What are the benefits of subcontract manufacturing?

The UK subcontract manufacturing industry continues to post strong performance. In fact, two thirds (69%) of manufacturing and engineering businesses used subcontractors in the past year, with 48% expecting to increase the proportion of work given to UK subcontractors over the next 12 months. There’s no doubt that subcontract manufacturing plays a critical role in the engineering supply chain, supporting everybody from tier one and two manufacturers to the world’s leading OEM’s. Many engineering companies use these organisations to help them improve performance, meet large orders or utilise specialist machinery not easily available. So, what are the benefits of subcontract manufacturing? Why is it so important?

1. A risk-free approach to future capital investment

While the subcontract manufacturing industry continues to grow, there are still some manufacturers out there who prefer to keep their processes in-house. Of course, that is understandable as they want to retain full control over the manufacture of their products. However, it also increases the risk when paying out substantial expenditure for a new system. Is it really what they need? Will it deliver the performance they desire?

By using a subcontract manufacturer first, companies can take a risk-free approach where they’re essentially using the processing equipment before splashing out themselves. It allows them to try the technology before they buy, enabling them to judge whether the subsequent performance or quality of their components are worth the expenditure. In Tantec UK’s case with our subcontract manufacturing arm, Ebble Manufacturing, we even offer our customers free laboratory testing.

2. It’s great for companies looking to scale up

Building on from the previous point, it’s also excellent for smaller companies looking to build out their capability, but for whom the risk of ensuring their return on investment is right is even bigger. Don’t worry, if you’re a smaller business, you can grow using a reliable subcontract manufacturer and, when the time is right, you’ll know what equipment you need to bring the work in-house.

3. Invaluable assistance with large projects

Have you just secured your biggest ever order? Are you lucky enough to have maxed out your order book because customers just love your service? A subcontract manufacturer can help you continue to serve your customers and keep them coming back for more. Furthermore, if they’re industry-specialists, it’ll allow you to build out even better, bespoke solutions for your customers.

4. A no-risk, cost-effective solution

Imagine spending a huge amount of money on capital equipment and it doesn’t actually meet your needs. This could be catastrophic for any business, especially smaller manufacturers. There’s also the prospect of potentially employing more people and investing in their skills to train them to use the kit in the first place. It’s a risky undertaking. However, using a subcontractor can substantially reduce this risk as you’re using experts with the right skill, knowledge and equipment to get the result you’re looking for. Plus, you don’t have to splash out on new equipment as well as hiring and training a workforce to use it.

5. Use their expertise

As we just mentioned, many subcontract manufacturers are experts in their fields, having carried out these services for many years. They know what they’re doing and they know what needs to be done to ensure your components perform to the best possible standards. Use their vast expertise to your advantage, so that they can provide you with a world-class service quickly and effectively.

Furthermore, there may be occasions when you need a subcontractor’s specialist help for a project you’d otherwise be unable to deliver. Their skills, knowledge and expertise could be the difference between delivering the project – and retaining your client – or not.

6. Drive productivity

Let the subcontractor do the work while your staff are able to focus on other key business requirements. As a result, vital jobs can be done much more efficiently and, combined with the expertise of your subcontractor, productivity can be increased.

7. No need to commit long-term

Hiring and training new staff is a huge, long-term commitment. It can also be very costly. Subcontracting gives you the additional resource and expertise you need – without the huge investment. Plus, you can use their services as and when you need to, without signing up to a long, costly contract.

The benefits are clear

It’s clear that subcontractors offer a wealth of value to engineering and manufacturing companies across the United Kingdom – no matter which industry they work in. Here at Tantec UK, our subcontract manufacturing arm – Ebble Manufacturing – is proud to have a diverse portfolio of clients that includes some of the country’s leading manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive and medical devices sectors. You can find out more information about Ebble Manufacturing in our blog here.


If you’re looking for a world-class subcontract provider of surface treatment solutions, contact one of our experts today on 01527 304 004 or info@tantec-uk.com.

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