The hidden gems of manufacturing: Why collaborating with small businesses yields big benefits

Louise O’Brien
4 September, 23

While the UK is still the ninth-largest manufacturing nation in the world, it is undeniable that the past few years have been tough for those in the manufacturing sector. Between the pandemic, a recession, and a recruitment crisis, the woes and troubles felt by the industry don’t seem to be shifting any time soon. But I think that we, as an industry, often look towards traditional routes of growth too often when we predict rough seas, which can limit us in the long run. Instead, we should be looking for those hidden gems that could not only be your golden ticket to innovation but also the expansion of the UK manufacturing sector.

Small businesses could be one of many things your business needs to boost growth.

Small Business Partnerships

When businesses think of increased profit, it’s often a good idea to look towards bigger scaled businesses to sustain that growth as big brands are the main backbones of the manufacturing economy success. But equally, many small businesses can hold their own when it comes to sustainable growth.

Throughout my time as Managing Director of Greyhound Box, we as a team have always incorporated smaller brands into our business strategy. We have worked with other entrepreneurs from the idea conception stage to the creation of product packaging, as part of our commitment to supporting the wider Northern manufacturing sector. To date, our team has worked with businesses in a variety of sectors including confectionery, alcohol distribution, electronic accessories, and large-scale automobile manufacturing. All of which have now resulted in long-term positive relationships and growth.

On reflection of these experiences, here are our three reasons why I will always embrace working with small businesses:

Reason 1: Increased Innovation

One of the main reasons I would recommend you consider an increased collaboration with smaller businesses is their ability to get creative. The more I work with independent brands the more I see that they have a great ability to innovate and to be flexible with their products.

For us here at Greyhound Box, this has often meant that they are also flexible with their packaging. Many of the projects we have completed with smaller businesses have seen the creation of some of our most innovative cardboard box solutions, as well as some of their most cutting-edge products, as they are often willing to take risks and invest in R&D.

Reason 2: Wider Avenues of Revenue

With the British economy going through a rapid cycle of economic changes, having multiple income avenues is essential to sustainable business growth and that includes your access to grants.

While there are plenty of government funding streams available to help businesses of all sizes grow, many smaller businesses qualify for a wider array of these streams as a result of their size. Giving them the opportunity to invest in things such as R&D and new export markets. A quality that many businesses miss when taking them on as clients.

Reason 3: Expansion Within the Manufacturing Sector

The third reason that I believe that small businesses could help you yield big benefits, is because they have the potential to become the big businesses of tomorrow. Therefore, by collaborating with them and fostering innovation within their space, you are by extension, working towards the long-term evolution of the manufacturing sector.

At the end of the day, growth creates growth. As we go forward, we as a sector need to keep this at the forefront of our minds and start to foster the expansion of all businesses regardless of their size to create a thriving manufacturing community that will last long into the future.

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