The Changing Location Of Manufacturing

There has been a global shift in manufacture from HIC’s to the MIC’s, particularly “BRIC’s” – newly emerging developed economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. This has come about due to developments in the following areas:

  • TNC’s – the companies are locating their factories in the cheapest and most profitable locations.
  • Transport – faster and cheaper.
  • Communications – faster more efficient computer technology.
  • Energy – energy can now be made available almost anywhere
  • Governments – they are able to temp industry to set up in their boarders by various incentives e.g. exempt from tax.
  • New types of manufacture – not just heavy industry anymore now a range of hi-tech production such as electrical goods.

However TNC’s still need to have a highly educated work force especially for high tech industries. Therefore, the UK is still a sought after location for these industries. The M4 corridor is a significant manufacturing area stretching from London to Bristol and Cardiff. Many of the industries that locate here are called. A footloose industry is: an industries not tied to a particular location. They include high tech industries and are located near motorway junctions or on the edge of towns and cities in business parks. the products are often electronics and computer components.

The Characteristics Of Footloose Industries

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Case Study: The M4 Corridor

The M4 corridor is the area either side of the M4 motorway running from London in the east of the UK across to Bristol and Cardiff in Wales. The area has become famous for its concentration of hi-tech industries. Many hi-tech industries are footloose so not tied to a particular raw material. Therefore, they are able to look at other location factors. The M4 corridor has become a popular location because of the following features:

  • Transport – The M4 road runs through the region and connects to the M25 and M5. London has five airports (including the worlds busiest international airport (Heathrow). There are also further airports in Bristol and Cardiff. A railway line also runs through the region.
  • Labour – There is a large pool of educated workers, not only in London, but also in Swindon, Reading and Bristol.
  • Universities – Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Reading and of course London have multiple universities that can not only supply skilled labour but also have research and development facilities. There are attractive areas to live nearby and enjoyable recreational activities.
  • Market – Much of the south of England is wealthy so there is a large potential market for new products.
  • Existing Industries – There is already existing government research facilities and other research based companies like British Aerospace and Rolls Royce in the area.
  • Conglomeration – If hi-tech firms group together they can share associated services. Associated  companies may range from cleaning and securing firms, to IT repair and research labs. By sharing services it should reduce costs and increase the amount offered.

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