Yorkshire manufacturing duo leads the way when it comes to reshoring
A match made in Yorkshire is reaping the dividends of being ahead of the reshoring trend by bringing products to market and creating new jobs.
Kiravans, a campervan conversion specialist, was introduced to Sheffield-based PCT Metalmex two years ago in a bid to find a domestic manufacturing solution for its bench seat swivel base that allows seats to rotate from front to back.
The Otley-based company had developed and certified a design, but its overseas prototype manufacturer was unable to support production volume or manage sub-assembly processes.
This is where the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) came into its own, bringing the two companies together as part of its supplier matching service.
James Terry, Managing Director of PCT Metalmex, picked up the story: “The relationship has grown significantly since that first meeting and we are now into our second year of production for the swivel base that is proving very popular with the campervan conversion market.
“Volumes have increased substantially and it’s worth about £300,000 per year to us. We have taken on new people to cope with demand, including three new engineering apprentices.”
He continued: “Our ability to manufacture to exacting quality standards and understand complex design specifications was a major attraction and the fact we were logistically close to Kiravans meant we could be in constant contact during the early stages of the process.
“The overseas rival couldn’t match our hands-on approach and certainly couldn’t offer the ability to respond quickly to changes or volume increases.
“We’ve been manufacturing precision components in Sheffield since 1926 so it’s great news that after 88 years we are still leading the world in service and reliability.”
PCT Metalmex, which offers pressed components, profiling and fabrication services, has taken on additional assembly work as part of the first contract and is now using its design skills to help Kiravans develop new products.
These are still in the early stages of specification, but are again intended to fill a gap in the campervan conversion market, with the potential to be exported across the world.
Robert McCandless, Partner at Kiravans, explained: “There is a real symmetry between both companies, with PCT’s automotive expertise helping them to understand requests quicker and add value to the designs.
“We are now manufacturing thousands of swivel bases every year and expect similar figures for the new products we are working on.”
2014 will be a year of growth for PCT Metalmex, with sales expected to exceed £5m and the workforce now reaching 70 people.
The company has continued to work with MAS on introducing new lean techniques such as 5S and continuous improvement teams and this has allowed it to achieve a 30% improvement in output without major expenditure to the bottom line.
Success is mirrored at its second business PCT Automotive. This division is recognised as one of Europe’s leading towbar and towing electrics manufacturers, supplying products that are suitable for all mainstream cars, light commercial vehicles and caravans.
MAS is working with UKTI to deliver ‘ReshoreUK’, which provides a matching and location service, access to advice and a named specialist to work with each company.
MAS’ role is to focus on supporting SME manufacturers to become globally competitive to ensure capacity in the supply chain.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Russ Cockburn .