Manufacturing: Making it Globally

Manufacturing is widely regarded to be the backbone of the UK economy. However, while small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been the focus of much recent debate, the importance of large manufacturing businesses should not be underestimated. In this report we explore the international activities and operations of large UK manufacturing businesses. The report focuses on understanding what it means to develop international operations, and highlights the need for manufacturers to think locally while acting globally.

This research finds that the way in which large manufacturers develop international operations is necessarily heterogeneous. While it is possible to identify different strategic approaches towards internationalisation and examples of good practice, there is no single model. The challenge for manufacturers’ senior management is in identifying what works in terms of why to internationalise, how to implement internationalisation and what forms international operations can take. Furthermore, judging how and when to seek external support, whether from the public or private sector, is a key challenge for many…

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