Thursday, 30 Aug 2012
Tooled up for global success
When Managing Director, Anne Wilson first started working for the company in 2000, export sales accounted for 18% of the business. By 2006 when Anne bought the business this had risen to 24% and in the following years. The long term plan is for export to surpass the domestic market. Asia, Eastern Europe and the Baltics are known for their heavy engineering-based industries and so it is these markets that Anne is now focussed on.
Anne’s experiences really demonstrate that export is something small businesses can succeed in. The company is in direct competition with multinationals with a turnover into the tens of millions, but with the right contacts, support and drive to get out there, any business regardless of size can do very well indeed.
Providing a service to a whole host of industries, Numill Ltd processes damaged machine tooling at its facility in Sheffield. Following expert repair, tooling is then re-exported back to clients. From its in house manufacturing cell the company also produces new, customer-specific, special tooling. Numill Ltd currently has an established export market within Central and Western Europe and Scandinavia using distributors to collect tooling and ship it to the UK for processing.
In the last two years however, Anne has been working closely with UKTI to explore new export markets to grow the business. After signing up to the in 2010 to explore markets in Asia, Anne felt it was really important to keep the momentum going and so very quickly moved through the (G3) programme in 2011. Passport to Export was crucial to getting a foot in the door in Singapore.
Having the support of UKTI for her first visit into the new market was really helpful, explains Anne “as a woman travelling alone in a new environment the support from UKTI was superb, and gave me much more confidence”. For a completely new market, entering with the backing of the British emblem from the High Commission creates a welcome reception, and having contacts to visit that were already ‘warmed’ to the company and expected their arrival made a real difference to the success of the visit.
Further trips overseas included exhibiting at the international precision engineering event, MTA in Singapore in April 2011. On the advice of UKTI, Anne attended the Singapore event rather than the exhibition in Thailand. Known as the ‘Gateway to Asia’, Singapore is much easier to do business in as the culture lends itself incredibly well towards UK Industry..
Anne then used UKTI’s support scheme to attend the event and whilst this involved some financial support, it was the opportunity to travel as part of a UK group led by the Engineering Industries Association that was most beneficial. To be part of the UK Pavilion really de-mystified the process for Anne and made it much less daunting. The extra support from other businesses on the visit was very helpful and it was also a great opportunity to learn from others too.
UKTI’s services have also helped Anne to ensure that the Numill Ltd website is ready for international business through an (ECR). Anne described the review as a very interesting process which really helped to internationalise the site & advise on using translated sections in the future for key markets.
If you are based in the Yorkshire and Humber region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:
Tel: 0300 365 1000