Centuries-old Sheffield scissor manufacturer increases their productivity after bringing processes in-house. | Manufacturing Growth Programme

William Whiteley & Sons (Sheffield) Limited have been trading for 259 years. Specialising in designing and manufacturing beautifully hand-crafted industrial scissors, the business produces over 250 variations of scissors. Still today, the business has descendants of its founder working with the company with two of the 11th and 12th generation of family members within the management team.

With some of their processes being conducted off site it meant a reliance on third parties resulting in the business looking to invest in additional machinery to sharpen and prepare cutting blades. Working with third parties posed additional risks such as delays, quality and holding up production flow. Investing in the machinery meant they could bring outside processes within the business so that orders could be fulfilled accurately and timely, improving productivity.

William Whiteley & Sons recognised the need to expand their internal capacity and capability to increase production output. There had been an increase of online customer demands for their products as a result of new sales being generated from a highly successful transition to e-commerce sales direct by customer activity.

With the great prospect of increasing their business growth and productivity, the company engaged with the Manufacturing Growth Programme to help them support with the cost of obtaining and implementing this new machinery.

Supported by Marcus Pearson, Manufacturing Growth Manager of the Manufacturing Growth Programme for the Sheffield City Region, Marcus was able to assess their business needs and support them through their improvements.

Commenting on the opportunity to support the company Marcus stated; “When the opportunity comes along to provide support to a business with the heritage and opportunity that Whitley’s have, we do everything that we can to assist. The management team have a clear vision of what they need to do to continue to improve their performance and the move towards bringing more elements of their manufacturing process in-house will assist them in this.”

Whiteley’s Managing Director, Jeremy Ward commented: “We are a niche market specialist that provides bespoke private label, modified designs for all sorts of different industries – curved bladed scissors for felt hat manufacturers, gasket and rubber trimming, advanced composites, golfing green grass scissors…

“Before COVID-19 we were expecting a strong year, since then we have found the industrial market has not returned to pre-Covid figures yet, but our retail offering has increased significantly. We are investing in new machinery to facilitate rapid growth in these expanding markets, particularly from our own website direct sales.”

When asked ‘What advice would you give to another SME Manufacturer who’s thinking of engaging with the Manufacturing Growth Programme?’ Jeremy answered: “It is very difficult to know what assistance is available when you’re a small company so professional advice and assistance to maximise financial and other benefits is invaluable.”

Future plans for the business include expanding their range of products for their retail offering, developing new products and ramping up their digital marketing output.

More details on William Whiteley & Sons (Sheffield) Limited will be available at www.whiteley.co.uk