Diversification into supplying new areas of retail is paying dividends for a Loughborough manufacturer after it announced a 24% increase in sales.
JC Metalworks, which employs almost 100 people at its Bishop Meadow Road, Loughborough facility, has secured a string of new contracts to supply precision metal parts for point of sale and products being used by high street brands, restaurants and clients involved in the automotive, retail and Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) sectors.
Backed by expert support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), the company has completed a strategic business review that identified the need for a more cohesive approach, a programme of upskilling across the workforce and the implementation of new lean manufacturing processes.
This has resulted in the £1m surge in business and is just the start as the firm plans to achieve £10m turnover by 2020, a £3.3m increase on its current £6.7m order book.
Nick Oakland, Managing Director, commented: “There’s a lot of opportunities in retail POS and we are now pro-actively targeting those with very good effect.
“Our flexibility, manufacturing capabilities and ability to get involved in design makes us a natural fit and the recent new contracts underline this… these are technically demanding projects that need a strategic approach with the client.”
He went on to add: “It’s all about building relationships and ensuring customers know our full range of expertise and how we can support them going forward. We are now up to £6.7m annual sales and want to increase this year-on-year between now and 2020.
“If we can hit the £10m as anticipated we’ll definitely need more staff; there could be as many as 20 new jobs.”
JC Metalworks has been working with the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) since the beginning of the programme in October last year.
As part of the strategic review, the company was introduced to expert John Collins and his team at PCA, who supported the firm with internal organisational structure, developing training plans and creating a new approach to sales.
A ‘5S’ manufacturing strategy was also devised and implemented, which has resulted in better ownership on the shopfloor and initial improvements in capacity and efficiency.
Nick continued: “MGP was really easy to access and it has introduced us to some very good people. It has also opened our eyes to the other support that is out there and we are already embarking on some additional initiatives to support the development of our website and branding.
“I’d recommend other companies get involved. The grant, and more importantly the knowledge it brings, can make a major difference to your business.”
James Bosworth, Manufacturing Growth Manager at MGP, agreed: “We are here to help manufacturers unlock their potential by getting under their skin and finding out what the issues or barriers to growth are.
“Once this first step has been completed, external experts are introduced that have the skills they need to help them achieve their plans. Nick and his team are a great example. Over £1m new orders secured in 12 months with a full pipeline of potential work too!”
JC Metalworks, which also runs its own apprenticeship programme, has invested over £250,000 into improvements over the last 18 months.
This has included new racking, a pressbrake machine and the introduction of an IT system that uses barcodes to capture shopfloor information.
More detail on JC Metalworks can be found at www.jcmetalworks.co.uk or @jcmetalworks on twitter.
Copyright © Economic Growth Solutions, 22nd August 2017.