Field-levelling for smaller players

This week we examine how to keep up with the big boys and prove that with the right technology, size doesn’t matter

All small engineering companies are part of supply chains of one form or another. The chains are driven by the challenge of meeting new customers’ needs – on price, quality delivery, speed, flexibility and responsiveness. With the advent of technology such as the internet and web, competition is more fierce and more global than ever before.

Exploiting technology will help small engineering companies to stay one step ahead. The first step is to use technology to connect the internal links in a business: sales, order processing, production planning, stores and purchasing. This will boost efficiency, profits and competitiveness – even the ability to stay in business. Improving external links with customers and suppliers will help achieve the same benefits.

Birmingham-based Britannia Heat Transfer uses a wide, but fairly standard, range of technologies such as the internet, e-maill, an internal network, software and database packages. Its turnover increased by 58% in 1999. Ged Pierce, the company’s general manager, says: `Technologies are essential to be competitive – there is no reason to delay adoption.’

The DTI-led Information Society Initiative has a network of nearly 100 ISI Centres with advisers able to provide independent, jargon-free advice on all aspects of new technologies. For further information contact the ISI Infoline on 0845 715 2000 or visit the web site at: www.isi.gov.uk