Over 50 manufacturers gathered at the factory of engine-maker Cosworth to learn about the company's diversification strategy.
Cosworth walked away with the Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2011 after transforming its customer base to reach new customers and win new business.
Its diversification has proved highly successful, increasing revenues by 50% over the last two years. Cosworth’s success led The Manufacturer to set up a factory tour in order to share best practice.
Tim Routsis, CEO of Cosworth, explained that the company decided not to look at what it makes, but the technology, skill sets and capabilities involved in taking that product from raw materials to finished goods.
Pio Szyjanowicz, head of marketing at Cosworth, asked the audience to raise their hand if they thought that they were coming on a visit to a Formula One engine-maker – with almost every hand raised – the response proved the whole point of the visit.
Mr Szyjanowicz explained that this was a problem for Cosworth as the companies it now wanted to sell to also viewed it as a solely Formula One-focused company.
Routsis told the tale of how the company’s long established reputation within Formula One meant that it had to work harder to prove its worth when fighting for contracts in different fields.
Its strategy to sell into aerospace and defence sectors was achieved through bold risk-taking. In a deal to supply to the US Navy, Cosworth invested £1m into developing the product while its competitors were developing prototypes.
Routsis described how, when it came to supplier negotiations, Cosworth turned up with an engine and put it on the table, while others turned up with Power Point presentations. The company had to do something different and show a dedication and ability to enter the market.
Cosworth’s customer mix has gone from being 90% Formula One-based contracts to just 40%. With the company making the engines for both HRT and Marussia this season it is gaining business in other sectors while retaining its traditional customers in Formula One.
Unfortunately, the HRT-Cosworth team was penalised at the Australian Grand Prix by Formula 1 stewards after its cars failed to register a lap close enough to the fastest car during final qualifying. This meant that the team’s HRT F112 car was suspended from the race.
Tim Glock and Charles Pic of Marussia-Cosworth, racing in the MR01, finished in 14th and 15th place respectfully.