With British manufacturers still feeling uneasy about opportunities in the EU, now is the time to set their sights on something further afield.
According to Tony Goodman MBE, a marketing and export advisor with 30 years’ manufacturing experience, one of Britain’s biggest fears around exporting is structural.
Specifically, we have a reputation as a services economy.
“The UK has more of a service economy than other countries,” says Goodman. “If you take something like tourism, that has a far higher internal element than external.”
For manufacturing, on the other hand, this services economy could just be our key to success.
The Export Strategy
In the Government’s 2018 Export Strategy, manufacturing and services were described as complementary forces.
The report stated: “Services are also a key intermediate input in global value chains, and when including the value of services embedded in manufacturing, services account for close to two thirds of the value added of UK exports.”
The report also stated that gains from more open services sectors “spill over into manufacturing”, and noted a potential productivity increase of 18% if other OECD countries were as open to services trade as the UK.
Quality Wins Out
With a world-renowned reputation for quality, Britain’s manufacturing sector should capitalise on this when exporting to key markets. “China has a growing interest in high standards and quality,” says Goodman.
He states that the wealthy and middle class in China now make up over 5% of the population – surpassing the total population of the UK.
“The UK can offer high-quality products, for example, food. Chinese law is changing all the time to look for better standards, which we can offer with our premium manufacturing exports”
Tony Goodman MBE
In addition, Goodman cites other manufacturing sectors that could benefit from exporting further afield.
“Japan has a very high standard of living. As a result, you see many well-known international brands out there, for example famous fashion brands.”
Made in Britain
Britain’s reputation for high quality and innovation aren’t the only reason for widespread exporting opportunities.
Another is simply consumer demand – in particular, for the very en-vogue “Made in Britain” nomenclature.
A Raconteur article on manufacturing opportunities presents case studies from British brands triumphing thanks to their provenance.
Global construction leader Burgess sold £1.2 billion worth of superyachts to foreign buyers in 2014, trading on the “quintessential English gentleman” epithet.
Similarly, the likes of Range Rover and even British jewellers also attract Asian buyers in their droves.
Look for Opportunities
According to Goodman, different areas of the world need to be approached in different ways, but there is no questioning the immense exporting potential of British manufacturing.
“The UK government wants to increase exports to 35% of our GDP. We should look for these opportunities”
Tony Goodman MBE
From our reliance on digital (the UK’s top export is machinery including computers, at 14.8%) to renowned automotive brands, we have a growing audience of buyers.
“Now is the time to seize these opportunities, rather than retreating at the hands of politics,” concludes Tony.
Tony Goodman MBE hosted a successful seminar, How to Survive and Prosper in a New World Market, at the White Label Expo in November 2019.
To discover more about the White Label Expo, please visit whitelabelexpo.co.uk/.