West Yorkshire manufacturer begins making ventilator components at cost, whilst their order book halves due to COVID-19. | Manufacturing Growth Programme

If the challenge exists, so must the solution

For over 30 years Kirkstall Precision Engineering has been at the forefront of global precision engineering for the medical sector, utilising the latest technologies to provide a wide range of global clients turn key solutions that meet their business requirements.

Our dedicated team of highly skilled employees has been key to our success, in addition our ongoing investment in the latest technology has seen us become valuable long-term partners with globally recognised companies across the medical, veterinary, textile, aerospace, motor sport, energy and food sectors.

Kirkstall Precision is where surgical instruments come to life, these instruments must fulfil the highest requirements in safety, reliability, and functionality as well adhering to rigorous regulatory requirements, Kirkstall Precision is approved to ISO13485:2016.

Design for manufacture and manufacturing medical instruments has been in our DNA for over 30 years, we have highly specialised teams who are experienced in producing complex components where quality without compromise is guaranteed.

Many reputable companies count on our services and proudly put their logos on what we manufacture.

We aim to be the No1 provider to the world’s manufacturing industry, with precision engineered solutions today for tomorrow’s customers. We:

  • Guarantee advanced precision engineering solutions which meets all business requirements
  • Pledge to our customers reliability and professionalism beyond their expectations
  • Employ and invest in a highly competent and passionate team.
  • Foster a culture built on teamwork, honesty and mutual respect, experience and competence, trust and reliability, entrepreneurship and a positive attitude.

Dealing with Covid-19

Kirkstall Precision were already working closely with the manufacturing growth programme updating their in-house processes following a strategic review of their business supported by the Growth Mapper diagnostic tool working with their local Manufacturing Growth Manager, Richard Halstead

The impact of COVID-19 was severe cutting their order book by 50% overnight. Iqbal Bahia Operations Director stated that the majority of products we manufacture for our customers are used in elective procedures and these operations have been postponed across not just in the UK but globally. As a consequence, we anticipate that further demand for customers products and service will be very limited until elective surgery recommences. We have planned for a minimum of 3 to 6 months of no elective surgery in both the UK and US after liaising with our key customers and this puts significant financial pressure on our business.

  • The team looked at their options and developed a three-point plan:
    1. Seek out other sources of revenue
    2. Work with local business support (including the LEP, the banks and MGP) to see how they can help
    3. Develop a robust cashflow plan for the next 3-12 months
    • The first action recognised the governments call for help from the manufacturing sector, this identified an urgent need to support Rolls Royce with the components to manufacture ventilators and so Kirkstall took the strategic decision to do this at cost.  Iqbal Bahia commented that they have worked with the medical sector for many years and felt that here was an opportunity to give something back to this vital community.  It also allowed them to maintain some production and employment keeping the business ticking over even though they were not making any profits on ventilator parts. Iqbal Bahia commented that we still intended to maintain a small core team of employees to service our UK customers and this team would take orders manufacture urgent requirements.
    • The second action showed them two key areas that would help them in the short term.  The support to furlough workers meant that they could reduce the workforce to a size to meet the urgent daily requirements and new demand for ventilator component part production whilst still retaining the skills when the crisis ended.  The CBILs scheme allowed them to apply for a loan (interest free) to cover the period and assist them to survive the COVID-19 challenge without running into real financial difficulty.
    • The third gave them the ability to model the business and showed the size of loan they would need to pay the furloughed workers whilst waiting for the cash support from the government as well as cover the cashflow needed to manage the limited daily business and the supply of ventilator parts and keep the business ticking over

They approached NatWest who are their bankers and went through a detailed process demonstrating their plans, the cashflow model, their profitability before the crisis and the plans to return to profitability after the crisis and secured sign off on a substantial loan to see them through the predicted negative cashflow in the coming 3-12 months.  No asset securities or personal guarantees were needed as the loan was 80% backed by the government.

Iqbal Bahia, Operations Director

Iqbal Bahia commented that the government has really supported SME’s like Kirkstall Precision with the furlough Job retention and the CBIL scheme. Without these packages a lot off small companies would not have survived the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Commenting Richard Halstead from the Manufacturing Growth Programme said:

“It’s great to see how Kirkstall Precision have used the support from us and the Government support to help plan the businesses future through these unprecedented times.  Credit must also go to NatWest and I would encourage all Manufacturing SMEs to take heart from this story and use it as an example to show the support that is out there.”

Commenting Carl Brian Senior Relationship Manager at NatWest said:

“I was delighted to be able to support Kirkstall Precision with their successful CBILs application. We are acutely aware that this is a difficult time for businesses of all shapes and sizes, that’s why we are working hard to provide our customers with the best possible support.

“The impacts our customers may experience will vary from sector to sector, but we want to be proactive in the way we support them and to use our size and scale, combined with our detailed customer and sectoral knowledge to ensure the UK’s SMEs are supported through the impact of the Coronavirus”.


Further information on Kirkstall Precisions Services are available at www.kirkstallprecision.co.uk or by contacting our office on 01132 307 844 or email: info@kirkstallprecision.co.uk

West Yorkshire Combined Authority