It is true that Britain is going through a period of economic austerity and that the days of being an industry led country are fading fast.
Once a magnet for manufacturing, the UK has fallen victim to the trend of using cheaper overseas labour for production. UK charity card printers seem to be the latest victims to this increasing and often detrimental way of trading.
However, the Charities Advisory Trust are standing their ground by refusing to ever source printing outside of the UK. The Trust have used two specific UK based printers now for years and are more than satisfied. Dame Hilary Blume, Director of the CAT explained “I am committed to printing Christmas cards in the UK because I do not believe in exporting jobs if you can do the work over here”. Whilst her commitment is admirable, many printing businesses are not of the same opinion.
Printing in the UK is better for the UK.
It is somewhat understandable that printing firms in the UK are choosing to source their printing from the far east, using countries such as China, because it is a far more profitable solution for them. However, the long term effects are not so good for the UK. The steady decline of manufacturing in the UK is partly the cause for our own economic downturn. Constantly sourcing labour from overseas causes a never ending increase to the unemployment rate in the UK, which then has a detrimental effect on the economy costing millions of pounds. By keeping our printing within the UK we can provide employment and help the UK to stand strong again.
As well as the economic aspect of overseas sourcing, there are also other reasons for keeping card printing within the UK. There is a huge human rights issue in sourcing cheap labour from countries that have a far lower minimum wage and poor working conditions, not to mention the environmental impact it has. Container ships travelling thousands of miles back and forth across oceans cause a large amount of damage to the environment and do nothing for a countries carbon footprint.
Is overseas sourcing sustainable?
The truth of the matter is that even China are beginning to increase their minimum wage rate as well as material costs, making it just as expensive to source card printing from here as it would be keeping it in the UK. Sure, businesses can move their card printing to other countries with cheap labour rates but eventually the world will catch up.
Is there a way of lowering material costs in the UK? Commercial Manager for PJ Print, Mark Oram has explained, “By making yourself more cost effective, you can pass on savings to customers.” What Mark is saying is that by investing in your business, you could very easily lower costs and make your business more profitable. There is now advanced printing, folding and cutting equipment on the market that is expensive for the outlay, but will more than pay for itself in lowering your cost.
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