Cost savings are welcome at any time, but the exceptional pressure being put on British manufacturers by today’s rapidly rising raw material prices is forcing many to re-examine their operations for fresh ways to save money and protect their margins. With that in mind, we can expect a surge in popularity for coding systems based on convenient, cost-effective thermal inkjet (TIJ) technology, argues Steve Ryan, UK sales manager.

The arrival of solvent-based TIJ technology means that printing on glossy, consumer-ready packaging is no longer an issue.

The plummeting pound has created tough trading conditions for British manufacturers since the Brexit vote last June. In February 2016, £1 bought €1.29 and $1.43 on average, compared with €1.16 and $1.25 in February 2017. While the tumbling exchange rate has lent a boost to exports, manufacturers making products for the domestic market have been forced to watch the steep rise in the cost of raw materials eroding their margins.

The problem is most acute in price-sensitive markets such as food. The Food and Drink Federation have reported in March 2017 that an overwhelming majority (90% per cent) have seen the price of ingredients and raw materials increase in recent months. They expect these costs to continue to rise over the next two years. Big brands such as such as Marmite, Toblerone and Birds Eye have all hit the headlines, with consumers complaining of empty shelves, ‘shrinkflation’ and rising prices respectively. Manufacturers are therefore looking for ways to maintain their margins without impacting on consumers, and that means making automation cost savings including production peripherals such as coding technology.