Marketing and competitiveness : a survey of current practice and performance in the UK textile machinery industry
In common with many other branches of engineering in the UK, the textile engineering industry has lost its competitiveness in international markets. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the reasons underlying this decline. In particular, the research focused on understanding the role that marketing factors have played in the declining competitiveness of the industry and the means by which British management and the government may be able to overcome this problem and improve the competitive situation of the industry. A thorough examination of the literature dealing with competitiveness was carried out and based upon this, specific hypotheses were formulated and tested. The empirical investigation was carried out during the period between March and June 1986. A questionnaire was mailed to 128 firms in the British textile machinery industry. The subsequent analysis is based on a total sample of 31 companies which is considered to be reasonably representative of the industry as a whole. The findings of the field work revealed that the steady decline of the UK textile machinery industry international competitiveness is linked to a lack of marketing orientation. Many British companies are production or sales-oriented rather than marketing oriented. By contrast, the in-roads being made into the UK market by foreign textile machinery manufacturers were largely based on a strategy aimed at satisfying customer needs and wants. To improve the performance of this industry in the UK, it is recommended that a marketing oriented approach should be adopted by British management and the government should take steps to remove the obstacles which impede the performance of the industry, such as inadequate investment, lack of qualified R&D personnel and the proliferation of bureaucratic practices.