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Latest Manufacturing Figures From CIPS Match MasterMover Export Results

Latest Manufacturing Figures From CIPS Match MasterMover Export Results

An influential manufacturing report has revealed that export figures in the UK are showing pleasing signs of recovery. Andy Owen, Managing Director of MasterMover, relates the report to his company’s own direct findings of how British manufacturing expertise is still envied and sought after across the world.

I read with interest that the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (Cips) has published the latest figures on the state of UK manufacturing, which confirm that UK manufacturing firms have been experiencing a sure but steady increase in exports over the past three years.

This promising news relates not only to the traditional UK export markets of North America and Europe, but also to emerging economy customers, such as Asia, Brazil and even Scandinavia.

The growth rates are said to have been increasing pace since February 2011, so much so that consumption in these areas is at its highest level in two decades. Even more impressively, this comes despite a strengthening pound raising the price of exports.

I’m happy to say that Cips’ findings, while newsworthy, do not come as news to us here at MasterMover. If anything the report simply corroborates the strategies and results we ourselves have adopted to secure international success in changing times.

On the face of it, Cips’ positive information seems to conflict with the general view of the economic downturn, but I’m pleased to say it is reflective of our own findings over the past three years. It supports our personal experience of exporting electric tugs worldwide, and I feel offers reasons behind this ‘exception to the recession rule’ in a fairly clear cut way.

No matter what the international financial climate, global economies will always look for an innovative and effective solution to their particular challenge – and Britain remains a source of the engineering excellence they need to develop their own manufacturing infrastructure and techniques. While some see the ambitious growth of countries such as China, Brazil and India as a threat to UK manufacturing, isn’t it just as much of an opportunity for British exporters to forge ties in our increasingly global market?

I have an illustrative, ‘first-hand experience’ example of the point I’m making, and it relates to one of our partner distributors, the Brazilian company Fornecedora Industrial Ltd. (FIL). Last year, they proved to be our most prominent export customer, and the reason is simple. In Brazil, a growth in manufacturing is fuelling a demand for better handling machinery. Our electric tugs have proven to be very successful for a number of companies there and our relationship with FIL will continue to deliver significant business for both parties.

It’s a format that works. We manufacture, the dealer sources new business opportunities, and the customer gets the quality equipment they want. We’re using the same concept in other countries too, and already have similar relationships with partner companies in Russia, China, France and Australia, where demand for our tugs is consistently strong.

Seeking opportunities for export can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be. We have applied a common-sense strategy to building our export markets that reduces risk and supports organic, gradual growth.

In many cases, it was apparent that our existing UK customers also had a presence within emerging economic countries, with similar needs in efficiency, safety and handling. Just as “good news travels fast,” so too does ‘best practice’ in business. As a result, many of our earliest export customers were overseas factories operated by companies with whom we already had a working relationship.

From there, it is a matter of building outwards as we get to understand the nuances of each market. This helps us to identify key areas of manufacturing growth, locate weaknesses in the supply chain where we can make a difference, and to find like-minded distributors. For example, we appointed Biwa International, our distributor in China, after they had successfully provided local support for our customers in the region.

So far this has proven to be a fruitful strategy, helping us develop our own customer base, grow as a manufacturer and create a more international presence – and I guess from the recent Cips report, we’re not alone.

It’s gratifying to know we’re not the only ones adopting a proactive, strategic approach to export, and I hope other UK firms will be encouraged to maintain, strengthen and promote our superb manufacturing heritage around the world.

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