© Electronics Production | March 21, 2013

A British EMS with ambitions

UK based manufacturer Texcel Technology – a silent success story really. Even during some of Europe's darkest financial times, the company advances and keeps recording growth.
Talking to Texcel's Commercial Director, Peter Shawyer, is actually quite enjoyable. An open and rather knowledgeable man, he is in fact ready – and willing – to give an insight into the workings of his company.

So what's the big secret? How does a UK based company not only stay afloat, but is actually profitable and growing, when the market itself seems to crumble?

“It's not really in our control to profit or fail. CEMs are just in the service sector really – and we do as well or as bad as our costumers do. So if your costumers do well - we do well.”

“Some six or seven years ago we went through a policy of being very careful which customers we work with, and spend time working with – to make sure that the they are the right people to expand and grow with – and that’s what worked for us”, Shawyer continues.

The idea actually came after analysing the competition. Why did some companies do better than Texcel, and why were others worse off? The answer is simple and surprising at the same time.

“The ones that did better than us were the ones with better customers. So we went out to try to find better customers.”

And it does seem like it has worked out well for the company. Texcel is currently riding on a four year growth streak – and it has some high flying plans for 2013 too.

“This year we have quite ambitious plans to grow further – to grow about 20% believe it or not. We've increased our sales force, we've increased the facilities and capacity we have here to be able to meet that – so we try to do it the right way around. And there's a lot of opportunities for us here in the UK to grow about 20% quite easily actually.”

Hold on here. Just a couple of months ago you said you had a goal to grow 15% – and now we're looking at 20% – how come?

“We've had a couple of successes which we necessarily didn't expect to have, so we sought to push a bit harder. “

“I think actually, that most of the CEMs in the UK are doing quite well – that is the medium sized CEMs. The ones that are not selling large volumes to domestic costumers or military costumers, but not too small either that they can't afford to fund the business.“

So why does it seem big players are having trouble finding traction while the medium seized companies – not unlike yourself – are doing quite well?

“The main difference is, I think, is that we sell to our costumers in a niche area – its low/medium volume in a niche area, and they are paying for service and added value. And they are doing well and we're doing well on it.”

Shawyer believes that the UK market will grow over the years. While not substantially, at least a bit. And he feels that the UK has a good reputation as a small volume, entrepreneurial, design type center. And this is something Texcel will try to utilise to the fullest.

And when it comes to growing the company – Texcel have different means of doing that. While they, as every other company are tied to their costumers, in some cases the ties are even closer.

“It has always been difficult working with start-up companies for us – so we've started a new policy where we look at what they need, go through an evaluation process – and if we think it's a great idea and has a lot of potential. Then we'll do the production for free – for an equity stake in their business, and that seems to be working quite well for us.”

And while this might be one way to ensure growth to a company – Texcel's high flying goals of a 20% growth for 2013 is going to need some focus on other areas as well.

We have to check back with Texcel and Mr Shawyer in a while to see how that project went.

Infograpic© Evertiq
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