GSK brings some Indian manufacturing 'back home'

Scottish officials are rubbing their hands in anticipation at the prospect of capturing GlaxoSmithKline's planned UK facility, announced last year after the British government made some long-sought changes in intellectual property law. But the company has already begun transferring some manufacturing to the area--from India.

In a switch from the trend toward moving manufacturing to lower-cost labor markets, Glaxo has brought some processes back from India, and more will be moved over the next several years, CEO Andrew Witty (photo) told The Herald of Scotland, crediting local employees' productivity for the decision. Quite a change, at least at the Montrose site, which had been on the verge of closure.

"It's extraordinary to think that just a few years ago, the Montrose plant was close to shutting down," Witty told the paper. "But the workforce applied great brain power to cost and process efficiency, and now we are actually bringing work back from India and Montrose is where it is going."

The manufacturing moves haven't been without pain; GSK has cut employment by around 200. But plans to invest tens of millions in plant improvements and expansions are expected to help, and employment will tick upward, at least at one site. And then there's the chance that GSK will pick Montrose or its other Scotland site for the brand-new plant, Witty points out. A decision on that site will come in early 2012.

- see the Herald piece
- get more from The Courier