Manufacturing In Scilly Is ‘Buoyant’

Martyn Pearson (right)

The manufacturing industry in Scilly is ‘buoyant’, in contrast to the popular belief that our islands just focus on tourism.

That’s according to Martyn Pearson from the Manufacturing Advisory Service, who has been coming to Scilly regularly to provide advice to help small businesses grow.

Martyn says he’s supported a wide range of manufacturing companies here in Scilly, from food and drink through to construction and, although they’re often small, with 2 or 3 employees, that’s no different from many businesses in rural areas of Devon and Cornwall.

MAS have traditionally offered support and grants for product and manufacturing improvements, but Martyn says that is now expanding to advice on supply chains, business strategy and new product development.

And it’s not just about increasing production either. He has recently helped a St Mary’s company to identify and eliminate waste from their manufacturing process, something he refers to as ‘non-value’ activity, which has increased the efficiency and profitability of the business.

Product strategy has also become important to businesses, particularly identifying what sectors and customers to target.

And this is one area that Martyn thinks our businesses should develop.

He said manufacturers need to look outside the islands to find new markets, as well as expertise, on the mainland.

Martyn has helped four local businesses to make ‘best practise visits’ to larger manufacturers based in Cornwall. He says these visits are very worthwhile because people can learn first-hand from others who have already been successful.

And he says the mainland companies have been only too pleased to help.

Martyn says there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to manufacturing support.

He says business owners range from those that desperately want to grow their business and have the drive and energy to succeed, through to those who want to stay relatively small and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle that our islands can provide.

Martyn has received a great deal of support from the Council’s Economic Development Office, who often let him know about new businesses who might need a hand.

But he’s also been dealing with clients from 3 or 4 years ago who benefitted from his original support and now want to move up another gear.

Martyn is next over in April and any business looking for advice and support should contact the Economic Development Office at Porthmellon.