“When I started at Brompton there was no long term planning,” admits Will Butler-Adams, managing director of Brompton Bicycle. “We were charging around like headless chickens, trying to sort this and that out but we were going round and round in circles. We needed to get our head out of the mire and think about where we wanted to go. We didn’t even have a meeting room!”
Gradually, the planning process has formalised. The company now has its regular monthly meetings, its away days, and teams visit other businesses.
“As we have grown, we have pulled ourselves out of busy-ness,” says Butler-Adams. And that led to understanding that there is an enormous amount of material and advice to support the growth of the company. “There is nothing we are doing that other people haven’t done before,” he says. “There are so many companies who have been where we are going.”
Over the years Brompton has used the Manufacturing Advisory Service – to assist with the implementation of lean manufacturing – as well as drawing extensively on support from UKTI. A division of the company has had support from Growth Accelerator.
“There are lots of people dying to help British businesses,” he says. “In our early days we didn’t use this but now we have got good at getting help. And it all started by recognising that we couldn’t just carry on by sorting out tomorrow’s problems but looking up and deciding on where we were going as a company.”
Brompton prides itself on it’s bikes being handmade in the UK. The map below shows the variety of suppliers and manufacturers from across the country that contribute to a Brompton bicycle.