UK Versus Overseas Suppliers. Is Home Where The Heart Is?

When it comes to sourcing suppliers from the UK or overseas considerations go further than cost savings alone.

At Resolution Interiors, we have experience working with suppliers from home and abroad and the resounding choice always comes down to the priorities and culture of the customers we work with.

A survey from the governments’ Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) highlighted, ‘quality, cost and delivery,’ as the main reasons for pursuing production in the UK. Is home where the heart is? Or shouldn’t it matter where a supplier is sourced, as long as there is an understanding of the final delivery?

Bringing together a group discussion involving Amelia Whitcombe (Operations Director), Dale Robson (Project Manager), Matt Hext (Technical Designer), Martin Worley (Commercial Manager), and one of our UK suppliers, we wanted to highlight our take on the home versus overseas supplier debate.

Setting The Scene

“From my perspective, overseas has meant better,” commented Dale, who has experience visiting and building relationships with Chinese manufacturers.

“This is based on quality, delivery and packaging. The crux of any successful project is when there is still the ability to provide input and not necessarily entrusting the whole process to one other company.”

“Relationships have to be nurtured, otherwise putting faith in another business where there is limited communication can become a huge failing.”

The old belief that if you source overseas you are immediately saving costs is becoming more of a misnomer, according to Amelia. “There maybe occasions when quality of product is better, but this is only confirmed when visiting suppliers. However, over time a great looking product may result in increasing costs when a more accessible source could have been allocated a lot closer.”

From speaking to one of our UK suppliers, the ‘made in the UK’ stamp is becoming ever more apparent. You will always get good and bad suppliers no matter where you are in the world. The UK companies who succeed are those who can provide better value when it comes to manufacturing, transportation and environmental conditions.

Speed Of Delivery

As expectations continually increase from consumers and customers, speed becomes an ever more valuable commodity.

“To get a job delivered on time, speed is critical.” Highlighted Martin. “When you are at the whim of four weeks on water for transportation, there is not a lot you can do.”

“When sourced from the UK, you can provide flexibility, from simple things such as altering a delivery address to reducing storage requirements.”

“Managing the UK experience can be more comfortable in terms of monitoring and everyone understanding the requirements.” Martin concluded.

Isn’t The Procurement Process Still Cost Led?

“Cost effectiveness is key to everything, especially for customers, and when looking to win new business via the tendering process.” Martin mentioned.

“However, a company’s responsibility and ethical sourcing is now becoming an ever more critical function of a business,” Amelia suggested.

“One of our clients has over 500 supplier/factory ethical assessments conducted during the year. “

It can be said that if you have an ethical approach, you can show full routes to sourcing and production. After all business operations and conduct can have a considerable impact on the brand, and its value.

Relationships Are Key

The alliances we form with others are key, claimed Matt. “When this element becomes a focal part of the relationship, we start to see elements such as added value. A project becomes more of a conversation and looking at where better solutions can be delivered.”

“Once you build momentum, the whole working process becomes so much more manageable. For instance, after you have focused on the first and second retail project, it can become easier and more efficient as people become familiar with each other and their way of working.”

How We See The Whole Supplier Picture

The Resolution Interiors split is around 80% sourced from the UK and 20% overseas.

Whether home or abroad, everything comes down to the priorities of a customer and what they believe in. If a project can provide the best value overseas and lead times are fully appreciated, then there is opportunity throughout the globe.

The considerable factors today, are so much broader than cost alone. What a customer requires is a solution to a unique problem. That is what Resolution Interiors provide and stand by from a wealth of resources both home and abroad.


As changing expectations provide a host of alternatives and discussion, when it comes to your next project and someone to have a chat with, get in touch.

Call 01935 422700 or email Mike [email protected]

Photography by Stuart Caie,

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