With over 8,000 companies based in Scotland – over 90 per cent of which are Scottish owned – which employ around 176,000 people and account for 40 per cent of Scotland’s exports, the manufacturing sector is of major importance to Scotland’s economy.
Over the last five years, the sector has faced considerable challenges – employment has dropped and output has fallen – but Scotland’s manufacturing sector still has a great story to tell, with terrific examples of companies which are bucking the trend and growing despite the tough economic climate.
Companies such as Optos in Fife, Hyaltech in Livingston, ACE Winches in Aberdeen, Tayside-based Rautomead, Get Juiced in Stirling and The Boxshop Ltd in East Kilbride.
These companies all have something in common – they all recognise that to compete nationally and internationally you need to have the right products and processes in place and that they are as efficient and effective as possible. Working with our Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) has helped them achieve this.
From 1 March 2011 to 31 April 2012, we received nearly 1,700 enquiries from Scottish manufacturers which resulted in 359 manufacturing reviews being undertaken and 165 companies supported to deliver 207 business efficiency projects. These projects helped generate £20 million of productivity benefits for Scotland’s economy and saw us achieve a return on our investment of 14:1.
These savings can help open up further growth opportunities for companies. Companies such as The Boxshop Ltd which has just announced that it’s to invest £2.2 million expanding its East Kilbride facility which will see 18 new jobs created and a further 18 safeguarded. We are supporting this expansion with a £300,000 Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant.
The Boxshop Ltd was established in 1986 and manufactures corrugated cases, boxes and protective packaging. The company is based in Kelvin Industrial Estate in East Kilbride but also operates from a distribution hub in Aberdeen where they have their own fleet of distribution vehicles.
My colleague, Lorna Edward, is The Boxshop Ltd’s account manager and works closely with them to support their growth ambition. Lorna is the lynchpin to helping The Boxshop access our support such as RSA and SMAS.
In fact, The Boxshop was one of the first companies to work with SMAS when it was set up in 2005 and has undertaken almost a project a year since. During this time, the company has generated £1.4 million efficiency savings and increased its turnover from £5.7 million to £11.3 million. The company now employs around 80 staff and attributes part of its success to its continuous improvement and business efficiency projects.
This year, we’re working hard to engage with even more Scottish manufacturers, carry out even more projects and deliver even greater value to Scotland’s economy by helping companies generate more savings and create new jobs, new products and new markets.
If you’re a manufacturer and have the ambition to grow your business then visit www.yestogrowth.com to find out how Scottish Enterprise can help, or follow our campaign on twitter using #yestogrowth.