Our business is structured around three sectors to support our customer and applications focus
Our operational model provides the framework for delivering exceptional customer experiences and sustainable growth.
In support of our strategy we have embedded clearly defined core capabilities across our businesses in the following areas:
Market Intimacy in the year
Through our commitment to market intimacy, we have developed stronger, more personalised relationships with our target customers, deepened our understanding of core markets, and opened opportunities for expansion into new and adjacent markets.
By establishing an intimate knowledge of our customers’ worlds, anticipating their challenges, and responding with a portfolio of products and solutions that helps them achieve their goals, we have grown our business in all our major markets. In addition to nurturing these relationships, we have used our market knowledge to expand into adjacent markets, driving new and incremental sales.
This expansion supports our growth objectives and is currently being applied with great success in larger, faster growth commercial markets. In the year, we built on our market intimacy strength, bringing in new talent with specific domain knowledge to augment our existing team.
Innovation and Product Development in the year
Innovation and product development is central to our business strategy and our heritage of innovation. We invest in creating differentiated products and key enabling technologies, informed by our customer and market intimacy. By understanding not just customer requirements, but also the challenges and opportunities they face – near and long-term – we have been able to invest in the development of more strategic solutions that deliver greater value and returns on investment.
These are the products and solutions that shift the paradigm of what is possible for our customers, transforming their capabilities and fuelling their growth and ours. In the year, we have increased our investment in strategic R&D, with a dual focus on new products and solutions that not only create maximum value for our existing customers but also enable us to expand into new or adjacent markets and support future growth, such as our new optical microscopy system, BC43, which offers research-level performance in a revolutionary ease of use benchtop system, with a significantly more accessible price point.
Our R&D spend increased 9.7% to £31.7m (2021: £28.9m), growing broadly in line with sales and representing 8.6% of revenue. To underpin our barriers to entry, we are more focused on protecting and expanding our intellectual property portfolio across our core markets. Our vitality index, representing the revenue from products launched in the last three years, was a healthy 34% of increased Group revenues (2021: 38%).
Operational Excellence in the year
Our operational excellence programme has enabled us to drive efficiencies and synergies across the Group which directly impact performance and growth. This includes strengthening our supply chain through executing a procurement strategy focused on leveraging our scale and building long-term strategic relationships with fewer suppliers, which has enabled us to mitigate the industry-wide supply chain challenges.
In addition, we embedded improved manufacturing processes and created centres of excellence to promote delivery across the wider Group. As we emerge from the pandemic, these investments in operational excellence will continue to support our performance this year and beyond.
Customer Support in the year
The covid-related travel restrictions of the past two years have heightened the importance of service continuity and the expectations from global customers. Through our customer service transformation programme, we are exploiting our market intimacy to provide service offerings tailored to the specific needs and goals of our customers for their usage, application and region, throughout the lifetime use of our products.
We have increased our investment in our regional service teams and have embedded remote digital support capabilities across our portfolio, ensuring we can deliver our global expertise locally, enhancing customer capabilities and productivity, with improved operational efficiency