What is the best way to connect with clients and potential customers overseas? Brown McFarlane believes that you should write to them and speak to them in their own language. That is why the company continues to grow its export operations by employing graduates with language skills and funding its existing staff to learn a language.

"The UK-based export division of Brown McFarlane is an important part of the Group and its contribution to the overall success of the business continues to grow," explains international managing director Andrew Webster.

"As we expand our business in mainland Europe and South America, we must do everything we can to help our customers to deal with us in a way that suits them."

There will soon be five graduate linguists operating from the export division’s offices in Walsall, four of whom have been employed this year demonstrating that even in the current troubled economic climate Brown McFarlane is ready to invest in people and their skills.

The team in Walsall will be able to speak seven major European languages fluently as well as the subtle variations of South American Spanish and Portuguese. It also boasts an Afrikaans speaker.

The Brown McFarlane Group of companies, with distribution and processing facilities in the UK, Dubai, Singapore and South Africa, has a turnover of $100m and employs more than 200 people.

Brown McFarlane holds stock of steel plates in specifications which include many that are difficult to find from general steel stockholders such as duplex and super duplex stainless steel, ultra high yield quenched and tempered steel, hydrogen induced crack (HIC) resistant pressure vessel steel, and chrome molybdenum steel.