In 1990, the UK was about to enter a decade that would transform domestic industry and business. Margaret Thatcher left office in November, the end of a premiership in which huge swathes of Britain’s manufacturing industry, from cars to household goods, had been privatised and moved offshore. Bott was only a small company at this point, but the aim of producing workplace storage of exceptional quality, a product that was ‘built to last’, would become a core ideal in the growth and development of the business over the next 25 years.
During this period, developing a successful business that relied on products engineered and manufactured in the UK was far from a straightforward task. There was little faith in British industry and further blows to the economy, particularly the forced withdrawal of the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) on what came to be known as Black Wednesday, left the economy in a particularly precarious state.
Relying purely on economic ‘good fortune’ as a growth factor was therefore simply not an option for Bott. Instead, the company looked to build lasting business relationships with customers who prized quality, reliability and innovation. As a result of this, one of the earliest Bott customers, Plymouth University, is also one that has remained with the business for the following quarter century, using Bott workplace storage for their marine science and engineering laboratories. Even after 25 years, Bott products are still described by lecturer Tony Tapp as “an integral part of our laboratory”, praise reflects both the longevity and the success of the relationship with Plymouth University.
Great business relationships with clients come from a product that delivers on its potential and a company that can provide it quickly and efficiently. To this end, Bott has tried to embody the principles of lean manufacturing, in everything from design to production and delivery. One of the key aspects of lean manufacturing is the elimination of waste, whether from the process itself, overburdening certain areas, or an uneven spread of workloads. Bott have worked to create an efficient, built to order system, ensuring that the factory only spends time designing and creating the exact workplace storage pieces required by a client. This then allows far more precise estimations in terms of raw materials, manpower, and machinery, which in turn frees up resources that can be used to help grow Bott as a company. It’s a long and exacting process, but since 1990, Bott has grown from a small company in Bude with an annual turnover of £5 million, to an international business with two UK sites, hundreds of employees and a projected turnover in 2015 of £42 million.
25 years of growth and success as a business isn’t perhaps as long as some other companies in the UK, nor can we claim to be the only company to achieve this feat. However, we believe that what makes Bott truly built to last is our recognition that longevity can be be just as valuable to a company as innovation, security as important as unbridled success. We love embracing new technology, from the machines that shape our products to the latest design and communication software in our offices and design rooms; but just as vital to our success have been the apprentices that began working for Bott in the early 90’s, now shaping the company’s future, and the products that our clients bought a decade ago that still work perfectly. Ultimately, being built to last is about understanding Bott’s first achievements as a small company 25 years ago and recognising their ongoing value as the secure platform on which we continue to innovate, grow and succeed.SHARE: