Understanding processes

Howes Percival

1st April 2019

Manufacturing & Export

Howes Percival

By Matthew Thompson

Associate Solicitor

Howes Percival LLP

ACCORDING to recent research by The Manufacturer, the worldwide manufacturing industry contributes £6.7 trillion to the global economy. Despite scaremongering from the tabloid press, the manufacturing industry is, in fact, flourishing in the UK and contributes 44per cent towards UK exports. Therefore, whatever Brexit ends up looking like for the UK, Howes Percival are firmly of the belief that our country's capacity to 'make things' remains at the core of our economy.

Although I absolutely recognise that we are firmly from the professional services sector, nothing excites me more than visiting a brand new manufacturing client, and walking around the shop floor to see things being made and how it is done. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a tour of a factory at Moulton Park of a client who have just extended their premises to cope with increasing demand from their customer base. Not only is it a joy to be able witness first-hand the intricate balance of automated, high-powered machinery, alongside detailed hand-finished products, but it also helps us understand how the manufacturing process works so that we can ensure our client's legal documents are tailored to their exact requirements.

As lawyers advising Northamptonshire's manufacturers every day, we know what the stress points are for manufacturers and we can hopefully help find solutions (certainly to their legal problems!). Very often, the solution lies in ensuring the client has robust contract terms that are properly incorporated into its contracts. This requires a mix of careful drafting derived from a thorough understanding of the business (that's why a site visit is so helpful) together with staff who have been properly trained on how to implement those trading terms, and ensure that what happens in practice is reflected in the terms.

The export market is only going to become more important to the economy, irrespective of the outcome of the ongoing Brexit debate. Here, the use of well drafted and appropriate terms is even more important. For example, do your terms cover both what law governs the contract (hopefully English Law) and the venue for determining any disputes (hopefully the English Courts)? If not, (and we have seen this in practice where only the choice of law is covered, and not the choice of venue) you could end up litigating your dispute under English Law but in the South Korean Court! Not an ideal, cost effective outcome for clients based in the middle of the UK.

For a firm foundation from which to develop a successful manufacturing and exporting business, there is no substitute for robust and relevant trading terms. For further help contact matthew.thompson@howespercival.com or call 01604 230400.

Howes Percival