UK Manufacturing Unite (#UkMfgUnite) has been launched in response to the national effort to produce more critical components and essential equipment at home and is the first step in the sector’s fightback against the damaging effects of Covid-19.

Created and run by manufacturers for manufacturers, the movement is urging more firms to come together to collaborate, share practice and find practical solutions for developing domestic supply chains.

Over 35 companies - ranging from AW Precision, Brandauer, Bruderer UK and Composite Integration to ENL, Fife Fabrications and Photofab - have already signed up to the online platform that will act as a central place for sourcing supply solutions or getting answers to issues businesses are facing.

“We wanted an idea that would bring the manufacturing community together by simply asking, ‘what do you need help with and are you in a position to help others?’ Why? Because as a nation, we need something to happen, right now,” commented Garry Myatt, Collaboration Director at #UkMfgUnite.

“Covid-19 has underlined the need for engineers to pull together, to innovate as allies and to build our networks closer to home so we can mitigate supply chain risk. Ultimately, what we need are collaborating engineers - ‘sharing networks, disciplines and advice’.”

He continued: “Collaborationeers, if you like, are a new breed of manufacturer evolving day by day to tackle the critical challenge of helping to care for a nation, to build economic stability, to increase UK productivity, encourage reshoring and ultimately lay down a foundation for future generations to come.”

The website (https://ukmfgunite.co.uk/) is now live and will be the focal point of the initiative, offering an online directory where companies can find suppliers, opportunities and answers to manufacturing concerns.

Each company will have a listing and a description of what they do, with the opportunity to post thought leadership articles and best practice blogs, not to mention provoking conversation with an interactive forum.

There will also be a section for videos showcasing collaborations, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and new technologies being developed in the UK.

“With any new initiative, it’s great to get off to a positive start with a few ‘wins’,” added Garry.

“We got this immediately when a request was tabled for a UK manufacturer of cable looms in high volumes to support the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium. PP Control & Automation successfully tendered and is now in the process of manufacturing 50,000 units in just four weeks.

“This was quickly followed by two members working together to source and manufacture vital PPE, whilst another six enquiries have been logged this week alone.”

#UkMfgUnite is looking to get to 100 members by the end of June. It is open primarily to all manufacturers regardless of size, sector or specialism and there is an additional option for associate supporters to join who are passionate about the future of UK manufacturing.

The concept, which is not-for-profit, is hoping to play a central role in bringing work back to this country and building supply chain capability so that we avoid some of the issues seen during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.