Manufacturing is at the core of the UK economy. Despite mixed performance over the past two decades, UK manufacturing is currently strong and growing both in productivity and profitability. Today, over 2.6 million people in the UK work in manufacturing, accounting for around 11% of UK Gross Value Added (GVA) and 54% of UK exports. The composition of UK manufacturing is changing, with basic metal industries contracting, while advanced manufacturing sectors have grown considerably. Almost half of the UK’s manufacturing exports, accounting for £186.6 billion, come from five sub-sectors (mechanical and electrical equipment; chemicals; transport; metals; rubber, plastics and non-metallic minerals). While exports are important, the internationalisation of UK manufacturing undoubtedly represents the next phase in growth, and the stakes are high in terms of risk and reward.
This report starts by exploring why manufacturers extend internationally. The report then identifies four different motivations for developing international operations, but finds that such motivations must be aligned to the wider corporate strategy and be endorsed by top tier management or C-Suite (so called because of “chief” officers of whom it comprises) if they are to be successfully enacted.
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