Srixon Sports Europe

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Srixon Sports Europe's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Srixon Sports Europe is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Chief Financial Officer
Srixon manufactures a million golf
balls across the globe every day
Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) is a Japanese company that
offers golfers an expansive range of golf clubs, balls and
accessories. The products are distributed in nearly all major
golf markets around the world, with the aim of improving the
performance of those who play the game, be they professional
or amateur. With its passion and expertise, the company has
become a global leader in equipment and innovation and
continues to develop products of high quality and performance.
Julian Palmer, Chief Financial Officer of Srixon Sports Europe
(SSE) Ltd, SRI’s European golf subsidiary, tells
more about the company’s success and their fruitful
collaboration with their Japanese holding company.
SSE is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Our aim is to
distribute SRI’s golf equipment to a wide range of retailers through our distribution
contacts in the UK and mainland Europe, as well as other countries around
the world such as the United Arab Emirates. Essentially, the process begins by
purchasing products from HQ or other group subsidiaries (usually manufactured
in the Far East) and then importing them into the UK. After this, they are placed in
the hands of retailers, at which point we market them widely through promotional
efforts. The goal here is to get them out of retailers’ hands and into those of
consumers. The more the retailers sell, the more orders we receive.
People think the golfing industry is a large one, but it’s not. Despite having a lot of TV
exposure and high-profile names attached to it, it’s not as big as many people would
imagine. In the entire industry, there are only around a dozen key players upon
»Chief Financial Officer:
»Founded in 2001
»Located in Alton, Hampshire
»Services: Golf Equipment
»No. of employees: 104
»UK’s number-one 2-piece golf
ball for over 10 years
Srixon Sports Europe
whom the industry depends. Getting
things right in this sector is therefore
more difficult than some suppose. We
have to go the extra mile in separating
ourselves from our competition.
Distinguishing ourselves
through quality
SSE sells three high-profile golf brands
– Srixon, Cleveland and XXIO – each of
which is positioned at different target
consumers and market segments. We
excel primarily in two main segments:
golf balls and wedges. In Europe,
we’re particularly strong in the golf-ball
market. Indeed, in the UK we’re the
leader in the two-piece golf ball and
have been for roughly a decade or so.
The other segment is the wedge. The
Cleveland wedge is a leader in market
innovation, and this is something which
makes us stand out. More recently,
we’ve also added a third string to our
bow and developed a healthy market
share in continental Europe with our
exceptionally high-quality XXIO brand.
This is aimed at golfers who appreciate
innovative, luxury and prestige products.
One of the benefits of being owned by a
larger international conglomerate is that
we can work from so many angles and
benefit from SRI’s experience resulting
from ownership and marketing of
multiple global brands (including Dunlop
and Falken). Even our own origins
have an interesting story, as we are
an offshoot of a tyre company (as golf
balls are themselves made of rubber).
SRI is also a company heavily
committed to R&D (as are many
Japanese companies). They have
developed hundreds of patents for
products which they have designed,
and this is something from which
we benefit considerably. This is
especially important for us, because
we distinguish ourselves in the market
through quality and performance.
Dealing with Brexit and the
decline of the high street
Brexit is an issue that moves quickly;
whatever its outcome, we are still
concerned with the impact it will
have on our business. As roughly 60
per cent of our sales are non-UK, we
fear it might have an impact on our
sales if any degree of friction is added
to our trade with the continent. The
fact that there’s still, at the time of
writing, uncertainty is also challenging.
As such, we have had to plan for the
worst-case scenario, as there is no
guarantee that the UK will strike a
favourable deal – or even strike a deal
at all. The Srixon Tour truck
travels over 35,000
miles per year servicing
the tour staff on the
European Tour
Exquisite Japanese
innovation blended with
cutting-edge technologies
allow Srixon to produce
some of the best looking
and feeling forged irons
on the market
In the entire
industry, there
are only around
adozen key
players upon
whom the
industry depends
Highlighting best practice
What’s also impactful – for us and the
UK as a whole – is the decline of the
high street. More specifically, it affects
us because golf retailers across Europe
are beginning to struggle in the face
of modern economic developments.
For example, the largest European
golf retailer, American Golf, recently
went into administration, and although
the company is now trading under
new ownership, this is an unwelcome
trend representative of an increasingly
competitive and aggressive market.
Other retailers faced with high
overheads and increasing online
competition, particularly in the UK, have
been less fortunate, and this has had a
knock-on effect on SSE and other major
golf manufacturers. Constant review
of our business model, distribution
methods, product offerings, pricing
strategies, and marketing platforms
and campaigns (among other things)
has therefore become ever more
regular and critical to the continued
profitability of ourbusiness.
British–Japanese partnership
and hopeful days ahead
Challenges are not the end of the
world, though; we are fortunate as a
company to have a holding company
with such energy and dynamism
that we can surmount many of the
difficulties thrown at us by global
markets. The partnership we, a British
company, have with a technically
focused Japanese one is very fruitful.
We would like to see partnerships of
this kind become the norm, and it’s
for this reason that we laud the efforts
of the British–Japanese Parliamentary
Group. The Japanese are deeply keen to
invest in our country and in our people
and therefore their market share. This
is a demand we’d like to see met.
Alongside this, we will continue to
provide the high-quality golf equipment
that has won us so much success
over the years. We will support our
customers to the utmost extent, and
so long as we remain committed to
this, we expect to see yet more of the
success we’ve experienced in thepast.
What’s also
impactful – for
us and the UK
as a whole – is
the decline of
the high street
We work with our Tour
Professionals to gain
their invaluable insight
during our product
development stages

This article was sponsored by Srixon Sports Europe. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster