Medium sized businesses see exporting as 'fundamental to managing risk'

23 Oct 2015

Law firm, DMH Stallard has today published its latest manufacturing report -  Export Strategies - How manufacturers establish successful international markets.

The report has received support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and is the result of a number of in-depth interviews with leading mid-sized manufacturers across a broad range of sectors including medical, food, process, software, and engineering. Each of the companies interviewed has achieved some form of dominance in their marketplace.

Key findings include:

  • Many medium sized businesses who export treat it as a natural extension of their business and see it as a fundamental to managing risk
  • Turnover from exports often contribute to the majority of total revenues
  • Targeting buoyant overseas markets is a common approach to mitigate against other stalling economies
  • Most managed their own distributor operations rather than relying on third party contractors
  • Many saw the UKTIs Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) reports as key to supporting a robust export strategy
  • Those exporting took extensive steps to protect against any negative impact their export strategy had on the organisation's reputation and its impact on the environment

David Seall, DMH Stallard’s Strategic Adviser for Manufacturing and co-author of the report commented:

“One of the key pressures on the UK economy over the last few years has been the addressing of our nation's balance of payments deficit.

“Over the last ten years or so UK trade and investment (UKTI), as well as bringing in overseas investment, have worked with SMEs to encourage them to embark on exporting to help address the rebalancing issue. Those that have exported have not only grown their business but it has also helped them mitigate risk when there have been domestic hiccups in the UK economy.

“The last Conservative led Government  tried to "pull some bigger levers" and encourage more medium to large companies to export. In fact, the basis of this theory was that 9,000 businesses of between £25m and £250m turnover didn't export at all, which on the face of it is an extraordinary number.

“We decided to investigate companies of this size who were exporting and find out how they did it and what experiences they had had.

“Surprisingly we saw a very different picture and approach to that used by SMEs. They started in new countries in a very strategic way. They also largely treated exporting as a natural extension of their business which in their eyes was " business as usual" . “

A full copy of the report is available to download here.

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