H T Brigham is actively practicing this ethos, having recently embarked on a significant expansion programme, to accommodate an increase in workload from the USA.? With work being awarded to Midlands based architects and contractors to complete this expansion, the knock on effect from this increase in revenue from overseas, will filter through to the local economy, with the benefits being kept in the Midlands.

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