Rautomead, with over 30 years of steady business behind it, is currently enjoying rapid growth. With the support of SE in R&D and new market opportunities, Rautomead’s reputation as the leading global provider of continuous casting technology is growing.
Established 1978, Rautomead is a Dundee-based company that designs and manufactures continuous casting technology and equipment for non-ferrous metals and alloys including copper, copper alloys, gold and silver. After steadily maintaining the business over the last three decades, Rautomead has undergone a step change, investing in R&D, successfully instilling a culture of innovation and generating further significant new business overseas. Increasing its turnover by over 40% to £7.8m, to end 2010, and increasing staffing levels by almost 40%, Rautomead's vision is to maintain and further strengthen the position of the company as the leading provider of continuous casting technology globally.
Dundee-based Rautomead maintained a steady business manufacturing continuous casting equipment for over 30 years. Shifting a company that is stable, knows its market and delivers, to one that is dynamic with a culture of innovation and a thirst for new markets on a global scale was the task of new MD Brian Frame, and his management team. With Scottish Enterprise’s involvement, as an account-managed company, Rautomead has more than delivered on that vision with a global reputation for innovation and an international market currently sitting at 43 countries.
Scottish Enterprise Account Manager Carri Cusick and Brian Frame coincided in their involvement with Rautomead about three years ago. The main areas of support from SE have been research and development (R&D) and international development through Scottish Development International (SDI), SE’s international trade and investment service – both crucial to the development of new markets.
“The R&D side has been absolutely instrumental in changing the way forward for us,” says Brian. “We embarked on a serious research and development programme. We make the equipment that people use for continuous casting, but in order to sell those machines into new markets we need to trial-cast new materials in order to prove that they can be processed effectively. We now have a dedicated R&D facility unit with two casting machines purely for development work, and are in the process of creating another. We have teamed up with a doctorate programme at Brunel University and are in discussions with universities closer to home to work long-term on innovating the products and process. There are currently about six serious R&D developments going on, so I think we can safely say that we have established a culture of innovation within the company and are creating potential new markets all the time.”
“SE understands the costs and risks involved in ‘taking people off the shop floor’ to undertake R&D” says Carri, “so helping to cover salary costs, overheads and material costs – helped share this risk.”
Rautomead was keen to formalise a structure for innovation within the company. “Supported by SE, consultants specialising in innovation delivered training to staff across four workshops – they focused on how to think innovatively, how to generate ideas and how to put those ideas into practice,” says Carri.
Developing new markets for those innovations was important. Brian explains: “We have created a division to attract new development opportunities from both home and abroad. Germany for example is now like a ‘home town’. We currently have a team going to Bangkok, we attended trade shows in the US this year, and have already attended one in Dubai. We use these opportunities to meet with prospective customers, as well as highlighting and showcasing any new product offerings we have developed. Scottish Development International, through SE, has been really helpful in making this happen and also introducing us to networks of potential business such at UKTI and CBBC.”
Brian explains: “We need a presence at specific events such as metallurgy conventions or seminars on high speed rail networks to develop new markets. SE has been very supportive in enabling this. Carri and I sit down every year and discuss a programme of international events.” Rautomead now sells to a truly global market, currently sitting at around 43 countries, including Japan, Thailand, China and Germany.
Says Carri: “Despite the costs, an economic downturn can be the most effective time for companies to invest in market development activity – particularly for global businesses like Rautomead. Companies need to maintain or raise their profile, and promote their products.”
In just three years Rautomead has changed dramatically, both with respect to its reputation for innovation and its constant development of the market. In 2010 the company increased staffing levels from 36 to 50 full time employees, an increase of almost 40%, turnover has grown to £7.8m, an increase of over 40% with a projected turnover in 2011 year of £8.0m.
The company now has a truly global reach which currently spans around 43 countries. It has a five-year fellowship with Brunel University as part of its Post Doctorate programme and is in the process of developing partnerships with local universities.
Carri Cusick, Account Manager, SE
“Rautomead is a company that has a vision, it knows where it wants to go and works very effectively with SE in allowing us to help it reach its goals. It is not a company that rests on its laurels but one with a very good grasp on the future.”
Brian Frame, MD, Rautomead
“SE Account Managers, SDI and SMAS have been excellent. They really understand the business and know where we want to go. Particularly impressive is the way they are able to not only advise, but bring in the right support just when we need it.”
is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.
Scottish Development International (SDI) works to attract inward investment and knowledge to Scotland to help the economy grow. It also helps Scottish based companies to trade overseas and promotes Scotland as a good place to live, work and do business. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland.