23 May 2012
Fascinating presentation from Mark Edmonds, managing director of Gripple, on product innovation. The company is the market leader in steel wire joiners and tensioners and Mark described how the basic ‘gripple’ product, developed for use in agriculture to join and tension crop wires, has been adapted for new applications in construction, shop fitting and siesmic bracing.
Gripple currently manufacture on five continents, with the main driver being proximity to market rather than offshoring production to reduce costs.
Edmonds was the main speaker at the Manufactuirng Lunch hosted by Grant Thornton in Leeds. He described how innovation has been placed at the core of the business, with firm targets for turnover generated from new products and KPIs for product development staff to spend time in the field with customers.
Key message is that innovation isn’t just about product, it’s about the full service offer, but it’s also about getting as close as possible to your customer and understanding the challenges they face.
And the key thing that government can do to support manufacturing? Introduce capital allowances to encourage investment: “Manufacturers are ready and willing to invest. We need government to oil the wheels.”