The UK is still seen as a place of innovation and quality
manufacturing particularly for the medium to high-end value
product, especially ones with a technical twist.
A shining light is Calorex Heat Pumps that employs some 150
people at its manufacturing base in Essex.
Calorex has been exporting its environmental control products
since the early Eighties. It runs a dedicated export division with a
multi-lingual team and established trade routes to more than 60
countries around the world.
Although best known in the UK in the water leisure market,
Calorex’s export sales are largely made up of commercial
applications, using the same refrigeration technology, but applied to a diverse range of dry-side sectors.
“Right back to the Industrial Revolution, innovation generally centres around Britain and you can see this in just about every product in the world,” comments Calorex’s Richard Carrington who worked for the company’s export team for more than 20 years before being appointed managing director, five years ago.
Richard points out that business still flocks into the UK to generate research and development houses for product innovation. “From the people we speak to globally, we know the UK is still seen as a credible manufacturing base although it is not seen as a country that now produces low value, high volume factory products,” he says.
“High tech, high profile, visible products like Formula One cars are a beacon for British innovation,” says Richard. “But you can say that for so many products that we surround ourselves with – whether they are for medical; engineering; aeronautical fields – well, you name it.”
Product is one element of a multi-faceted winning export formula, says Richard. “You have to adapt, identifying a product that is ahead of the market and entirely suitable for the country where you are selling it,” Richard says. “If you are thinking of selling plastic pipe to China, or air conditioning for that matter, you are completely wasting your time in a market with tens of thousands of factories making something similar.
“You would not, for example, make widgets in this country any more; you would have the innovation to design them but you would go to a factory in China to have them made.” Richard says that if you devise and deliver a considered export programme, people will respect that.
“That involves investing in people with language skills and investing in marketing to generate information in the right languages,” he insists.
“But above all, one of the most important lessons to learn is to provide support for what you sell because for long term success you have to be committed to supporting the product once it is in the field.”
Calorex Heat Pumps
Tel. +44 (0)1621 856611
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