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Advanced Manufacturing

Location Decisions - IfM’s Location Decision Research

Report Segment: Location Decisions

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is closely involved in researching management practices of manufacturing firms and working directly with management teams through its Education and Consultancy Services (see below). One of the most important decisions facing management relates to the location of production. In the IfM report “Making the Most of Production”, Gregory et al. contend that UK firms don’t necessarily make location decisions for the right reasons, and may in the longer term damage the performance of the company by too narrow a view of production capability – often failing to make the link “between production and other functions within the company such as innovation or the provision of services” (p.1). Outsourcing production capability therefore has long term implications for the company’s knowledge and asset base.

The report does not advocate that all production should remain in the UK, but it does suggest that companies should look at how production impacts on innovation; differentiation; customisation; and added value services.

“The linkages between production, design and development mean that having them in different locations may weaken the innovation process within the company.”

Norfolk needs to ensure that it is supporting its manufacturing and engineering sector by offering effective upskilling provision – bringing together the innovation focused HEC with the core and specialist skills delivery of the FE sector. Moreover UEA should be encouraged to take a leading role in the sector – providing management and leadership support and developing its HE energy provision to add to the perceived value of the county’s sector skills base.