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Review of textiles engagement


This review examined one of the key themes, ‘Improving Customer Intimacy’, of Scottish Enterprise’s (SE’s) support programme for the textile industry 2010/11 – 2013/14. The support programme reflected an overarching theme of: creating, winning and retaining customers. The review set out to determine the value of this work for the companies involved and considers the benefits for the businesses involved, captures learning to date and makes recommendations on the future operation of the programme in the light of experience.


The review consisted of: a survey of 40 companies involved in 22 selected events (chosen from all geographies in which more than 4 companies were participating) to understand the resulting benefits they achieved and their views on the events and their suggestions for future events; consultations with the account managers of these companies; and analysis of monitoring data.


The review found that companies are generally happy with the events they attended and their objectives to increase sales and make contacts being achieved. Most of the companies achieved additional sales at the events, although, in some cases the level of sales were not as high as some companies would have preferred. Nevertheless, these sales came from the events only and although they may be limited and less than companies would prefer, the greatest value and real potential for the future may lie in the contacts made and how these can be exploited to achieve further sales in the coming years. The majority of companies were able to make new contacts through the events, allowing them to build an ongoing relationship with buyers over the longer term. For small companies the costs of attending events can be high, which could be an issue if the resulting sales and contacts are not sufficient to warrant the extra outlay. Company selection for the events also raised some issues from respondents in both the company survey and survey of account managers. Issues included: one company not having the capacity to fulfil orders they acquired; companies not making the most of the opportunities on offer; and larger companies receiving the greatest number of opportunities. However, respondent companies considered the events to be valuable not only for their own company, but also for the Scottish textiles industry as they provided opportunities for awareness-raising of the whole industry in Scotland for buyers/potential customers, allowing them to view the operation and gain an understanding of the process and quality. It was considered that the ability to have this would not be available to the industry without SE support. The overall majority of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to participate in future events and were generally happy with the format of events.


Recommendations were made to address any substantive issues that may have emerged. The potential opportunity for greater involvement of account managers both before and after the event in relation to any account managed companies involved was acknowledged. A follow-up process with non-account managed companies was recommended. In addition, it was suggested that: consideration is given to increasing the support given to companies prior to the events to ensure they have the necessary networking, selling and negotiating skills that will allow them to maximise the opportunities the events provide; there is closer examination of companies prior to being selected to attend events to ensure they have the capacity to fulfil any orders they may receive; and consideration could be given to providing smaller companies with additional support, therefore providing the opportunity to involve smaller companies in a greater number of events, which could support them to become more proficient at exporting.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2014
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors