China is now the largest manufacturer in the World, accounting for one fifth of Global manufacturing. UK manufacturing on the other hand continues to splutter, with figures released by the PMI at the beginning of this month citing July 2012 to hold the biggest shrink in the UK manufacturing sector for more than three years.
The Governments frugal investment policy and on-going adverse weather conditions notwithstanding, this dichotomy cannot be ignored.
In a country whose economic success is largely founded on International Merchant Trade, in an age of Global connectivity, UK Entrepreneurs must look to the Import and Export markets to increase profitability.
One superb example of a small UK business successfully exploiting the exports market that recently hit the headlines is Kell Systems. The Somerset-based UK manufacturing company produces the Netshelter CX – a portable soundproofed server cabinet that it is currently exporting to markets all over the world.
From within their small Frome-based factory the Netshelter CX team have been able to rejuvenate the local workforce by applying traditional carpentry and design skills to the growing Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector, which is fuelling the growth of business and consumer connectivity around the World.
Of course export is arguably more appealing, since it does not require getting ones hands dirty in sourcing materials from foreign lands or breaking from that ever emphasised tradition of ‘buying British’.
However in actual fact the Imports market has long-since been one of the pillars of successful UK industry, and it is a huge contributor to the service we provide at The Capella Shutter Company.
The Capella Shutter Company factory is located in Southern China, a short distance from Hong Kong. It is a location I visit frequently throughout the year and am in constant contact with them on an almost daily basis. The relationship between ourselves and our factory is very important as we control the supply chain, to make ourselves and our customers happy every time.
Our shutters are all made to order – we take an order from our customers to determine the exact required proportions of the shutters from their homes, or sometimes this is done by an architect who will provide us with the detailed drawings. We will then send an email to our factory in China, who within 24hrs will supply a CAD drawing for us which we will check and if necessary go back to the customer with additional questions.
The process is then that the shutters are made within two weeks and then shipped on a container ship from China to the Ports of either Felixstowe or Southampton. From there our clearing agents in the UK transport our shutters to our main warehouse just outside London from where we will then forward them onto our team for installation.
The whole process is swift, efficient, and personalised, and it is all project managed predominantly via email from our London offices.
Many people overlook the opportunities in the Imports market believing Global connectivity to be the preserve of online business, and not reaching out into the physical World. However for us, using this connectivity has allowed us to source the physical materials that currently adorn some of West and Central London’s most prestigious homes.
When I started this business I went to meet shutter manufacturers in Canada the United States of America, Ireland and Mainland Europe and that is an important point to re-emphasise. ‘Imported’ does not necessarily mean ‘cheap’. Our bespoke window shutters are designed to fit like a Saville Row suit within the decor of London’s multi-millions pound homes. The fact is that to provide the quality of product, not to mention service, that we offer at a cost-effective price and in bulk would simply not be possible without Chinese import.
It is an area of growth that is often overlooked by UK Entrepreneurs particularly on the Imports side, but International expansion is key to modern business success in an ever shrinking World.
I sense that this apprehension or oversight is in part driven by a sort of mass propaganda that our home-grown products are superior to those produced on the World stage. However, this is not necessarily the case and more broadly speaking Entrepreneurs need to harness the same spirit of thinking outside the box that births their innovations when considering which markets to use.
About Paul Reynolds
Paul started The Capella Shutter Company after experiencing sub optimal service from one of the leading shutter company’s in London, with the specific aim of “becoming the Company of reference in the Interior Shutters market in Central and West London by December 2012”
Paul first career was in the international luxury hotel market where he spent 25 years in senior sales and marketing roles with many of the leading brands including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Hilton and Maybourne Hotel Group, owners of The Berkeley, Claridge’s and The Connaught, where he headed the sales and marketing function.
The Capella Shutter Company specialises in the high end residential, commercial and space in London and has a unique range of twenty woods, which can all be colour matched to your individual choice of paint, RAL or Pantone Colour. He is passionate about Customer Service, delivering on time and on budget, with a clear goal of making all his customers ambassadors for his business.
The Capella Shutter Company 0207 100 522 www.capellashutters.com