Ardmel Automation continues the Scottish fight to remain at the forefront of innovation
If you were to ask people from across the globe what images the word ‘Scotland’ evoked for them, you would probably be met with descriptions of kilts, bagpipes and sea monsters. These commentators would certainly not be wrong, and Scotland is a country that holds great pride in its traditions, but it is often forgotten that, historically, one of Scotland’s great legacies is as a nation of innovators.
Nearly every element of British industry is indebted to Scottish work. During the 28th and early 19th centuries, the country led the world in intellectual and scientific accomplishments, with the era now referred to as the 'Scottish Enlightenment'. The economics of Adam Smith, the poetry of Robert Burns and the philosophy of David Hume all arose from an land of great fertility when it came to new ideas.
This culture is one that has ingrained itself deep within the Scottish mindset. This week, Holyrood magazine published that ’77 per cent of Scottish research was classified as either world leading or internationally excellent’, with 85.9 per cent being ‘judged to have an outstanding or very considerable impact on the economy, society and culture’.
An organisation with their own rich history in innovation is the Fife based Ardmel Group. Established in 1974 by Sri Lankan born Rube Fernando, the organisation has grown from a small turnkey engineering operation to a multinational company employing 1,200 staff. While strong business practices have played their role in the company’s growth, a significant part of their success has come from innovation, with the company winning two Queen’s Awards in the field, one for ultrasonic equipment that allowed materials to be joined without stitching, and the other for their System Dual Protection, which managed inside condensation for rainwear. Fernando says of his approach to the business that ‘vision is key’, adding ‘it is always important to look at the long-term view and not to focus on the bottom line’.
As with so many Scottish enterprises before his, Fernando’s expertise and innovation has had a global influence, selling in 63 companies with manufacturing facilities in the UK and across Asia. As long as organisations like Ardmel continue from strength to strength, a great Scottish tradition lives on.