The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest analysis of the coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy revealed that monthly gross domestic product (GDP) in December 2020 was 6.3 per cent below the level of February 2020. Yet, while UK manufacturing output was overall 3.4 per cent weaker than the February 2020 level, in December 2020, many manufacturing industries surpassed their level of output in February 2020.
Swansea-based Lumishore is one of those UK manufacturers to have seen overall growth since the start of the pandemic. In an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.com, CEO Eifrion Evans explains how its success has been a result of the business’ response in the immediate aftermath of the first UK lockdown.
“Everyone thought it was going to be the end of the world for three months,” recalls Evans. “Then there were two schools of thought; those who decided to be cautious and those who decided to go for it – we decided to go for it. In business terms, we had a terrible three months from March 2020, and yet we had the best year we’ve ever had last year.”
Evans acknowledges that the company has benefited from the impact that the pandemic has had on boating – as it has on most outdoor activities – with the world’s population left with little else to do than enjoy the great outdoors. However, the challenges that the pandemic presented to the running of the business were unlike anything he has encountered before, with particular commercial hurdles due to Lumishore’s global sales network.
“Market geographies have all been very different in how they have responded to the pandemic and the needs that they have had...”
“Market geographies have all been very different in how they have responded to the pandemic and the needs that they have had,” Evans explains. “The response of the superyacht industry, for example, made us question how we sold, because understanding customer needs is fundamentally more difficult in the pandemic. So, we rolled out a programme of appointing a local presence in each key market – made up of the best local people who understand the demographic and superyachts – to sell on our behalf.”
As a result, Lumishore has expanded its matrix of agents on the ground in Italy, Germany and Spain, most recently announcing a new partnership with Totallux, which has become Lumishore’s superyacht sales agent and leisure marine distributor in Holland. While the pandemic was a catalyst for this roll out, Evans acknowledges that the need was always there, and the pandemic has just accelerated the process.
And it’s not only an expanded sales network that has been achieved over the last year; the company has also managed to strengthen its supply chain. While the pandemic has caused disruption to component supply worldwide, particularly within electronic components, Lumishore has been able to protect itself from any difficulties through some crucial pre-planning.
“We recognised the issue last June and put an awful lot of effort into stocking and increasing our basic inventories,” adds Evans. “We buy components from the UK and Europe, and then build our products ourselves, so it was important that we knew what our supply chains looked like early on. Add Brexit into the mix and we made a conscious decision to increase our component work-in-progress levels. And that was a lucky decision, because now we are attracting new customers because of our supply levels compared to the rest of the market.”
With additional growth in its R&D team department, last year has also seen Lumishore launch a new patented superyacht product: the new SY225 Louvre Compact, a weld-in lighting system with adjustable ‘Louvre’ LED array, was launched in October 2020. Evans also promises a “major” new superyacht system coming out for 2022, with patent approval currently pending.
Images courtesy of Lumishore
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