One of the major vehicles that drive the economy of any nation is the manufacturing industry. The United Kingdom and of course, all the countries that are considered to be industrialized, advanced, and economically buoyant are countries with vibrant manufacturing sectors.
The manufacturing industry is wide and all-encompassing because manufacturing is all about producing goods, equipment, chemicals, machines, et al.
Almost all industries in the world rely on the manufacturing industry to effectively function. For example, the medical and health industry depends on the manufacturing industry to manufacture the equipment, tools, and supplies they need to function.
So, if you are considering going into the manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom, you won’t get it wrong because the United Kingdom ranks as the sixth-most business-friendly country in the world in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report.
As of 2020, the United Kingdom had an overall Ease of Doing Business score of 83.5, and scored highest in the getting electricity category, with the lowest score being in enforcing contracts.
Aside from the ease of doing business, the UK has a mature, high-spending consumer market and a liberal economy, world-class talent, and a business-friendly regulatory environment. Their language, legal system, funding environment, time zone, and lack of red tape help make the UK one of the easiest markets to set up and grow a business.
Small Manufacturing Businesses You Can Start in the UK
Wooden Doors Manufacturing
No building is complete without doors; doors are an essential component of a building. If you are looking towards starting a small manufacturing business in the United Kingdom and you have not made up your mind on the product to produce, then you should consider going into wooden doors manufacturing. There is a huge market for security doors and the business is very profitable in the United Kingdom.
Aluminum Products Manufacturing
Several products like windows, doors, roofs, window frames, pans, et al can be produced with aluminum. If you are looking for a thriving small manufacturing business to start in the United Kingdom, you can consider going into aluminum products manufacturing. It is a highly profitable business.
Furniture is another essential property that are needed in offices, homes, schools, and virtually any building facility. Chairs, tables, cupboards, beds, cabins, shelves, wardrobes, et al are highly marketable.
If you are looking towards starting a thriving small manufacturing business in the United Kingdom whose products cuts across both the rich and poor, then you should consider starting a furniture small manufacturing business.
Building Blocks and Bricks Factory
Another profitable small manufacturing business you should consider starting in the United Kingdom is a building block and bricks production factory.
There is a very large market for different types of building blocks and bricks. Just like with most small manufacturing businesses, setting up a building blocks and bricks manufacturing company is within the reach of any serious entrepreneur.
Paint Manufacturing Business
Going into the manufacturing of paint is yet another thriving small manufacturing business that can be started in the United Kingdom.
Operators in the paint manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom produce various paints, timber finishes, and other surface coating products to decorate and protect surfaces against wear, weather, and corrosion. Key products include paints, varnishes, lacquers, stains, wood fillers, paint thinners, and removers.
Jewelry (Beads) Production
Jewelry (beads) production is yet another thriving small manufacturing business that an entrepreneur can start in the United Kingdom. There are rooms to start this type of business on a small, medium or large scale. You can as well choose the kind of jewelry you want to manufacture.
The fact remains that there is a large market for jewelry because it is a beauty staple of women. If you want to start a jewelry production company, you must not focus on pure gold or silver; you can produce jewelry made from beads, plastic, copper wire, gold plating et al.
Air Freshener Production
Air freshener is yet another product that can be mass-produced. If you are considering starting your own low-budget yet thriving business in the United Kingdom, then air freshener production might be what you need. With little start-up capital, you can successfully set up your own air freshener production company in the United Kingdom.
Manufacturing of Pesticides
Another thriving small manufacturing business that an entrepreneur can start in the United Kingdom is the manufacturing of pesticides.
Operators in the pesticide manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom manufacture household and agricultural pest control chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, insect repellents, sheep dips, fly sprays, and flea powders. It is a thriving business, especially around rural and farming communities.
Manufacturing of Buttons for Clothes
As small as buttons are, one can become a millionaire by only producing buttons in different shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. There is a large market for buttons because clothes will always have buttons.
So, if you are considering starting a thriving business in the manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom, then you should consider setting up a button production company. Part of what you need to do to grow this business is to network with clothing manufacturing companies.
Manufacturing of Blind and Shade
Another thriving small manufacturing business that investors should consider starting in the United Kingdom is the manufacturing of blinds and shades. Operators in the industry in the United Kingdom fabricate window coverings, including Venetian and other window blinds; shades; curtain and drapery rods and poles; and other related fixtures.
The Adhesive Manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom manufactures adhesives, glues and caulking compounds, rubber cement, epoxy, mucilage adhesives, pipe-sealing compounds, plumbers’ putty, dextrin and starch glues, adhesives, except asphalt, dental, and gypsum base.
Adhesives are materials that are initially fluid or semifluid, but solidify when placed between two opposing solid materials. They bond to the surfaces to which they are applied and prevent joint movement.
Men & Boys’ Apparel Manufacturing
Men & Boys’ Apparel Manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom manufactures underwear and nightwear, suits, coats and overcoats, shirts and sweaters, pants, trousers, slacks, and jeans, swim apparel, athletic apparel et al. for the masculine gender.
The Men’s and Boys’ Apparel Manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom has been characterized by offshoring, import competition, and a significant shift toward the production of high-end products. This industry has a bright future and the anticipated appreciation of the Pounds is expected to drive down industry product sales abroad, as these goods will become less affordable for foreign consumers.
Manufacturing of Candles
Another thriving small manufacturing business that an entrepreneur can start in the United Kingdom is the manufacturing of candles. Note that the faster you can make quality candles, the easier you can grow your business to success.
If you can make quality candles that entice customers, then it is only a matter of devising a means to attract them. Also, note that the biggest setback with homemade candles is the labor-intensive process to make each candle. A good number of homemade candle businesses will involve you doing most of the work.
14. Sweater and Cardigan Knitting Business
One good thing about starting a sweater and cardigan knitting business is that entrepreneurs can start their own label from their homes on a small scale and service a customized market like schools in the neighborhood.
The bottom line is that there is always a ready market for manufacturers of sweaters and cardigans. All a designer needs to do is to ensure that he or she carves a niche for his business and work hard to build their brand name to be accepted beyond his or her city of operation.
Manufacturing of Chemical Product
Chemical product manufacturing involves manufacturing different kinds of chemical products including; toners, toner cartridges, photographic chemicals, sensitized photographic film, paper, and plates. This is indeed a thriving line of business and the industry will likely benefit from improved demand from the construction and manufacturing markets.
Manufacturing of Cosmetic & Beauty Product
Another small manufacturing business that you can start in the United Kingdom is the manufacturing of cosmetics and beauty products. Cosmetics and beauty product companies prepare, blend, compound, and package beauty products and cosmetics.
The Cosmetic and Beauty Product Manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom has experienced growth over much of the five years to 2022 by manufacturing widely accepted personal care products, such as shampoo and lotions.
Manufacturing of Fertilizer
Organic and non–organic fertilizers are needed in the agriculture sector; there is a large market for this type of business. Fertilizer manufacturing companies primarily manufacture fertilizer products.
These products contain a mixture of the three vital nutrients essential for plant growth which include nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The products are distributed via wholesale arrangements with third parties or, in the case of vertically integrated operations, by the manufacturer.
Egg Trays Manufacturing Business
Another small manufacturing business that you should consider starting in the United Kingdom is the production of egg trays.
Egg trays are mainly used for transportation and storage. They are built in such a way that they can be stacked, which facilitates bulk transportation. Such trays are mainly used by poultry farmers or wholesalers to transport eggs in bulk for retailers.
Manufacturing of Fish Tackles
Fish tackles manufacturing business is yet another small manufacturing business that can be started in the United Kingdom. Fishing tackle is the equipment used by anglers when fishing. Almost any equipment or gear used for fishing can be called fishing tackle.
Some examples are hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, baits, lures, spears, nets, gaffs, traps, waders, and tackle boxes.
Gear that is attached to the end of a fishing line is called terminal tackle. This includes hooks, leaders, swivels, sinkers, floats, split rings and wire, snaps, beads, spoons, blades, spinners, and clevises to attach spinner blades to fishing lures.
Manufacturing of Paper and Notebooks
Although the campaign for preserving trees is gaining prominence and people are encouraged to reduce the number of papers they use especially if they have options, but the fact remains that there is a very large market for the paper industry.
The market cuts across all sectors because people need papers in schools, offices and everywhere business is conducted. So, if you live in the United Kingdom where you can easily get permits to fall trees, then you should consider starting a paper and notebook manufacturing business.
Start Customized Paper Bag Manufacturing Business
Another highly thriving small manufacturing business one can start in the United Kingdom is a customized paper bag production business; it could be a small cottage company.
Paper bag is one commodity that is used mostly in the retailing industry for packaging groceries. This goes to show that there is indeed a very large market for paper bags in our world; hence loads of investors are pitching their tent in the paper bag manufacturing industry.
Production of Fishing Hooks
A fish hook or fishhook is a tool for catching fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish. Fish hooks have been employed for centuries by anglers to catch fresh and saltwater fish.
In 2005, the fish hook was chosen by Forbes as one of the top twenty tools in human history. Fish hooks are normally attached to some form of line or lure which connects the caught fish to the angler. There is an enormous variety of fish hooks in the world of fishing.
Fish hooks are designed to hold various types of artificial, processed, dead, or live baits; to act as the foundation for artificial representations of fish prey, or to be attached to or integrated into other devices that represent fish prey.
Manufacturing of Corrugated Cardboard Boxes, Cartons, and Cases
Manufacturing corrugated cardboard boxes, cartons, and cases are yet another small manufacturing business that an aspiring entrepreneur can start in the United Kingdom. There is indeed a large market for corrugated cardboard boxes, cartons, and cases because they are environmentally friendly.
Start the Production of Customized Greeting Cards
People love customized cards. They love the warmth that exudes from the messages that are conveyed by the cards. If you think you have the knack for designing and graphics, starting your own customized greeting card business could be a great way to help augment your income or start a full-time business.
Manufacturing of Plastic Bottles
The food and drinks industry as well as the chemical industry require plastic bottles to package their products. If you are able to locate food and drinks processing companies in your area and also chemical manufacturing factories, it means that you have a market for your plastic bottles. It is a small manufacturing business that you should consider starting in the United Kingdom.
26. Latex Glove Manufacturing
Another small manufacturing business that can be started in the United Kingdom is the manufacturing of latex gloves. Latex gloves are a type of surgical gloves used during medical examinations to help prevent cross-contamination between caregivers and patients.
Surgical gloves are made of different polymers including latex, nitrile rubber, polyvinyl chloride, and neoprene; they come un-powdered or powdered with cornstarch to lubricate the gloves, making them easier to put on the hands.
27. Manufacturing of Non-Woven Bags
Non-woven bags are bags that are manufactured using any material that is not woven. The bags can be produced mechanically, chemically, or thermally. Non-woven fabric is also made from fiber. However, the fiber is entangled together through whatever process is applied to them, as opposed to being woven together.
Non-woven bags are made with the aid of wet–laying non – woven technology and this technology is fast gaining ground in recent times. Some of the most common products that use wet laying non-woven technology include; Tea bag paper, Face cloths, Shingling, and Synthetic fiber paper.
Nails, Nuts and Bolts Manufacturing
Nails, nuts, and bolts are used in the construction and engineering industry. If you have the technical skills or the required start-up capital, you can start this type of business on a small scale and supply the cottage industry within your location.
At the same time, you can start this type of business on a large scale i.e., mass-producing nails, nuts, and bolts. Large-scale manufacturing will help you to access international markets.
29. Manufacturing of Metal Can and Container
Metal can Manufacturing companies manufacture light metal cans made of aluminum or steel that are used as beverage and food containers.
It also manufactures light metal shipping containers including barrels, drums, and pails. The Metal Can Manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom is expected to grow over the five years to 2022, as consumer spending and the appreciation of the pounds offset each other.
Hand Tools Manufacturing
If you are technically inclined, one of the small manufacturing businesses that you should consider starting in the United Kingdom is hand tools manufacturing.
There is a large market for tools such as hammers, tin cutters, pliers, screwdrivers, shaping tools, scissors, punchers, chisels, manual–hand saw, string trimmer, edging shears, turfing iron, half-moon cutter, and besom et al. Just ensure that you conduct a thorough market survey and feasibility studies before launching the business. It is indeed a profitable business venture.
Start the Production of Paper Straws
A paper straw production business is yet another small manufacturing business that an aspiring entrepreneur can start in the United Kingdom.
In this era when people are going green, paper straw is rapidly gaining popularity and if you want to leverage on the trend, then you can make good money from going into the production of paper straws. There is indeed a growing market for paper straws as against rubber-based straws.
32. Shoes and Belt Manufacturing
Shoes and belts have a huge market in the United Kingdom and overseas. You can choose to mass-produce foot wares that will attract customers from within the country and abroad. Just ensure that you conduct proper market surveys and feasibility studies before choosing a niche.
Picture Frame Manufacturing
Another simple yet thriving small manufacturing business you can start in the United Kingdom is picture frame production. There is a large market for picture frames all over the world. You can go into the production of different shapes and sizes of photo frames; it is indeed a profitable business that requires low start-up capital.
The competition in the industry is moderate and there is no monopoly in the industry; every photo frame manufacturer can favorably compete in the industry as long as they produce quality photo frames.
Soap and Detergent Manufacturing Business
The manufacturing of soaps and detergents is yet another small business that can be started in the United Kingdom. Soap and detergent manufacturing companies are involved in the manufacturing of laundry soap, transparent soap, translucent soap, toilet soap, medicated soap, industrial soap, soap flakes, soap powder, and synthetic products.
Synthetic products include household and industrial detergents used for clothes washing, dish washing, body and hair washing, and hard
Hand Sanitizer Manufacturing Business
If there is any product that is in high demand in pharmacies and supermarkets since the advent of the coronavirus, then it must be the hand sanitizer. The fact that alcohol-based liquid hand sanitizer is one of the antidotes to coronavirus or any virus, bacteria, and germs means that it is a product that is bound to sell well.
If you can produce different types of hand sanitizers that have been tested and proven to meet the requirement for such products, then you should consider launching your own hand sanitizer production company.
Tips for Starting and Running a Manufacturing Business in UK
Choose a Good Location
When starting your manufacturing business, you might want to consider settling for cheap facilities. However, you need to realize that running a successful manufacturing business requires adequate support infrastructure, and the exact location you choose will genuinely influence that.
Do you have access to good transport links to ensure your product gets to your customers? Will your location of choice affect the time it takes for your raw materials to reach you? Can you find people with the necessary skills you need for your manufacturing business in the area?
Is it possible to get tax breaks from the government or local authority for setting up in a particular location? Note that all these questions will need answers and will surely influence the success and profitability of your business.
Know Your Product(s)
Extensively knowing the products you are producing is very pertinent in this line of business. Have it in mind that manufacturing efficiency starts with well-informed staff that feel connected and valued (another benefit of staff training).
However, note that this doesn’t have to be formal or classroom-style learning; instead, you can leverage the supervised on-the-job training method.
Put the Right Support Network in Place
When starting your manufacturing business, you are so full of zeal and energy that you feel you can single-handedly handle everything that comes along the way. However, at some point, you are going to come unstuck and that’s when you need a helping hand. It isn’t advisable to wait until it happens to look for support.
Consider joining Organizations like the Federation of Small Businesses, Chambers of Commerce, and UKTI to gain more industry knowledge and avoid certain costly business mistakes. Also, consider finding a business coach or arrange to meet up with a trusted colleague once a week for a chat. Note that having someone experienced to confide in can help keep you focused.
Have the Best Team
Although leveraging the right software solutions for your manufacturing business is very crucial, you should pay close attention to your people. If you want to attain success in this line of business, then you have to invest time and resources in putting together the best team – covering areas such as skill set, knowledge, and ability.
Always make sure you get the best people and the best team around you, especially since everything necessary for the success of your business will have to be resolved with mutual understanding. Ensure to get the best people into your team and use training to bring them up to speed.
Consider Costs And Benefits When Dealing With Challenges
Just as it was noted above, from dealing with the supply chain and equipment problems to overseeing quality control and getting the right team in place to achieve business outcomes, manufacturing challenges can be quite daunting to surmount.
However, by ensuring that the right strategies are put in place, you can overcome those challenges and keep things moving in the right direction. Always consider costs and benefits when handling business and manufacturing challenges. Don’t forget to turn to your team, get their feedback, and consider all necessary options that are available to you.
You have to understand that the UK manufacturing industry is always evolving, and you should always adopt those changes quickly.
Note that with Industry 4.0 and digital transformation beginning to make an impact in manufacturing; it’s very pertinent you are always ready for changes. Understanding how those changes will factor in your manufacturing business is very necessary. Ensure you keep learning and keep moving.
Always Lookout for New Technologies
Just as it was noted above, manufacturing is always changing and evolving, and like the rest of the world, disruptive technologies are altering the playing ground. To ensure you run your manufacturing business efficiently, always consider the role newer technologies are playing within the manufacturing field and how they will affect your processes both now and in the future.
Note that with artificial intelligence and machine learning making an impact and automation leading to a realigning of priorities, following up on these changes and being current is very critical to your business success.
Organize your Materials and Parts
Have it in mind that the amount of money and resources wasted because of the lack of organization in a manufacturing business can be quite massive. Owing to that, you must ensure that your storage and warehouse facility is well organized to genuinely improve the “picking” process.
This process can also be further improved via the use of suitable parts or picking bins. Don’t forget that increased speed at which the parts or components arrive at your manufacturing line will lead to heightened productivity, as well as help to limit delays.
Be People Oriented
You have to understand that one of the basic skills you need to succeed in this line of business is being people-oriented. Ensure you consult with people from across the businesses, learn from the various sites and different industries, and communicate to your staff as well.
Have it in mind that your staff will need to understand what’s going on from a wider picture rather than just their specific roles in the factories. Ensure you extensively focus on your people as they are your most important asset and the bedrock of your manufacturing business.
Troubleshoot and Maintain Machines
Note that regular maintenance and troubleshooting of your machinery and equipment are very necessary, especially in terms of improving productivity in your manufacturing business.
Truth be told, this is why it is crucial to train – and then trust – the employees that use these daily. Most often, they will be the first to note any issue, and if familiar with the equipment, can even fix the issue with little or no disruption caused.
In addition, knowing the signs that something is not running well (or even at capacity) can help prevent more troublesome problems. Have it in mind that it is quite easier and less expensive to keep a machine running via maintenance and care when compared to repairing it once something has failed.
Starting and running a successful manufacturing business in the UK can be quite tricky since it can be very hard to stand out and get noticed when competing with more established brands. However, consider these top tips mentioned above extensively as they can help you get set up and running.