How has COVID-19 affected the Manufacturing Industry in 2020?

By Luke Smoothy | 22/02/2022


We can all agree 2020 has been a turbulent year. In this article, we will discover the impact of COVID-19 on the UK manufacturing industry. We've analysed data collected to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the manufacturing industry here in the UK. Whilst our findings may not be indicative of the entire UK industry, Get It Made's presence as one of the UK's leading Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) providers should provide some indication of the trends and impacts felt by the manufacturing industry in the UK more widely.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the Manufacturing Sector in the UK?

In short, 2020 has been a varied year for the manufacturing industry, with peaks and troughs dominated by external events. Looking at a timeline of key events in 2020, it's easy to see why this is the case. The graphs below show how enquiries and orders have varied at Get It Made during 2020.

Manufacturing Enquiries 2020 coronavirus COVID-19
Manufacturing Enquiries: Trend in 2020
Manufacturing Orders 2020 coronavirus COVID-19
Manufacturing Orders: Trend in 2020

Let's delve deeper into some of the key events of the year and the impact these have had on the manufacturing sector.

Reshoring: Coronavirus outbreak in China

With the vast amount of the world's manufacturing taking place in China, the initial coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China affected companies across the globe. As China is a large country, strict efforts to contain the virus allowed certain regions to be relatively unaffected whilst other regions shut down completely.

Looking at the timeline, we can see an initial increase in UK manufacturing around January and February 2020, peaking around March, as British companies attempted to mitigate supply chain risks by reshoring their manufacturing back to the UK.

Lockdown: COVID-19 cases in the UK

But as we know, COVID-19 became a global pandemic, and on the 23rd March, the UK entered its first nationwide lockdown. Whilst manufacturing and construction industries were allowed to continue, the number of designers and engineers placing orders for manufactured parts dropped throughout April, May and June. As businesses closed, employees were staying at home, and expenditure fell.

How has the manufacturing industry reacted to COVID-19?

From our research and experience, the vast majority of UK manufacturers have remained open throughout the pandemic and have not needed to furlough their employees. Whilst high tech production businesses have been quieter in 2020, many have looked to find inventive ways to use their additional capacity.

Repurposing: Ventilators and PPE

With an estimated lack of ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the UK, manufacturers looked to repurpose and use their extra capacity to produce parts they might not have otherwise have made. From ventilator parts to 3D printed face shields, UK manufacturers have used their knowledge and expertise to join the nationwide effort to try and defeat COVID-19.

manufacturing worker

How has COVID-19 affected supply chains and deliveries?

At Get It Made, we use air freight when delivering projects from international partner factories; this allows us to deliver low-cost manufactured parts in record time. Due to high volumes of PPE being shipped to the UK from abroad, there have been minor delays to international air freight due to the pandemic. With delivery times increasing from 2-3 days to 4-5 days and weight limits imposed on businesses to ensure sufficient capacity, supply chains have been strained but fortunately not compromised throughout 2020.

With careful planning and additional buffers built into production lead times, Get It Made has ensured that our client's projects have been delivered on time.

Arrange a quote

Are you looking to kickstart your manufacturing project in 2021? Or alternatively, you are looking for a better supplier. Discover how Get It Made can help your project by arranging a quote today. Our knowledgeable team of engineers will provide free Design for Manufacture advice and can answer any technical questions you may have.

Luke Smoothy

Director and Founder of Get It Made Ltd.

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