A sales slump caused by shifting production to eastern Europe the early 2000s has prompted a British trailer maker to bring manufacturing back to the UK.
Boston company Richard Larrington says moving production to Lithuania in 2002 proved to be one of the firm’s biggest mistakes.
“We’d failed to recognise how stubbornly loyal UK farmers are to British manufacturers,” admits Richard Larrington.
“We were seeking to lower our production costs to make ourselves more competitive on price.”
But that decision proved to be misguided.
“Customers might whinge about the cost of new kit, but when you dig down it’s not all about price they are very particular about certain products being built over here.”
Consequently, he has realised that the market demands that he shifts manufacturing back to the UK and has started to reinvest heavily at his Boston factory.
Now, £165,000 later, with a new plasma cutter, new steel press and new overhead gantry covering the whole factory floor, the Larrington plant has managed to cut production time from 300 hours to 200 hours per trailer.
In a shock move for any machinery maker, the firm has reduced its retail prices accordingly, dropping them by 5% across the board, regardless of the increases in steel costs.
“We’re now in a stronger position than ever to compete with the other UK-based trailer makers,” says Mr Larrington.
“Our products will never be the cheapest, but we’ve learnt our lessons: British farmers want quality British-built trailers.