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5 Benefits of Choosing Locally Manufactured Products

In today’s globalised economy, architects, specifiers, and contractors are inundated with product choice. However, the origin of the materials you opt for can have a significant impact on not only the outcome of your project but also the wider community and the environment. Now, more than ever, there exists a compelling argument for choosing locally manufactured products and here are five reasons why.

Container shipping rates skyrocketed by over 300% in just three months, reaching an astonishing £2,249.

1. Assurance of Supply

In the four years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the world has witnessed a series of supply chain disruptions. From the notorious Suez Canal blockage in 2021 to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, the landscape of global trade has been fraught with challenges. The recent attacks on ships passing through the Suez Canal resulted in the rerouting of over 100 container ships around southern Africa, tacking on an additional 6,000 nautical miles to the typical journey from Asia. This redirection has caused product delivery times to extend by an extra 3 to 4 weeks, accompanied by unforeseen costs, causing container shipping rates to skyrocket by over 300% in just three months, reaching an astonishing £2,249.

This persistent uncertainty underscores the inherent risks of relying solely on international supply chains, particularly for materials like granite. Fluctuating costs and delays in product delivery can significantly disrupt project timelines and budgets. In contrast, sourcing materials locally offers a more practical, reliable, lower-carbon and cost-effective solution.

At AG, we pride ourselves on ensuring a seamless supply chain experience for our customers through our extensive stock levels, local distribution network and agreed pricing. For commercial projects stocked products have a 10 working day delivery while Made to Order products are available within 6-8 weeks from your confirmed order date.

At AG, we pride ourselves on ensuring a seamless supply chain experience for our customers through our extensive stock levels, local distribution network and agreed pricing.

2. Continuity of Supply

In the realm of large commercial projects, a significant span of time often elapses between the initial specification and the eventual installation of hard landscaping products. Throughout this period, the availability and consistency of natural stone products can become uncertain, potentially deviating from your original vision in terms of quantity, quality, colour, veining, and texture. Opting for engineered products manufactured locally in the UK can provide assurance regarding product size, colour, and finish. This not only saves valuable time otherwise spent on seeking alternative solutions towards the project’s conclusion but also ensures the timely completion of your scheme.

As Tom James, CMLI. Senior Landscape Architect, emphasises, “As an landscape architect committed to creating sustainable, responsible spaces, I advocate for specifying locally manufactured products such as those offered by AG. By prioritising materials that have lower carbon footprints, we can design spaces that align with our environmental goals without sacrificing on quality or aesthetics. When specifying AG, I’m confident that the process will be seamless, a crucial element for delivering projects on time and in budget.” This sentiment underscores the importance of choosing products that offer continuity and reliability throughout the project lifecycle.

Moreover, AG boasts a legacy of manufacturing selected product lines for over two decades. For in-stance, if TerraPave® in the colour finish Rimini Ground was specified back in 2004, AG remains capable of delivering this product to the site today, providing you with ultimate peace of mind when specifying AG products.

3. Lower Environmental Impact

Products manufactured in the UK and Ireland often carry a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to their imported counterparts as the distance between source and site is kept to a minimum. Furthermore, manufacturing companies in Britain and Ireland are subject to stringent environmental regulations, driven by both the UK & EU’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

In the current landscape, supply chain disruptions like the Suez canal diversion also need to have their extensive environmental impact taken into consideration. The heightened fossil fuel consumption due to extended shipping routes, are exacerbating climate change by increasing gas house emissions and contributing to ocean pollution. The intensified shipping activity may lead to greater risks of oil spills, habitat destruction, and disturbance to marine ecosystems.

Reflecting on the importance of sourcing locally, Gordon Best, Regional Director at MPANI, emphasises, “Globally, the construction industry is increasingly recognising the importance of sourcing materials that are readily available locally. Utilising locally manufactured products not only reduces carbon emissions associated with transportation but also fosters regional economic growth and resilience. It’s a win-win for both the environment and the community.”

At AG, our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is unwavering. We have implemented a range of sustainable practices, resulting in a commendable 53.7% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions since 2019, along with a 10% reduction in Scope 3 emissions since 2022. Furthermore, we transitioned to 100% renewable energy across all our sites in 2021. Explore our efforts across our three CSR pillars and how we actively contribute to a greener, more sustainable future here.

Our dedication to reducing environmental impact extends to our product development endeavours. In 2022, we introduced our updated Woodward low carbon masonry brick to the market, boasting over 48% less embodied carbon than traditional clay brick. This innovation is made possible in part through the use of aggregates sourced from our own quarry, conveniently located behind our Fivemiletown Headquarters. Not only does this approach result in shorter lead times, but it also ensures more cost-effective pricing for our customers.

Our dedication to reducing environmental impact extends to our product development endeavours. In 2022, we introduced our updated Woodward low carbon masonry brick to the market, boasting over 48% less embodied carbon than traditional clay brick.

4. Product Quality + Monitoring

Manufacturing operations in the UK adhere to stringent standards and regulations, ensuring the production of high-quality products. This commitment to quality provides assurance to architects, specifiers, housing developers and contractors, knowing they are choosing products that meet rigorous criteria.

At AG, our dedication to quality is deeply ingrained in our Company Vision, Mission, and Values. Our Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality (HSEQ) Management System encompasses a comprehensive set of procedures. We employ thorough inspection, auditing, and testing processes to not only comply with but also exceed applicable legislative and regulatory requirements, technical standards, codes of practice, and customer expectations.

As evidence of our commitment, we have attained various accreditations, including an integrated management system of BES 6001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and ISO 9001. These standards and audit processes underscore AG’s ongoing dedication to meticulous yet sustainable manufacturing.

Furthermore, our relentless pursuit of quality extends to our environmental initiatives. A recent investment of £5 million into our operations has enabled us to modernise our plant, equipment, and technology, ensuring the consistent production of premium-quality products while contributing towards our sustainability objectives by improving efficiencies and lowering carbon emissions in the process.

We employ thorough inspection, auditing, and testing processes to not only comply with but also exceed applicable legislative and regulatory requirements, technical standards, codes of practice, and customer expectations.

5. Supporting Communities

Choosing products manufactured in the UK and Ireland not only ensures high-quality goods but also contributes to the support and growth of local communities. At AG, we believe in investing in our people, we offer a comprehensive remuneration package that encompasses competitive pay rates, life assurance, and enhanced annual leave entitlements that increase with length of service. Moreover, we prioritise the development and well-being of our employees through initiatives like our Accelerate Programme, Activ8, Health Shield and Met Life. Learn about our employee benefits here.

Our commitment to the well-being of our workforce has been recognised through achieving level 3 in the “Take 5” workplace well-being accreditation as well as our People Insight’s Outstanding Workplace award. These acknowledgments reflect our longstanding dedication to enhancing both physical and psychological safety in the workplace.

As our success grows, so does our ability to give back to the local community. Through volunteering, sponsorship, donations, and charity work, we actively support initiatives that benefit the people in our area. We collaborate closely with Business in the Community Northern Ireland (BITCNI) and participate in programs like Time to Read, where our volunteers engage with primary school students on a weekly basis.

Additionally, we proudly support charities such as Air Ambulance NI (AANI), for whom we have raised over £26,000 to date, as well as organisations like Macmillan, Acorn Children’s Hospice, and Marie Curie. Stay updated on our community engagement activities by following our Facebook page, Life at AG.

The benefits of selecting locally manufactured products are undeniable. From ensuring a steady supply chain and reducing environmental impact to supporting local economies and communities, the benefits extend far beyond individual projects.

Architects, specifiers, and contractors have the power to make a positive impact by prioritising locally sourced materials. By doing so, they not only contribute to the sustainability of their projects but also to the broader goals of environmental stewardship and community development.