Design consultancy: Thompson Brand Partners
Advertiser: James Heal

Executive Summary

British manufacturing has faced a torrid time over the last 30 years. Low cost overseas products have forced down prices, driving many companies out of business. Textiles has been hit particularly hard.

This is the story of how design helped one of the stalwarts of the Yorkshire industry not only to survive, but to prosper.

James Heal manufactures instruments that test the standards of new clothing. Whether for colour fastness, tear, abrasion or pilling, James Heal has developed instruments to test everything. 90% are exported.

By 2010, the company faced a severe challenge. Its major competitor had shifted manufacturing to China; leaving James Heal under pressure to discount. This was despite the Company's product being perceived as the 'most reliable' and 'well-engineered' on the market. Turnover remained static, but profit was being eroded. The Company needed to quickly establish an alternative strategy and this is where Thompson came in.