UK manufacturers are being urged to take a leap into the export market, by a Midlands precision engineering specialist, after experiencing its own surge in exports following Brexit. MNB Precision is one manufacturer reaping the benefits of a weak pound following the uncertainty caused by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and is claiming that businesses need to take advantage of export opportunities provided by Brexit in order to boost industry during uncertain times.
The company, which specialises in CNC milling and turning, has been growing its own export presence, long before the EU vote. Over the last three years the company has experienced a 100% increase in export orders, with significant growth in exports to Norway. The company is also exporting products to Belgium, USA, Canada and Ireland among other nations. In fact, today, MNB Precision exports 25% of its work every year, and is expecting this to rise.
Managing Director Luke Benton said that he only expects the pound to go one way over the next few months – down. “Brexit has left huge uncertainty in the UK business community, but something it has presented is huge export opportunities and this is something we are already taking advantage of. The sharp fall in value of the pound is making UK goods more attractive to overseas buyers and I only see this continuing.”
MNB’s export experience is not unique; a number of manufacturing businesses are enjoying a short term export boost, but economists are unsure of how long this will last. The Office for National Statistics has revealed that Britain’s total exports fell by 4.4% between April and May this year, but the UK government has been public about its desire to develop the UK as an export-based economy.
Indeed, manufacturing in the UK has been identified by many senior politicians as an industry that will be critical to the UK’s success outside of the EU.
Benton believes it presents UK industry with a huge opportunity to grow exports, and also de-risks export market entry for businesses that are yet to trade with the rest of the world. “Now is the time for the manufacturing industry to market our quality all over the world to ensure that when the UK does enter talks about trade agreements, Europe and the rest of the world already know what we have to offer.”
MNB Precision is no stranger to uncertainty caused by external economic factors. The company was enjoying full order books from the oil and gas sector prior to the sector’s global crash, which really took effect early 2014. Despite many of its competitors being forced to close their doors, MNB Precision continued to grow, largely through implementing a servitization strategy to help it diversify into new markets, and increase its services. Today, the business is winning work from markets including rail, automotive, nuclear and defence, whilst still acquiring contracts from oil and gas.
Luke Benton speaks from experience when he urges the manufacturing industry to take advantage of today’s opportunities in order to be in a position of strength tomorrow.
“Manufacturers need to play the cards they have been dealt,” he said. “During this period of economic uncertainty, the worst thing the sector can do is sit back, consolidate and wait. Instead, we need to take advantage of any opportunities in front of us to grow our revenues and continue to compete on a global stage. At the moment, that’s in the export market. Overseas trade is likely to offer the sector huge opportunities over the next few months and the worst thing we can do as an industry is let this pass us by.”