Creating a competitive advantage through R&D

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A Sheffield Forgemasters International case study With its headquarters in Sheffield, SFIL is the parent company of seven subsidiary companies. These provide steel forgings, castings and engineering solutions to customers around the world. The business operates in many sectors, including defence, nuclear, offshore oil and gas, power generation, marine and construction. Despite a steady decline in steel manufacture in the UK over the past few decades, SFIL has continued to grow. It is now a world leader in heavy steel castings and steel forgings. Like any business, SFIL can be affected by various factors in the external environment in which it operates. These factors are often grouped under six headings: political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (PESTEL). Companies need to understand these factors to make sure they develop strategies to remain competitive. They need to find ways to manage and influence the external environment effectively. This case study shows how SFIL uses research and development (R&D) to sustain its competitive advantage. As Dr Graham Honeyman, chief executive of SFIL, has noted: ‘Research and development is the fastest growing area of this company and is fundamental to the strategy of the business.’ This case study features two of these solutions:…

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