A good time to be a UK manufacturer says silver anniversary company
Customer communication is key to success, according to the chairman of an electronics company which recently celebrated 25 years of manufacturing in the UK.
"I see the next few years as a positive time for manufacturing in the UK, there are many winning factors on our side including the exchange rate," said Eamonn Walsh, chairman of electronics developer Brainboxes.
The Liverpool-based company specialises in serial and Bluetooth connectivity, and was founded in 1984 - even before the IBM PC had made its UK debut.
Walsh argued that Brainboxes has maintained its position by keeping focused on its customers' needs. "Some companies survive by being the lowest cost, but we believe it is the communication you have with your customers that will give you the edge," he said. "We keep close to our customers, listening to what they are saying and understanding what they want. We do what the customer needs, and can also custom-design, rather than telling them what they have to have."
He added: "We have never thought it makes economic sense to manufacture abroad unless you have very high volume production runs of a single product. With the wide range of products that we sell, tailored to specific needs, it is ideal to have it all under our own control. Also, as we are not a contract manufacturer, we remain in control of our own stock, delivery and work schedules."
Asked to advise someone starting a business in 2009, Walsh said, "The best advice I can give them is to get a good product and get it in front of customers fast. Nothing can happen in a business without a sale. Always give the customer value for money, do the best you can and then watch them as they use it. You will learn a lot if you keep your eyes open."