Thinking global - acting local
A Morgan Crucible case study

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Page 2: Building a strategy

Morgan Crucible 2 Diagram 3When it comes to moving forward during an uncertain period, an organisation must have something to aim for, which is a clear definition of where it wants to go. Strategies are simply the means of getting there. It was important for Morgan Crucible to match its strategic direction with its strengths. This would help it to counter threats from within its business environment and yet also be able to take advantage of new opportunities as and when they arose. Morgan’s strengths at the time were:

  • expertise in materials technology
  • application engineering
  • a high potential for new products
  • good overseas bases.

Morgan Crucible 2 Diagram 2These strengths were only part of the picture. No business can be successful without good people and not only did Morgan Crucible have good people, it had good people with good ideas. People were the Group’s greatest asset.

For an organisation to move forward quickly, it has to define where it wants to go, but at the same time set a target which is achievable. Morgan Crucible’s goal was to become ‘World Niche Market Leader in Materials Technology’. The way to get there was through having low cost production and high quality application engineering, whilst at the same time providing technically advanced services coupled with excellence in quality and flexibility in distribution.

Strategies involve the matching of everything an organisation does to the needs and requirements of their markets. For Morgan Crucible to develop into a 21st century company it had to introduce major changes across the organisation. A significant feature of this process of growth was to be able to develop new materials, products and markets. Sales growth were significant. In 1981 65% of Morgan’s sales were within the UK. By the mid-90s this had fallen to 13%.

Operating structure 

Morgan Crucible’s Product Divisions are divided into four distinct areas:

  • CARBON DIVISION - 44 operations in 30 countries. Carbon products account for 21% of total sales. This Division is a world leader in its field, manufacturing a diverse range of electrical carbon materials and components such as brushes used in electric motors for automotive applications, domestic appliances, railways, aerospace and consumer durables. Morgan produces hundreds of special carbon formulations enabling it to make millions of electric motor brushes used in transportation, domestic appliances, power tools and electronically powered equipment in general.
  • TECHNICAL CERAMICS DIVISION - 43 operations in 18 countries This accounts for 25% of total sales. The Divisions technical ceramics are specified for the most demanding wear, chemical, high temperature and strength applications in a wide variety of industries. Products range from laser tubes, seals and shafts for pumps and high voltage insulators to infra-red plaques used in high speed industrial heating and cooking. These high purity ceramic components are used in applications as diverse as domestic electric heating appliances, laser systems and, microwave communication products.
  • THERMAL CERAMICS DIVISION - 39 operations in 21 countries. Thermal Ceramics account for 35% of total sales. This Division is the world leader in the development and manufacture of insulating fibre, high temperature insulating bricks and crucibles. The Division’s main markets are the aluminium, steel, ceramics, petrochemical, cement, glass and construction industries. A selection of high performance refactories: silicon nitride melting crucible, high purity alumina assayware and insulating fibre used for high temperature processing applications.
  • SPECIALITY MATERIALS DIVISION - 27 operations in 9 countries. This accounts for the final 19% of total sales. The Division manufactures advanced lubricants and industrial and electronics maintenance aids for a wide range of applications. These include corrosion control, fuel conditioning, metal forming and desoldering of printed circuit boards.

Morgan Crucible | Thinking global - acting local