Southampton manufacturer on course for coveted ISO accreditation to produce precision parts for their sea-faring clients | Manufacturing Growth Programme

Seadub Ltd are specialist precision engineers, focusing on the Marine sector. Established in 2011 and ideally located on a quayside in Southampton, the business has built up expertise in the design and manufacture of customised parts for pleasure craft and racing yachts.

Husband and wife team Chris Whitwam and Katie Charge have extensive experience in captaining and crewing superyachts, giving the business a competitive advantage when it comes to understanding customer needs. This has enabled Seadub to produce parts to precisely match their clients’ requirements, such as working with metals and alloys with a high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion, ideal for marine craft.

Building on an established customer base, the Directors were keen to increase the number of clients, particularly from within the Marine sector. With a view to growing their business, Seadub Ltd have been working with the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP). Grant funding was awarded by MGP towards the cost of a business improvement project to be conducted by an external consultant for the development of internal systems and procedures. The business is striving towards gaining the accreditation of the international standard ISO 9001:2015.

Robin Simpson, Manufacturing Growth Manager for the Solent region, commented that: “This is a great business, with the two Directors strongly committed to providing the highest level of product and service. With many projects requiring unique design and manufacturing
capability to meet very specific client needs, it is that close relationship with customers which has been a key element of the Company’s success story.”.

ISO 9001:2015 accreditation is an opportunity to promote the business to new customers, providing them with the confidence in the design and manufacturing, a real challenge of a business specialising in low volume batches and ‘one offs’ is to standardise those processes.

One of the benefits of gaining support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme is that manufacturers are able to conduct a GROWTHmapper business diagnostic review with their local Manufacturing Growth Manager. When Seadub Ltd conducted their assessment, it showed that their key area for development was that they needed greater structuring of internal processes.

The Company has increasingly structured its approaches to manufacturing over the past year, part of which has been the construction of a dedicated Inspection & Testing area at their dockside location.

Refining the production process has led to better overall job management, enabling the team to track their work from start to finish. This has also had a positive effect on the running of the workshop, releasing time that can be spent on production and product quality control. Increased structuring has improved estimating, streamlined workflows and allowed better scheduling of jobs, giving productivity increases that have been passed on to the customer through improved response and lead times.

Katie Charge commented that: “Getting a grant through the Manufacturing Growth Programme was quick and easy. It has really helped the business to move forward.”.

More details on Seadub Ltd will be available at