Wednesday, 30 May 2012
For some businesses, the deviation into export might prove to be just a small portion of their wider business model, enhancing sales and increasing profile.
For Royston-based Syrris, however, it is the lion share of their activity and, in the words of Head of Finance Nick Tait, “quite simply the thing that enabled us to grow our business from a loss-making R&D-based company to a profitable product-led and worldwide operation”.
Syrris is a world-leader in the production of automated products designed to be used by research chemists, and through its Dolomite subsidiary is a world-leader in microfluidics.
In 2009, Syrris won the UKTI Eastern region outstanding export achievement award in recognition of their success overseas over many years.
The innovation and skill behind its batch and flow products means, inevitably, that it is looking for a very specialist customer with a specific end-game. Cue the need to find the right audience - in whichever corner of the globe.“We first began dipping our toe in the water of export back in 2004,” said Nick.
“We knew that our flow chemistry systems had appeal in the Americas and Northern Europe, and with the help of UKTI’s first- hand knowledge of those regions, we were able to explore exactly how appropriate to us they really were.
“As we started out in exporting, our UKTI trade advisor quickly grasped how we saw ourselves gaining value and worked really closely with us over the next few years to ensure that we could embrace as many of the UKTI programmes as seemed appropriate for our vision.”
Not only has Syrris fully engaged with programmes such as Passport to Export during its lengthy and successful rapport with UKTI, but it has also joined a number of trade missions, carried out market visits and created new subsidiaries under the close governance and direction of its advisors.
“Syrris is an enormously dynamic company with a terrific management team who are very focused on what they want to achieve,” said Alan Fullarton, Strategic Accounts Team Manager for UKTI East.
“They’re a great example of how our portfolio of services can travel through the lifespan of a client’s expansion, because they have been a user of Passport to Export at first stage, then our Gateway to Global Growth Programme, our Export Market Research Scheme, and OMIS, our Overseas Market Introduction Service.
“The net result is that they are now very well established in Asia, are consulting with us about opportunities in Japan and more of South America at the current time, and walked away with the title of Exporter of the Year in 2009.”
Nick is the first to say what an enormous part UKTI has played in that meteoric growth.
“I think it’s easy to misinterpret what the purpose of something like UKTI is, and to wonder what exactly they can do for my business, when perhaps they don’t know your product or haven’t specifically been in that field.
“The reality is that the organisation is full of very worldly wise people who, as we’ve discovered, may have worked or lived in the countries we’re focusing on, and genuinely know how to open doors. They’re exceptional networkers and there for you every step of the way – which is so reassuring when it’s such a big step for companies like ours to consider.”
Syrris exports 90% of what it makes and sells, so no wonder the success and support of the various UKTI programmes has been critical.
“The market in the UK for us simply isn’t big enough,” he says. “There are not enough chemists with deep pockets in this part of the world, so without them, you have to look elsewhere.
“In the simplest of terms, the company would not exist without international export.”
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