Minimised exposure key to Brexit optimism

The management team of globally celebrated plumbing systems company, John Guest, is facing the EU exit process with confidence thanks to a culture of innovation and diversification.

The family-run firm has a strong emphasis on exports and innovation, a legacy of the late John Guest who did everything in his power to ensure his business had minimal exposure to risk - image courtesy of John Guest.
The family-run firm has a strong emphasis on exports and innovation, a legacy of its founder who did everything in his power to ensure his business had minimal exposure to risk – image courtesy of John Guest.

While the triggering of Article 50 has been a cause of concern for many businesses, those at the helm of John Guest are decidedly more upbeat.

The West Drayton-headquartered business has a long-established culture of innovation and exports, both of which are seen as critical factors in the company’s ongoing success.

UK marketing communications manager, Carl Gray explained to The Manufacturer: “In discussion with the directors, they very much feel that if you have the right products, that are well placed and well-priced, then you will succeed.

“You must always have one eye on what’s happening around you and you certainly can’t be blasé. We must adopt a certain degree of caution to ensure that what we are doing is right for the business, but we are moving through Brexit with some confidence.”

The products in question are all built around founder John Guest’s innovative ‘Push-Fit’ technology, a concept used in all the company’s connections for core markets such as plumbing & heating, underfloor heating, drinks dispense & pure water, compressed air & pneumatics, telecommunications, blown fibre and automotive.

The family-run firm has a strong emphasis on exports and innovation, a legacy of the late John Guest who did everything in his power to ensure his business had minimal exposure to risk. This philosophy manifests itself in the board’s approach to investment, largely self-funded, and the measures they take to ensure that the organisation is beholden to no-one – be that bank, product, market or territory.

John Guest currently exports to countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, with international revenues accounting for roughly half of its total sales.

Gray noted: “The structure of the company and the fact that we do almost everything in-house means that it is solely our fault if we can’t grow. We carry that responsibility; we don’t blame it on world events or government. It’s up to us to make the effort and investments, create new products and ventures, and enter new territories.”

Gray, however, does think government should have been far quicker to offer reassurances to both European workers in the UK and their employers in regards to the future; reassurances which are still yet to come.

He said: “The government needs to offer some reassurance or clarity as to what is actually going to happen. I would have thought they’d have done that by now. They need to be leading the way in defining what is going to happen and when, not just to the individuals directly affected, but also the employers who also need to know where they stand.”

Track your Brexit readiness

The Manufacturer’s Quarterly EU Exit Survey, is a simple but effective way of helping manufacturers to navigate the EU exit process as new information emerges.

By answering a few key questions, manufacturers can track their own progress and benchmark themselves against peers by size, location and sector.

If you are a UK manufacturer, you can take part in our Quarterly EU Exit Survey via The Manufacturer Collaboratory by following the link: Take the survey – bit.ly/TMCqueue