Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The impact of the Far East on the UK ceramic industry : design, marketing and consumption c1990-2010
Author: Ewins , Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 2006
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The overarching focus of this thesis is to explore UK ceramic manufacturing strategy, marketing and design, in response to the impact of the Far East from c1990-201O, in a context of globalization and marketing literature. Within the period, Far Eastern ceramic imports have surged, and UK ceramic brands have increasingly utilized cheap labour abroad, known as outsourcing. However, not all UK production has been shifted abroad relating to what economists have defined as regional resilience. A limitation of economic and organizational accounts of the UK ceramic industry is that these have not recorded actual changes to ceramic marketing and design, and this has been undertaken by this thesis. Furthermore, the research explores whether the paradoxical behaviour of UK manufacturers (as evidenced by marketing and design) reflects manufacturing and design issues (summarized as design agility), and issues related to consumer perception. The UK industry is rather synonymous with a distinctive heritage and region, producing items that can still be handcrafted or intended as collectables. It was determined that UK ceramic company collapses were related to the impact of Far Eastern competition, although there has been a decline in bridal markets, and products for formal dining. However, Far Eastern competition resulted in experiments in new types of UK production, repositioning of brands, and companies offering greater bespoke services. In spite of competition, small, new companies have been established, relying on UK manufacture. Outsourcing, or continued UK production resulted in new backstamps. Surface pattern designs were also influenced by the debate about 'place of origin'. Interviews undertaken with manufacturers producing in the UK, and those who outsource abroad explored the issues of design agility and perception. A ceramic designer determined whether changes in working practices slowed down design development. Retailers engaged in different levels of the ceramic market confirmed changes in demand, and the degree to which consumers were concerned with place of origin. Outsourced historical and status tableware brands were reported as sensitive to place of production. In spite of marketing tendencies, maintaining design agility was often linked by tableware manufacturers to why UK production continues. Rarely, in this category, has UK production continued, or returned because of perception. Perception issues were linked to UK manufacturers of collectables, mirroring theoretical observations. It is concluded that whilst issues of manufacturing and design agility, and perception issues have been influential, the thesis has also revealed other reasons for maintaining production in the UK linked to company ownership, and thus the role of individual choice, and preserving the secrecy of certain manufacturing processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available