Westaway Sausages are a family owned SME based in the heart of Devon, that specialises in producing authentic “Butchers Style” sausages. They use selected cuts of British pork which they mince and mix and then fill in natural casings. They have won many awards for their sausages including recently the UK Export sausage of the year. Westaway can produce up to 250,000 sausages a day and supply retailers, wholesalers and business users throughout the UK. They have been exporting for 10 years, and during this period managed to be the first to market in countries as wide apart in culture and distance as Japan and India. From their charismatic website, to the heritage that goes back over 100 years and the provenance of their West Country roots and stunning countryside Westaway Sausages seeks to be remarkable in everything they do.
Westaways believe there are two activities that are absolutely key to success in the food manufacturing sector, these are food safety and innovation. But in addition to this Westaway Sausages prides itself on being open-minded and dynamic, as a result they have established a large “digital footprint” on the internet which in turn really helps their search engine optimisation. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and media content help build the reputation of Westaway as “the Sausage Experts”.
The Southeast Asian Experience
In Southeast Asia life moves at a different pace to rural Devon so Westaways see it as vital that their expertise is supported by remarkable service levels and response times. Time and time again this wins them business ahead of larger slower moving companies where senior management is not so focused on the opportunities for export. This in turn helps build long-term partnerships and trust with distributors of their sausages in Asia.
On the back of establishing and growing the market for British Pork Sausages in Hong Kong, Westaways joined a Trade Mission organised by UKTI to Singapore, this led to them identifying a distributor to work with in Singapore. At the same time, a meat distributor in Malaysia made contact through Facebook which led to further business in the region. Although Southeast Asia is made up of many languages, cultures and countries, networks are incredibly important and most distributors will know each other well and recognise the geographical area or business sector that each distributor is strong in. As a result, if you have built trust with a single distributor then often you are introduced by them to other distributors and new opportunities. As a result of this, even stronger partnerships and friendships are built. Often these relationships extend outside Southeast Asia and so a visit to a Trade Fair in Europe might result in chance meetings and introductions that provide further opportunities.
Charles Baughan’s (Managing Director) Top Tips
- Commitment of Senior Management to Export
- Flexible approach to products and packaging to ensure it is right for a given market
- Do not expect too much early on, play the long game.
- Be honest, be responsive
- Realise that the internet is not just about a website, it should help support the ethos of your company.
- Know your product or service