Business Operations in high tech

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How Bardwyck changed a UK subsidiary’s marketing strategy and enabled the owners to sell to a large IT multinational

In 2000, Manufanix was a global company selling $80 million worth of software and maintenance into the manufacturing sector.

In the United States, it worked with the big automotive and aerospace manufacturers, which used Manufanix highly specialised manufacturing software to design, simulate and optimise their manufacturing processes. Typical customers could save millions of dollars every year by ensuring, before they ever installed a single machine, that their products would be manufactured to the highest possible quality and delivered on time, with the minimum of wastage.

In the UK, however, the story was very different. General manager Alex Phillips was tearing his hair out: he simply wasn’t making sufficient sales. Faced with declining profits, he had to let virtually the entire team go, until he was left with just one sales representative, two engineers and an office manager. Back at international HQ, management was adamant that he should continue to go for large accounts in the aerospace and automotive industries, yet there simply was insufficient potential for this in the UK.

The European General Manager was sympathetic: for different reasons, the German, French and Italian subsidiaries were all having problems with the centralised marketing policy.

Bardwyck was already managing Manufanix’ marketing communications programme in the UK. Its experts studied the problems and came up with a solution which turned round the company’s fortunes. Within a year, Manufanix had raised its profile and achieved its corporate objective of being sold to a large multinational for $228 million.

What had happened?

Manufanix had good products and excellent contacts within the British automotive and aerospace industries. However, these industries were in decline, to the point where few companies remained and most already had the Manufanix software. The company’s global marketing and sales policy gave subsidiaries very little autonomy, so they could not make their own marketing decisions. Last, and by no means least, as the team shrunk, Alex was too busy trying to meet his quarterly sales targets to spend time on market analysis or producing reports that they felt would, in any case, be rejected by headquarters.

What Bardwyck recommended

Working with the team, Bardwyck came up with a roadmap for doing the following:
† A sales and marketing strategy that targeted industry sectors that suited the product range and were flourishing in the UK.
† Slight adjustments to the product range to suit these sectors.
† A co-ordinated marketing communications and sales strategy aimed at delivering optimal results.

What Bardwyck supplied

The whole project took 7 weeks from start to finish and cost just £15,000*. It included the following Bardwyck services:

  • Introductory workshop
  • Marketing audit
  • Strategy audit
  • Round-up
  • Report and recommended sales and marketing communications strategy

Bardwyk’s approach

One of Bardwyck’s consultants worked with Alex’s firm full-time for four weeks, beginning and ending with a workshop involving the whole management team. In the interim, they carried out interviews and undertook comprehensive research into the market. At the end of that period, working closely with Alex’s team, they came up with conclusive findings, recommendations and a totally new UK marketing strategy. Championed by the European General Manager, this was accepted by the US-based global marketing management and was put into practice, not just in the UK but, in an adapted form, elsewhere in the world. A year later, Manufanix’ profile had been raised to the point where management were able to sell out to a global software giant for over $225 million.