Within my own business, Cimbian UK Ltd, I learned the lesson of reviewing my suppliers and the tremendous benefit of sourcing within the UK.

Some years ago I was sourcing a custom-engineered product from a firm in Germany because they made a similar product; however, the price was very susceptible to exchange rates, communications were not particularly easy, and we had quite different ideas on trading together.

After a couple of years I asked a local firm if they could make the same product, they said ‘No’ because it needed a particular type of machine; however, they mentioned another local firm that had the sort of machine used for making the product. I met with them the following day and they were absolutely perfect.

I now had a local supplier (three miles away), in my currency, that provided a faster, better service and I was able to reduce the price to my customer without jeopardizing my margin. They have now been manufacturing this product for over five years and everyone is delighted. Had I known the machine that was required I could have sourced the product locally from the outset.

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