Guest post: Worldwide opportunities

MD, Rob Ferris, shares some of the key factors that have been vital to Feritech Global’s success.

Feritech MD Rob Ferris

Ever since Feritech was founded in 2012, we have been focused on international markets. Over 95% of the company’s products and services are exported, and we now have customers in more than 40 countries. We provide marine engineering services to a range of sectors, including oil and gas, renewables, geophysical surveying, cables, dredging operations, pipelines, ports and harbours.

Our track record demonstrates that Cornish engineering businesses can successfully compete with the very best in the world. All of our equipment is manufactured at our base in Cornwall; we hire Cornish staff (including young apprentices) and we work with Cornwall-based suppliers.

I have tried to identify the key factors that I believe have been vital to our success.

I am sharing these here in case they are any help and pointers to other businesses, as they consider their own export potential.

Here they are:

  1. Innovation. This is the driving force of our company. We pride ourselves on being able to take on virtually any technical challenge and come up with a solution. Our motto is that we “make complex operations look simple.” International markets are competitive and you need to keep innovating to stay ahead.
  2. Customer relationship building: We work hard to build enduring relationships with our customers and as a result, a high proportion of our business is either repeat business or based on word of mouth recommendation. Our customers know they can turn to us to bring innovation and engineering ingenuity to any problem.
  3. Collaboration and partnership working: We build strong partnerships across the supply chain, often working in collaboration with others. Sometimes we work as lead partner, sometimes as sub-contractor, sometimes as part of a consortium. Our ability to work seamlessly with partners is a real competitive strength. We take a long term approach to our partnerships and always work towards the common good.
  4. Investment in facilities: Our new £3 million Innovation Centre will be the one of the best equipped manufacturing facilities in the UK and the only facility in the South West offering a full range of advanced engineering services on one site. This will enable us to offer improved service to our international customers and enter new market sectors such as aerospace and telecoms. It is vital to have the facilities you need to sustain growth.
  5. Excellent local representation. We have an increasing network of international sales distributors, with representatives in China, Singapore, Colombia, Germany and Spain. This year we are expanding this to include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
  6. Brand Communications: We invest in raising our profile in international trade media. Through our Cornwall-based marketing agency Brand Innovation, Feritech achieves coverage in prestigious titles such as Ocean News & Technology, Offshore Source and Hydro International, which all have worldwide readership. This builds our international trade by consolidating our reputation, as well helping us reach potential new customers.
  7. A skilled team with an international outlook. Our offshore engineers spend long periods based around the world. As many of our team have years of international engineering experience, they are well versed in adapting to different cultures, languages and ways of working. I myself worked extensively in Africa during the early part of my career. If you are going to build an international business, it’s important that your team have an international outlook and are able to adapt to different cultures.

Through applying these principles, Feritech was able to grow its export business by over 50% during 2021, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. We were delighted to be given the ‘International Success’ award at the 2021 Tech South West Awards.

Looking to the future, we see many more exciting opportunities.

The growth of the Floating Offshore Wind energy sector is a technology where the UK has a chance to lead the world – and the Celtic Sea will be a prime location for its development. Feritech has also won the contract for the geotechnical surveying for a 4,000km cable route between Singapore and Australia. This will be the longest subsea cable ever laid worldwide.

We work in an exciting and fast moving industry and we are thrilled to be able to make the most of international opportunities from our base in Cornwall.


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