Naylor Industries is a fourth generation Yorkshire family business, founded in 1890 as a manufacturer of clay sewer pipes. When Edward Naylor took over the business in 1993, it was overly dependent on the UK market and its range largely comprised of commodity products, which were low value and economically challenging to ship and sell overseas.
Subsequent years have seen the company instigate a successful programme of product development: "We had to diversify away from commodity marketplaces and develop high performance products, which would allow us to penetrate higher value international markets" says Naylor.
The company has developed world expertise in two key areas - trenchless pipe installation and corrosion resistant drainage, which have allowed it to penetrate new international markets, including in South East Asia, the Middle East and Australasia.
Naylor has exported to 65 countries globally but some of its greatest success has been in South-East Asia. The company's products are now well-established in Singapore and Brunei and recent years have seen Naylor widening its foothold across one of the world's fastest-growing regions, with other countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia showing good early promise.
"We see huge potential in ASEAN; it is already one of our most important regions. Whilst the various ASEAN members are all at different stages of infrastructure development, economic and population growth will inevitably drive significant further investment" says Naylor.
"We struggled with local competition when we first started exporting, but the development of more specialised products has allowed us to target higher value opportunities and develop strong market positions based on product performance rather than price."
We see huge potential in ASEAN; it is already one of our most important regions.
In particular, Naylor's super-strong Denlok clay jacking pipe is a winner in SE Asia - it is designed for trenchless installation, allowing busy urban areas to install sewerage infrastructure with minimal surface disruption - and there are plenty of cities in the region whose streets have quite enough congestion without digging up the roads.
In what is a diverse region, with a significant mix of languages and cultures, a vital element of Naylor's strategy has been establishing a local presence. Naylor has appointed a locally based Technical Manager for the SE Asian region, James Luk, who is multi-lingual and versed in the local business culture as well as the technology governing Naylor's products.
"As with any market, it's about people and having someone with language skills and cultural knowledge is a terrific asset. We saw the benefit at a recent trade show, where James was able to converse in Mandarin with some important Chinese contractors," says Naylor.
"The added bonus is that he is locally based and able to jump on a short-haul flight for a one hour meeting or site visit, allowing for great responsiveness and leaving the company well placed to tap into the region's huge potential."
"We struggled with local competition when we first started exporting, but the development of more specialised products has allowed us to target higher value opportunities"