Bridging the IT gap for smaller manufacturers: how to be global, mobile and agile

Posted on 26 Aug 2014 by The Manufacturer

Truphone’s MD Europe, Rob Jones, explains how a foundation of flexible, reliable technology can support the big business ambitions of manufacturers regardless of size.

Rob Jones
Rob Jones, Truphone Europe managing director.

Specialist manufacturing firms are having a positive impact on the UK economy as it begins to emerge from recession. Part of this success is due to the demand for world-class expertise, which UK firms have, as well as the ability to operate efficiently and internationally across competitive markets.

The UK’s specialist manufacturers must ensure they have the right mix of technology to support their international ambitions and give them the competitive edge on a playing field awash with industry big-hitters.

I often work with highly specialised firms that maintain smaller operations but deal with much larger global engineering organisations. When a business’s size doesn’t warrant a dedicated IT department, it’s important that its agility and capability on a global scale does not suffer. Acquiring and managing this technology is something businesses often initially struggle with, but smaller manufacturing businesses can, and do, get the vital tech and communication support they need in a cost effective way. Quite simply, they use smart suppliers.

A great example of this is Western Pegasus. Headquartered in Holland and the US, Western Pegasus is a manufacturer with a difference. It supplies fully customised spline gauges, master gears, and spline-related inspection gauging to leaders in the automotive, aerospace, agricultural and marine industries. This global client base is serviced entirely with parts produced from three manufacturing plants in the UK. One of the main challenges of operating in a niche area and supplying demand to a global customer base is maintaining decent communication between customers, employees and production.

Andy Wincel, President of Western Pegasus, says, “Businesses of our size are often forgotten about by big companies. We don’t have huge IT departments and partnering with Truphone is like having a personal IT department. We take ourselves seriously, so it’s nice to be treated seriously [by suppliers]”.

Having multiple international numbers on one mobile SIM has brought huge improvements in the global connectivity and ease of access experienced by Western Pegasus’ staff. This approach has given Western Pegasus a boost in productivity, and empowered employees, suppliers and customers to simply pick up the phone to customers, co-workers and even Truphone’s 24/7 support team. Everyone works in a more integrated and efficient way.

For ambitious businesses such as Western Pegasus, choosing the right IT solution providers is essential. These partners will form the support system for global operations no matter the size of the business. Technology can give any business the edge, whether it’s for sales, customer service, productivity or operations.

For the IT providers themselves, a huge part of building strong relationships with SMEs is customer service. We offer round-the-clock customer support services and representatives who are contactable across the world. This means our global customers such as Western Pegasus, Airinmar and Bisley feel the benefits of in-house IT support, without the physical and financial burden.

If a high service level isn’t provided for these agile, specialist and UK-based manufacturers, then everyone unnecessarily misses out on a huge growth opportunity to the detriment of clients, partners and their respective bottom lines.

If these manufacturers are going to continue to spur UK economic growth they need to be lean, fast and global, and a cumbersome IT department is not the answer. Often, the required tech can, and should, be outsourced to vendors who can provide that high level of service. When it comes to business mobile solutions, we’re proud to provide specialist manufacturers with the seamless, lightweight communications infrastructures that take niche UK businesses to a broad, global audience.