Interflex’s Managing Director Jim Griffin was one of a prestigious group of industry experts speaking at the annual Subcon supply chain event, which took place at the NEC in Birmingham in June.

In addition to hosting over 200 exhibitors for an audience of procurement teams and suppliers, the two-day Subcon event included an extensive seminar programme covering a range of key topics relevant to manufacturing and the supply chain.

The costs and benefits of onshoring

Speaking on the first day of Subcon, Jim’s presentation ‘Bringing Home the Supply Chain’ focused on the logistics of onshoring, sharing Interflex’s experience of the process, highlighting the benefits of onshoring, as well some of the obstacles that had been encountered along the way.

Jim explained to the audience how onshoring is becoming an increasingly popular strategy in a global economy that has seen several years of turbulence – from Covid to the war in Ukraine – as well as the global semiconductor shortage that has hit many automotive manufacturers hard over the last 18 months. Jim explained that onshoring can work well for the many SMEs that are so important to the British economy, as well as for larger national and multinational companies, many of whom have had to re-evaluate their supply chains in the light of economic challenges.

Supporting British industry

Drawing on 36 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily in the automotive sector, Jim explained how many businesses are turning to UK-based suppliers as a way of increasing efficiency in the supply chain, as well as being more sustainable. He also stated that as a member company of Made In Britain, he believes in supporting UK businesses by having as high a level of UK produced content in Interflex products as possible. As a result, the management team at Interflex has been working towards moving the supply chain as close to their Nottinghamshire base as possible – ideally within the UK, and where that is not viable, as close as they can within Europe.

Laying the foundations for onshoring

Jim shared how Interflex had started the onshoring process by looking at historical data for their suppliers with a focus on quality, delivery performance and price. Having picked out the worst performing suppliers, the management team at Interflex then identified the key areas of moulded components and sound absorption materials as the products to focus on. A long exercise in costing out these products for local manufacture was carried out, and as a result, the company decided to invest in facilities to produce compression moulded components on site, sourcing sound absorption materials from two UK suppliers. By September, Jim explained that approximately £1million worth of purchases will have been moved to the UK, representing almost one quarter of the company’s annual purchases.

The current state of play

The war in Ukraine has impacted the onshoring process, but at the time of Jim’s presentation, Inteflex had moved sourcing from two European companies to UK suppliers. Although this is yet to give the cost savings originally expected, it has negated price increases that occurred as a result of the war in Ukraine. The compression moulding work will soon be completed, and this change has already enabled Interflex to win new work and increase sales.

Jim outlined the many benefits of onshoring to the audience, which include greater efficiency within the supply chain, and improved cashflow due to lower stock holding, lower prices and better credit terms. Jim also explained that he finds communication simpler with UK-based manufacturers, with companies being easier to contact and visit in person if required.

Jim concluded by telling delegates that to really reap the rewards of  onshoring, it is important to be mindful of the fact that it is a long-term solution not a quick fix, taking time to set up and yield results.

How Interflex can help

Interflex supply a wide range of NVH and insulation solutions for the automotive industry, marine and railway.  The company focuses on the development and use of lightweight materials and sustainable, cost-effective options with a commitment to using many British-sourced materials within their supply chain. To find out more, please call us on 01949 861 494, or email us at