The Masuri Group

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Masuri Group'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 The Masuri Group 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

www.masuri.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | THE MASURI GROUP
Sam Miller, CEO
The South Africa captain
AB de Villiers takes to the
field wearing Masuri
The Masuri Group, now based in Twyford, Hampshire,
was incorporated in the UK in 1997 alongside an
embellishment business and a cricket equipment brand.
The business began simply by making a stainless-steel faceguard
for cricketers, which soon evolved into a complete helmet.
Thanks to its lightweight, comfortable nature, it soon became
a favourite with international players, as it is today. In 2005,
production of the Masuri helmet was moved from Cape
Town to northern India, and, over the next seven years, the
business experienced significant difficulties. In response to these
challenges, the business brought in current CEO, Sam Miller, in
2010, and since then, he has driven a company-wide change.
This change was focused in two key areas: a full-scale redesign of the Masuri
cricket helmet, and a move of all cricket helmet production to the UK, where we
could control quality, production and most importantly our intellectual property,
all of which was compromised while manufacture remained in India. To assist with
this, we deployed a new manufacturing team, tapping into the UK automotive
industry to acquire the engineering skillset we were looking for.
Since 2009, the number of helmets we sell globally has grown tenfold. Our two
primary markets are the UK and Australia, but we also enjoy demand in all other
cricket playing nations, distributing directly to New Zealand, South Africa, India,
Sri Lanka and the West Indies. The cricket community and the protective gear
market as a whole have received our products with great enthusiasm, thanks to
the vast difference in quality. The majority of elite cricketers wear Masuri, with over
FACTS ABOUT
THE MASURI GROUP
»CEO: Sam Miller
»Incorporated in the UK in 1997
»Based in Twyford, Hampshire
»Services: Sports goods and
services, namely the supply
of protective equipment for
cricketers
»No. of employees: 28
»Over 90 per cent of
professional cricketers in the
UK and Australia use Masuri
products
The Masuri Group
23THE MASURI GROUP |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
90percent of professional cricketers
in Australia and the UK choosing to
wear our helmets – we don’t pay them
to; they simply choose to because they
know Masuri are invested in safety
andquality.
Focusing on quality to trigger
change
We focus, and have always focused, on
the product rather than merchandising
and advertising. We don’t operate
annual product launches, and remain
unique in the sports equipment sphere
as a result of our quality-focused
attitude. We only launch a product
when we are entirely sure it is ready;
a lot of competitors relaunch a similar
offering every year thanks to a change
in aesthetics or sponsorship.
This emphasis on quality is something
that a lot of companies use in their
communications, but we do find
ourselves asking precisely what it
means. We look at the standards of
our materials and supply chain, and go
right back to raw materials to analyse
the product we’re making. Tapping
into the existing UK manufacturing
and engineering infrastructure has
allowed us to take control of quality in
every step of the process.
Investing in raw materials, tooling
and machinery allows us to ensure a
consistently high standard of product.
This is monumentally important – we
don’t manufacture on-site, but can
nonetheless see to it that everything
we produce is in keeping with our
high standards. Our manufacturers are
all independently ISO 9001 certified;
we rely on consistency, quality and
awareness – it drives every sale
wemake.
Expanding the Masuri brand
The move to UK manufacturing has
not only helped to define us as a
business, but it has also allowed us
to grow exponentially. Before moving
manufacturing back to the UK, our
turnover was about £250,000. It
is now around £2.5 million. This
increasehas been a serious journey;
thanks to a previously expanded brand,
British manufacturing quality and
industry-leading service levels, we have
driven significant growth.
We are responsive to the changing
nature of the game, and remain
committed to making it a safer
environment for those who play.
For example, in response to the
tragic passing of Phillip Hughes, we
developed the Stem Guard neck
protector, investing significantly in
research and development. We have
since created a product, now patented,
that would further enhance the
protective capacity we can offer.
This expansion and growth has
not been the result of an extensive
marketing programme, either. As
a true market leader, we serve
international teams all the way down
to local junior clubs; we like to believe
that, if someone genuinely cares
about their safety, they are going to
chooseMasuri. Mark Stoneham
representing England in
the 2017/18 Ashes
We focus, and
have always
focused, on the
product rather
than
merchandising
and advertising.
We don’t
operate annual
product
launches, and
remain unique in
the sports
equipment
sphere
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | THE MASURI GROUP
Substandard products and
export duties
While new safety standards for
cricket helmets have been introduced,
astoundingly, these are not linked
in any way to independent quality
assessments. This means that once a
manufacturer has made a product that
has “passed the test”, there are no
measures to ensure continuous quality.
This is quite unique in the helmet
space; the vast majority of helmet
standards for other sports are usually
subject to ongoing quality assessment.
We have seen a lot of cheap, imported
goods that quite clearly do not go
through an effective quality control
process. Consumers often believe they
are, in fact, far safer than they actually
are. Our neck protector, for example,
absorbs five times more force than
the closest competitor’s product, and
eight times more force than the worst,
which is nothing more than a piece
of hobby foam attached to the grille.
Customers are simply not getting the
protection they think they are. We
need to educate the market and see
independent quality requirements to
ensure safety across the board.
Additionally, a great number of our
products are sold outside of the UK. For
example, when we export to a country
like India, we feel a significant impact
from duties and taxes. It’s difficult to
compete in these markets: there is a
massive demand for Masuri products
out there, but thanks to international
trade legislation, we find it far more
difficult to compete. On the other
hand, there are no duties on the same
products coming into the UK from
elsewhere, which can often be of far
lower quality. There must be hundreds
of businesses in the UK with the same
issues, so it’s hard to understand why
tariffs are structured in the way they are.
Brexit and the future
We don’t know if Brexit will help
with this. Negotiating these terms
with the EU is incredibly challenging;
independent trade dialogue would
provide, we anticipate, the opportunity
for UK manufacturing to compete
freely in both the domestic and foreign
market. We haven’t seen any other
impact from Brexit thus far.
I am excited at the prospect of
growing our export market. We are
interested in diversifying the range of
products we can offer, and are focused
on new technology; sensor technology
and new methods of manufacture will
enable us to strengthen our offerings.
The availability of new materials, for
example, will only promote further
improvement; the future is full of
opportunities.
We have seen
a lot of cheap,
imported
goods that
quite clearly do
not go through
an effective
quality control
process.
Consumers
often believe
they are far
safer than they
actually are
Masuri team members
catching up at the head
office in Twyford
A top-of-the-range Masuri helmet
on its way to Keaton Jennings

www.masuri.com

This article was sponsored by The Masuri Group. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy