Rob Jones, MD Europe of telecoms network provider Truphone, discusses how manufacturers are planning to become more mobile in the coming years.
Manufacturers today are facing the toughest trading conditions in decades. From globalisation and rising operational costs, to shorter product lifecycles and increasingly competitive domestic and overseas markets, the challenges have never been greater. Despite this, the UK economy is showing clear signs of recovery, driven largely by determined and innovative exporters and manufacturers.
To overcome common business challenges, many manufacturers are looking to become more mobile as a key way to capitalise on overseas markets, operate more efficiently, boost the productivity of sales and service teams, reduce order-to-cash times and eliminate paperwork. A recent study into the ‘Global Pioneering Spirit’ of currently domestic British businesses reveals that 77% of British businesses plan to ‘go global’ within two years.
Businesses understand the need to be constantly and efficiently connected to staff, partners and clients from anywhere in the world, 24/7. More than half of businesses we spoke to view being ‘always-on’ as essential to operating as a global business, but there are significant mobility challenges facing all sectors in this global race.
The study reveals that more than three quarters (78%) of British businesses admitted that their existing communications infrastructure does not meet their needs when it comes to operating globally. 72% cited poor technology infrastructure as a barrier to doing business globally, and feel that greater flexibility, connectivity and coverage are the most pressing issues they face.
As a result, 78% of the 650 businesses surveyed will invest in technology and 60% in communication infrastructure to support global expansion.
Broadening business horizons
Businesses often underestimate how ‘global’ they really are. According to the research, 57% of businesses see themselves as global, but in fact, up to 92% of them already operate globally in some way. For manufacturers in particular, international growth requires a diversified supply chain: it’s not as simple as sourcing from and supplying to partners abroad.
New markets mean new distributors, suppliers, customers and employees, but unless manufacturing businesses – small and large – grasp the extent of their global operations, it’s unlikely they are maximising their potential. The planned investment in more flexible mobile communications will be crucial to boosting productivity and forming the strong international business relationships that will give manufacturers the edge in competitive global markets.
The markets with the greatest perceived opportunity for SMBs in order are Western Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America. This may be driven by the lower risk associated with dealing with geographically closer markets.
In a reflection of the UK recovery, British businesses have proved their resilience. Of the small to medium sized businesses who have failed to go global previously, 93% will be making further attempts in the next 12 months, and the same is true for 81% of large businesses.
It’s encouraging to see that British businesses already have a global mindset, now they just need to ensure they have the technology and communications infrastructures in place to enable them to take full advantage of the global opportunities.
To find out how Truphone can help you business please visit www.truphone.com/uk