A Long Time in Making: The History of Smiths

Hardcover | October 29, 2014

byJames Nye

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Smiths Group (formerly Smiths Industries), part of the UK FTSE 100 index, is a global engineering company with a market capitalisation over L5bn. Evolving from beginnings in the Victorian jewellery trade, to significant market presences in the twentieth century motor accessory, clock and watchindustries, it has reinvented itself again as a diversified international company, operating in the medical, communications, security and engineered components sectors. Its narrative history, illuminating the reasons for its survival and adaptability, offers useful data and information to aid widerresearch into questions such as the legitimacy of conglomerates as a business model, the creation and maintenance of corporate culture, issues of succession, the effects of mergers and the questionable value placed upon targeted synergies-even the role of serendipity.The story begins with several generations of the Smith family amassing a fortune in retail, and then, following a 1914 stock-market flotation, describes the transition from family run business to the development of a professionally-run managerial enterprise. Since the 1970s it has had to face thedecline of major markets and competitive pressures, leading to the adoption of new business lines, globalisation, and the internationalisation of its workforce. It now has 23,000 employees across more than 50 countries - along the way shocking the markets by abandoning core businesses and undergoinga controversial merger.Unfettered access to company records, and interviews with former staff members, provide insights into the strategy and management of the firm, illuminating the rich culture of Smiths, characterised by the frequent fostering of technical brilliance and a cast of larger than life characters.

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Smiths Group (formerly Smiths Industries), part of the UK FTSE 100 index, is a global engineering company with a market capitalisation over L5bn. Evolving from beginnings in the Victorian jewellery trade, to significant market presences in the twentieth century motor accessory, clock and watchindustries, it has reinvented itself again ...

James Nye's first career was in finance and commerce, followed by a PhD in financial history at King's College London, where he holds a visiting fellowship in the Institute of Contemporary British History. He is also an award-winning historian of technology, with a focus on the history of distributed accurate time. James sits on the c...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.98 inPublished:October 29, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198717253

ISBN - 13:9780198717256

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Table of Contents

1. 1851-1899 Elephant and Castle to the Strand2. 1899-1913 A new business emerges3. 1914-1928 Flotation, war, boom and bust, recovery4. 1929-1939 A decade of diversification5. 1939-1945 The war factory6. 1945-1959 From austerity to prosperity7. 1960-1975 The triumph of decentralization8. 1976-1990 Shocking the markets9. 1991-2000 The end of an era10. 2000-2007 Shocking the markets again11. A fortune in change