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west midlands

Nov/Dec 2011

Championing the region

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1,000 new auto jobs On top of the recent announcement by JLR that 750 jobs are to be created at the i54 site in Wolverhampton, the Automotive giant this month announced further expansion at it’s solihull site. Business Report finds out more about this latest boost to Midlands manufacturing


thousand new posts will be created by Jaguar Landrover at their Solihull plant the firm announced. This is in addition to the 700 jobs that are needed for their i54 investment and will deliver significant product actions over the next five years.

Jason Pitt, Made in the Midlands said, “This is fantastic news for the region and a firm commitment by JLR to the long term future of Midlands and British manufacturing. “The Midlands has a world class supply chain around JLR and the Country has great infrastructure to back it up. I’m not at all surprised by this announcement.” Rachel Eade, Auto Cluster Manager at Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands said,

The Range Rover Evoque is just one of 40 new product actions that Jaguar Land Rover will carry out in the next five years

“The evolution of Jaguar Land Rover continues at pace and news of an additional

1000 manufacturing jobs at Solihull – a 25% increase in its workforce – is another shot in the arm for the West Midlands. Importantly, the £multi-billion investment is focused on new product development and this can only mean new opportunities for local suppliers and MAS’ role will be to work with them on exploring these possibilities. For every job created at JLR, it potentially creates a further 3.6 jobs in the supply chain. “As in all global manufacturing arenas, we must not take things for granted and suppliers will need to make sure they offer world class performance, are cost competitive and, importantly, continue to offer value added design and innovation.” Colin Green, Landrover UK managing director said, “We had our best ever sales month earlier this year for Land Rover in the UK. We sold more cars than ever before in our 63 year history. We export around 80% of our UK manufacturing and we also Continued p3

Record growth and 800 new jobs for Made in the Midlands members


manufacturing cluster group that champions Midlands Industry is reporting record growth and additional jobs for many of it’s members. Made in the Midlands is an association of more than 200 firms from local industry which aims to collaborate and promote the region worldwide.


The association is also continuing the good news story by recognising 24 local manufacturing firms at the second annual Made in the Midlands Awards held at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall on the 21st October.

Business News


Charles Addison, Commercial Director said, “Made in the Midlands is a gateway to the midlands manufacturing community and a way for local firms to make connections on their doorstep. “Members who are part of our network have a real ‘can do’ attitude. It is this ethos and positivity has seen our members create new jobs and growth within the regional economy.” This month’s event featured networking, exhibition and an awards presentation for outstanding achievements in industry. Many of the 2010 award winners went on to have record years. Continued p3

Made in the Midlands 2011 category award winners

Government Industry passion


Made in the Midlands


Business Report Nov/Dec 11


business news  CONTACTS AT BUSINESS REPORT: EDITOR, Jason Pitt MANUFACTURING EDITOR Charles Addison charles@madeinthemidlands. com Membership Advisor Ilona Dalecka PHOTOGRAPHER David Cave tel 07802864771 FEATURES EDITOR Adam Tipper

PUBLISHED BY BUSINESS REPORT LIMITED West Midlands House, Gypsy Lane, Willenhall, WV13 2HA TO SUBSCRIBE Business Report is distributed to company directors of firms within industry who have a turnover of at least ÂŁ2m, or employ more than 20 people. Subscriptions are only available within the UK To subscribe email or call 01902 482450 If you are a subscriber and have not been receiving our paper on a regular basis please contact us.

Editor’s comment This month I am delighted to report on the success of Midlands manufacturing against the gloom that the rest of the UK media seem to revel in. Jaguar Landrover are making a long term commitment to the UK, that will see them be the formidable automotive super power in the coming years. If you read our front page of this month’s edition you would be mistaken for thinking that the UK is enjoying some kind of boom period, Made in the Midlands members created 800 jobs between them this year. The number one reason members have out performed the rest of the sector is not necessarily only down to being better placed economically, its down to a shared passion and energy in both their businesses and their industry.

Made in the Midlands members seem to go the extra mile In 2009 when the recession hit hardest Walsall based firm laid off 3 people and put the rest of the workforce on short time. The UK demand had simply fallen away. To the MD’s credit she went to Hong Kong to meet potential overseas customers to win back more than £200k in business.

Jason Pitt, editor From my experience Made in the Midlands members seem to go that extra mile, one example of this is Q A Electrical.

Despite the gloom that is often reported in the national media, weak leadership across the Euro zone and poor domestic consumption should not put business owners off investing in their businesses. The overseas market in the future will be the driving force

for UK manufacturing. Whilst the Eurozone is suffering its worth taking a step back to look at world market opportunities, some Countries are still enjoying 7% growth. Its up to British manufacturing firms to take advantage of the emerging markets and those countries that are developing their economies and infrastructure. To learn more about what Made in the Midlands is doing to raise our reputation overseas or to join visit www.

We follow them so you don’t have to A selection of some of the best tweets from the Business Report twitter followers. To connect with us visit and click follow Been another cracking week for MIM - Rand Engineering, Exmac Automation joining as new members and Anochrome, Superite & Portway Tool renew!

Our Group MD was in London other day talking to Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP and economic sustainability and how to achieve it Thomas_Vale

re you looking to start your own PR agency or add yourself to our list of writers? Franchise to be launched soon

At every event today people came and shook my hand for voting for the EU ref. One guy in pub in Brigg came out to check I’d voted right way! andrewpercy

Already, 5 new companies (non MIM members) sent us enquiries after they browsed the Article in Business Report, the Raptor has been a big hit.

“Skillful Minister John Hayes is fab orator: “Balls fiddles while Byrne roams� “The 5 o’clock Shadow Cabinet�� HBaldwinMP

nnn No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced, transmitted or held in a retrievable system without the written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of all material published in Business Report, the publishers accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor for any claims made as a result of such errors or omissions. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers

RGF is one third of the size of Labour’s support for regions - and there seems to be nothing regional about the decision making on it.

Why the Public’s View of #Manufacturing Still Lags Reality MfgExecutive


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Business Report Nov/Dec 11


business news

Made in the Midlands awards their output. The national publicity regarding the gloomy economic outlook is misleading. This is caused by bankers and service sector reporting on the immediate output. This is the real extent of midlands manufacturing. What doesn’t get enough reporting is the substantial investment firms have been making throughout the whole of 2011 in their plant and machinery that will have long term sustainable gains.

Continued from front page Amongst some of this year’s nominations are Laser Process in Staffordshire, Moog Aerospace in Wolverhampton and Cab Automotive. Made in the Midlands this year invested £50,000 in a new software application that allows members to engage with each other via an online portal. Case studies and examples of Made in the Midlands award winners: •Advanced Chemical Etching – 46% increase in turnover. The firm made major investments in new plant and equipment. ACE also took on a Knowledge Partnership graduate to help develop new high tech applications for the aerospace industry. The firm reports 10 new jobs being created. •Bracebridge Engineering – 25% increase in turnover to £1.8m, the firm has created 5 new jobs this year.

We are gearing ourselves to take advantage of global opportunities. Despite tough domestic trading the sector has really taken hold of international opportunities and we as an organisation are very optimistic. The region’s manufacturing base is going to achieve big things going forward – Watch this space. n Award winners are listed on page 12 and photos on page 30-32

1,000 new auto jobs •Hockley Pattern & Tool – Birmingham based engineering firm that has grown turnover from £2.7m to £4m this year and created 5 new jobs. •HT Brigham – One of the first members to join Made in the Midlands and has created ten new jobs after securing international contracts. •Laser Process – 20 year old firm that is reporting its best year in business and increased turnover from £4m

•Cab Automotive - £2.6m in new contracts secured and the creation of 30 new jobs 1111 - Made in the Midlands

- BMF Service Case.pdf


to £5m with the creation of new 5 jobs •QA Electrical – Established 20 years ago the business has increased turnover from £480k to more than £700k and 3 new jobs. The contract win happened when the MD went on a trade mission to Hong Kong. •Vanguard Foundry – Achieved £10 million turnover for the first time in its history – The firm has been trading for more than 25 years. 27/10/2011 13:18:48

•Zero Cases – Increased sales by 38% up to £2.6million for the year, created 2 new positions Out of the 20 companies being recognised for achievement on Friday, these firms alone have created 249 new jobs in the region since April. We estimate that Made in the Midlands members created more than 800 jobs between them based on the figures collected. This figure may be much higher though as not all members declared

had record sales months in many of our overseas markets including India and China. That tells me that we are making great products right here in the UK and that manufacturing in the midlands has a great future.” The latest news comes as Jaguar Land Rover continues to benefit from its strongest ever product line-up, further strengthened recently by the launch of the Range Rover Evoque, the new

Jaguar XF with a fourcylinder turbodiesel engine and significant enhancements to the XK range, Land Rover Discovery, Defender and Range Rover. Jaguar Land Rover employs more than 19,000 people directly in the UK and supports up to 140,000 jobs in total through the supply chain, dealer network and wider economy.

sensor service case total productive maintenance There is no room in manufacturing for unplanned downtime, idle machinery is costly. When loss of production is caused by a damaged sensor the machine must be stopped, the sensor identified, replaced, adjusted and secured in final position before the machine can be switched on and production begins again. All this takes time and costs money, even more time if the sensor is not immediately available, close at hand or held in stock.









If breakdowns are caused by damage to a pneumatic cylinder sensor, Balluff have a speedy solution to the problem in the form of BMF Magnetic Field Sensors with their universal bracket fixing system. Balluff sensors can be used on virtually any cylinder from any manufacturer eliminating the need to stock many different sensors from different sources. To make things even more user-friendly, these sensors and brackets are available in a purpose made, easy to carry service case. Made from sturdy industrial aluminium it contains a selection of Balluff magnetic field sensors, fastening brackets, an extensive range of accessories and a detailed user-friendly logical table of contents and literature. Because of the large selection of mounting elements you can adapt these sensors to virtually every pneumatic cylinder and reduce your costs by using a small number of sensor types to maintain a wide variety of pneumatic cylinders.

For further information or technical support in the Midlands contact Richard Howell on 0161 282 4700

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Business Report Nov/Dec 11 4

Bring back the company car For once there is good news for hard working business owners who enjoy the highly valued benefit of having a company car available for private use. The good news is that vehicle manufacturers have reacted by developing fuel efficient and low polluting vehicles for the executive market which qualify for a much lower tax ratings. David Wright the managing director at Lowe McTernan says “There are a surprising number of cars that business owners may not object to driving across a full range of top marque manufacturers. There are generous tax savings available for the company and with a properly set up remuneration package the tax cost to the driver can offer real value for money”.


ART provides loans to enterprises that are based in Birmingham and Solihull and have a viable project that has not been able to be supported, either in part or at all, by a bank. It is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), owned by its members – both borrowers and social investors – with a remit to lend in a specific area to help boost the local economy. Commenting on reaching the £10m milestone, Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART said: “We are here to enable small businesses to access the finance they need and it’s good to see how our loans have helped small and medium-sized, commercial and not-for-profit businesses, operating in almost every market sector to survive, start up or grow over the years. We are often the last vital piece of the jigsaw in a finance package lending alongside others, but in some cases we lend on our own. Either way we enable business activity to happen that otherwise wouldn’t.” ART was a pioneer of its model of raising a mixture of public sector and private sector funding to lend locally and its way of provid-


Business Report Feb/March 11

business news business news

Could Insolvency rules be more help So what about QE2?


he Bank ofare Engompanies beland has now ing closed and launched jobs losta furunther £75 Billion into necessarily because the bankinglaws system insolvency are of quantitative easing preventing insolvency practitioners (QE2). Will this from help helping companies surour struggling econovive and mounting viamy? Inflation now over 5% ble rescueis packages.

present situ- The although theeconomic Bank says it ation is to as bad any in but livis likely dropassharply ing Bank’s memory and it possithe record onisgetting bly a figures time toright reflect these is whether actually the insolvency laws could be very poor. more helpful. The Bank originally calcuThe company voluntary lated that QE 1 boosted the arrangement procedure economy by up to 2pc but (CVA) should be the primary circumstances are much difrescue model but they have ferent UKtotal growth fallen this into time. virtual disis stillWhy weak. use. is Will this?QE achieve the growth that is necessary? CVA’s allow a company to carry on trading and reach agreement with its creditors over the repayment of some, or all of the original debts.

Lender reaches £10m milestone ocal small business lender ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust), established in 1997 to fill a gap in the market left by the banks, has reached £10m in loans delivered.

These are not working for a number of reasons. HM Revenue and Customs have only begrudgingly supported these arrangements ing finance for enterprise has not only been replicated throughout the UK, it has also been closely researched by visitors to its Aston Cross base from all over the world including Japan, Korea and Europe. It lends between £10,000 and £50,000, with an average loan size of £22,000. Since the credit crunch in 2008 ART and other similar lenders in the West Midlands, who all belong to the Fair Finance Consortium, have seen demand rise substantially, but the good news is that all still have funds available to support businesses in their areas and especially to help them create or preserve jobs. “It seems that every day we are hearing about a new initiative to help small businesses access finance, but these are not yet on-stream. ART, and the other CDFIs in the West Midlands, have money available right now,” says Steve. To find out more about loans from ART call 0121 359 2444 or see www. For information about other CDFIs in the West Midlands see

Insolvency Tim Corfield of leading Insolvency Practitioner Practitioners, Griffin Tim Corfield reports andthe King, based in on current comWalsall comments plexities of Insolvency on recent developrules ments The generally recoverywill needs and insist inon creased consumer spending fairly onerous terms and a five year demand. period for the not reto create It will payment of debt. rise as long as incomes are squeezed with fiscal tightenThis a situation ing and leaves high inflation. where the company has to pay most of its profits for, up John Keynes (the famous to a five yearwrote period aandletter will economist) have inevitably more difto Franklin D Roosevelt in ficult “to trading circumstances 1933 think output and especiallycanin betoday’s income raisedvery by difficult economic climate. This can often be a step too far for the directors and they throw the towel in.

increasing the quantity of Once a company is in a CVA money is be rather like trying this will reflected in the to get fat by buying a larger credit rating of the company. belt”. This is likely to have a serious impact on its trading Recently the Chancellor position. Because of this, also revealed his “credit it is much more difficult to easing” proposals whereby get credit or money is from lent suppliers directly to any bank overdraft or loan businesses and bypassing facilities. There is also the the banks. Full details of this debtor insurance industry have yet to be revealed. Both who refuse to give cover for CVA companies even though significant liabilities have been written off the balance sheet and major restructuring is taking place.

The interests of pre businesses and jobs as important as pro interests of creditor

credit easing and QE2 will index reached 4.5 per cent do, often fail within a fairly generate inflation and both last month and is expected short period of time. will debase sterling. to hit 5% this year. “I don’t Another “rescue tool” that think this new round of QE A former Bank of England the insolvency practitioner will help growth and risks policymaker, Senhas available Andrew is the use of stirring up the surge in inflatence, recently said “the bank a ‘pre- pack’ administration”. has admitted that the public tion. This describes a deal are enduring the greatest whereby the insolvency We are living in turbulent squeeze on their disposable practitioner agrees prior to times especially with the Euincome since the 1920’s, bethe formal appointment of rozone crisis. This is the Govcause of surging inflation an administrator the terms ernment’s way of stimulating and weak wage growth. on which he will sell the asgrowth without cutting back be as important as protectInflation has been over the sets of 2a failed company on Will it banks per cent target imfor ingthe theausterity interests plan. of creditors. mediately after the all but 9 months in appointthe past By way protecting have the of desired effect?crediment of the administrator 5 years. The consumer prices tors interests, the insolvency (usually the same insolvency practitioner is under a duty practitioner). to report (as with an insolnGriffin & King runwidely regular networking events and isvent liquidation) any matter Pre-packs have been sue newsletters non business recov- to of concern with regard criticised because designed they meanto inform directors of conduct and of any that a business which is managers ery professionals and owner businesses matter giving to the infailing today of can be tradkey aspects business recovery. If you arerise interested solvent position of the coming tomorrow without its in finding out more please callpany. JanetIn Peacock onthat 01922 the event there liabilities and, often run by 722205 or visit our website on www.griffinandking. are such reasons, the DTI the same management. The will take a view in the pubuse of a pre-pack adminislic interest and would take tration is a relatively cheap appropriate action against process as compared to the the directors to ensure that company entering into a creditors are protected. The prolonged administration mechanism is therefore in whereby alternative offers place to ensure that crediare considered. Often, this tors are protected. is simply not possible due to cost constraints. Full disclosure of the purchasing company and other The interests of preserving businesses and jobs should details must be provided to

Smart phones, Internet, Tweeting, Blogging guide Usually, normal trade creditors, acting on commercial grounds, will support a CVA with the prospect of receiving something rather than nothing.

Given this background it is not surprising that many potential CVA’s never get off the ground and those that


Most employees, are confused over when, where and how they can use social media in and away from work.

n regu topi ters. in fi call 0192

tial harm from an employee stepping out of line on social media before deciding how they will react. Malcolm Boswell said: “It is important to address issues in a fair and consistent manner. However, if an employer is too tough, it needs to consider the potential impact of any negative publicity.”

Employment relations expert Acas has drawn it up to help businesses, staff and trade unions agree how to handle the use of the internet, blogs and social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter inside and outside of work.

Most employers are unclear how to manage this aspect of the digital revolution. A few, such as BT and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, have issued their own policies, but research has found that fewer than one in ten employers have a social media policy. Acas’s guide is believed to be the first offering advice to all employers.

The cons to m ing b mal more by r and rega CVA ally jobs. ance tabli for c

Has Has your your bank bank locked locked away away its its finance? finance?

he first guide has been launched to help Britain get to grips with a cyber problem estimated to cost the country billions of pounds every year.

Logging on to social media has rocketed in the last ten years, with almost six out of ten staff (55%) now using it at work, either on computers or mobile phones. But employers say many staff are also abusing it by looking at their personal web pages instead of working, posting derogatory comments about managers and colleagues, or buying and selling online.

the venc

Then Then perhaps perhaps it’s it’s time time you you found found the the Fair Fair Finance Finance Consortium Consortium

Before checking on employees’ use of the internet and social media, they must make it clear what they scrutinize and why. Malcolm Boswell said: “Heavy-handed monitoring can cause bad feeling and be time consuming.

Acas’s main recommendation is that an employer should consult with staff and trade unions to spell out the dos and don’ts of using the internet and social media, and make clear the consequences of breaching its policy, which should become part of contracts of employment. It stresses that in working out a policy, employer, staff and unions should agree so employees do not feel gagged, staff and managers feel protected against online bullying, and the firm feels confident its reputation will be guarded. Acas West Midlands Director Malcolm Boswell said:

The are TheFair FairFinance FinanceConsortium Consortiummembers areindependent independentproviders providersofof Amembers manager wouldn’t follow loans loanstotoviable viablebusinesses businessesininthe theWest WestMidlands. Midlands.Backers Backersinclude includeAdvantage Advantage an employee down Fund. the pub West Development Fair WestMidlands Midlandsand andthe theEuropean EuropeanRegional Regional Development Fund. FairFinance Finance tototocheck on what he or plans. she members have monies ininplace support your business’s members havethe the monies place support your business’s plans. “Online conduct should not

differ from offline conduct. said to friends about their IfIfyou for toto£50,000 for youare arelooking looking forfinance financeofofup upday £50,000 foraJust anew newproject, project,totoget get Employees should assume at work. because an idea orortoto top-up aneverything ideaoff offthe theground groundsay top-upmonies moniesraised raisedelsewhere, elsewhere,then thenthe the that they on they can do something like Finance Consortium isisopen business. Fair Finance Consortium openfor foryour your business. theFair internet could be made this online, doesn’t mean public, and should think Nearly 2010 We’ve £4 million totoWest We’veloaned loaned over £4£5million millioninin in2009 2009 WestMidlands Midlandsbusinesses businesses they should.” whether they over want their who struggled the whohave haveor struggled toraise raise themoney moneythey theyneed needfrom fromtraditional traditionalsources, sources, colleagues boss to to read Importantly, many compabanks. suchas asthe theHigh HighStreet banks. it. such They might notStreet mean it, nies want their employees to but what they post could end be up to date and comfortup being seen by millions of Interested ininopening door to Interested openingthe theable door tothe thefinance financeyour yourbusine busin people worldwide.” with internet working, Call or see www.fair-fin Call0845 0845250 2500525 0525 or see www.fair-fin as social media sites are inAcas also says it is vital creasingly a key part of busiemployers, employees and ness and marketing. Firms unions review a company’s internet and social media need to bear this in mind. policy, because the technolGo to http://www.acas. ogy is evolving fast and the issues have yet to be really tested in law. for more details on Acas’s guidance including practiBosses are also advised to carefully assess the potencal tips for employers.

Fair FairFinance FinanceConsortium Consortium

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


business news

More than machine tools B

y the end of this year Mills CNC will have sold well over 400 Doosan machines to its loyal and growing customer base in the UK and Ireland. A significant percentage of the machines sold will be delivered and installed as part of larger, more complex ‘turnkey’ manufacturing solutions that Mills designs, project-manages and proves-out for its customers. Implementing


manufacturing process to handle a completely new product. However, the principle objective driving customers to commission ‘turnkey’ solutions is always to optimise productivity and efficiency, and both can be achieved in a number of ways: • Improving cycle times • Reducing set-up times • Improving lead times and reducing WIP (Work-inProgress) • Improving product quality • Reducing manning levels

‘At Mills, we understand that ‘turnkey’ solutions often represent a major capital investment for the customers end so it’s important that when the machine tool and turnkey solution is delivered, it starts to make a difference from day one.’ The strength and efficiency of Mills’ project management systems and processes are recognised (and welcomed) by customers like BAE Systems which recently scored Mills’ (Supplier) performance for Quality, Cost, Delivery and Relationship Building as 86%, 92%, 88% and 96% respectively for

accepted by the customer and the Project goes forward on that basis. However, with more complex projects there can be several meetings with a customer before the final ‘agreed’ solution is agreed. The process involved in determining the preferred solution can also involve concurrent meetings taking place with various tooling, work-holding and ancillary equipment suppliers who are also involved in the project. These meetings are arranged and managed by Mills as part of the ‘turnkey’ service. Prior to any work taking place - it’s more than likely that a final presentation of the recommended solution is given to the customer – where ‘i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed’ - ensuring that everyone involved is on the ‘same page’. In all ‘turnkey’ solutions proposed, Mills underwrites the project according to clear and agreed parameters concerning the scope and scale of supply, thereby removing the element of risk from the customer. Stage 2: Post-order process The most successful projects are delivered when a close working relationship between Mills and the customer is formed early on and continues right through to completion.

Doosan MX mill/turn centres from Mills CNC installed at Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Bearing Systems’ facility in Leamington to manufacture orthopaedic ball (femoral) and socket (acetabular) components. ‘turnkey’ solutions is growing in importance for Mills, and the company will have managed in excess of 50 of these types of installations by the end of the year. To understand why Mills’ turnkey services are in such high demand – we first need to clarify what is meant by a turnkey solution. A working definition A ‘turnkey’ manufacturing solution includes a number of interrelated and integrated elements. These elements will include more than the most suitable machine tool(s) and will involve careful selection, by Mills, of complementary ancillary equipment (including tooling and work-holding), and the development of a proven, reliable and repeatable manufacturing process. The delivered solution may be concerned with increasing the productivity of an existing process, or can involve the design and implementation of a new

In some instances these improvements can be achieved by installing new, ‘basic’ machine tools and workholding, and revamping the machining process. In other cases a completely new process involving advanced machine tool technology is required. The problem for many customers is that they often do not have the in-house skills and experience to implement and integrate the ‘turnkey’ solution by themselves or they simply do not have the time available to devote to a project of such complexity. This is where Mills is able to help. Because, not only can the company supply the ideal machine tool from its wide portfolio of Doosan machines, it also has the project management capabilities and engineering expertise to deliver a customised, proven and reliable systems solution. Says Nick Frampton, Mills CNC’s managing director:

several turnkey solutions recently installed at their Birtley facility, and are the best results to date that any supplier to BAE Systems has achieved. Getting down to business...the Mills way ‘There are two distinct stages in every ‘turnkey’ solution we deliver’, continues Nick Frampton, ‘and both are equally important.’ Stage 1: Pre-order process It is vital from the outset that customer requirements are fully understood. To ensure that this occurs, Mills has a separate Pre-Sales engineering team, consisting of four multi-skilled and multidisciplined engineers. This team is tasked with undertaking complex machining trials in house, and preparing detailed time estimates and production solutions for customers. In the more straightforward cases the first proposal presented by Mills may be

Agreement and consensus are critical - and clear lines of communication and responsibility are crucial. To bring all these elements

A new Doosan TT 1800SY twin turret/twin spindle turning centre, specialised tooling and workholding were supplied to Briggs Brothers (Engineering) Ltd, Redditch by Mills CNC as part of a productivityenhanced turnkey solution. together, a project plan supported by regular, on-going and strategic meetings is recommended. ‘These meetings, occurring at regular intervals in the project’s life, provide both the opportunity to review the ongoing status of the project and implement changes as and when required. This ensures that the project is delivered on time and in budget. With more complex installations, Mills will coordinate site preparation (i.e. ground foundations, system layout and logistics). The Mills Service Engineering team will oversee

delivery, off-load and positioning of all elements, and follow this up with installation and commissioning of the machines and equipment. The Applications Engineering team remain on-site to ensure the successful repeat ‘pass-off ’ and to deliver theagreed training schedule for the customer Throughout both the pre- and post-order stages Mills’ integrated team approach ensures that the project doesn’t lose momentum; is well-coordinated and achieves the expected results.

A doosan HM 1000 horizontal machining centre and a Doosan DBC 110 horizontal boring machine were installed at oil/gas specialist FMC Technologies’ Dunfermline facility to machine large, heavy and high-precision Annulas Wing Blocks (AWBs).


Business Report Nov/Dec 11

Business Report November 08


business news


r Equity Markets?


ty k

tner. inue m in

said: nine nock o my eally and ome

bers we rcial

Inheritance Tax – don’t pay another tax instead? Where next for Equity Markets? A M almost all the potential losses are built in to current prices. Losses are only crystallised if you sell atBusiness Report times like these.

November 08


LEGALAsAND WarrenFINANCE Buffett and many

other commentators have stated “No one can predict exactly where the bottom of this market is, but Willhadinalready place steppedor in tothe supportwrong leading anyWest investors have if you are investing for the theof giant American insurer, AIG; concerned kindwith Will.” US news channels having Midlands become fimedium term or longer, which about the reports reported this positively for several in the mainstream press More and more people have hours; our own TV stations ran nance about expert is crunch” the headlines at 10.00 p.m. – you should aim to do with the “credit toldstating methatthat their parents and all the other terms that AIG could go under equities, then now is a good time concerned that many have been applied to have the unless transferred properties the US Government took to decisive action! They had already current economic climate. people have taken ac- into their name, in an at-be buying in”. Is it really as bad as they make out on the BBC?

taken it!

mitigate The to following morning, the they posI personally agree with his sentition without first taking tempt simplyof made a brief reference toTax or David Prior, Director of Crombies sibility Inheritance ments, although of course Financial Services in Walsall the fact the issue was now proper advice, thereby the finalised potential Care and the for problem gone. Home advises “The recent falls in equity everyone has their own views It isto thisaffect kind of irresponsible markets have been substantial. costs their estates. creating problems that They have been greater than the reporting which will exacerbate the risks they are prepared However, when have about exthe problems and makeImatters falls seen in 1987 and swifter than aren’t obvious toseenthem the falls between 2000 and worse than they should be. to take with their money. plained the consequences, but is this really the As Warren Buffett, the legendary at first glance.2003, “Financial Armageddon” thatall the too often is clear thatTherefore, an it is vital that people US investor saysit“When others are are peddling on their news greedy, I am fearful, but when David Prior, BBC Director of worse scenario in terms broadcasts? I don’t believe it even will others take professional advice about are fearful, that’s when I’m be. Crombies Financial Services of Income Tax, greedy” He has Capital amassed aGains their own circumstances, before fortune worth billions of I like reading Limited said “This tax Business was Report Tax personal and/or Inheritance Tax because they focus on what is US Dollars and is now using his making any decisions about originally seen going as being relbuy the assets thatsomeon in the local area andhas the capital then tobeen created, bias is towards either positive everyone else is too scared to own, investing. evant only to the seriously times without even achievnews items or issues that are knowing he will win when the “I believe the correct apadvice for local wealthy familiesuseful insources the ofUK, ing markets the recover. original objective proach to sit downdiscuswith For a free, noisobligation companies. The big mistake that many small but substantialUnfortunately, house price effectively. our mainstream or inexperienced investors make the clients and their legal sion to discuss your future prefer the is to bail out of the equity markets rises comparednews to channels miserly advisers ensure that attention grabbing headlines. On at times planning like these, unable to “Proper is needed financial plans,and please call David increases in the allowance the day that the US Government stand any further losses, when David Prior the correct Wills are in to ensure that the effects available, has dragged huge Prior on either 748100 place. This01922 can reduce theor of this tax are minimised, numbers of people unex- commercial 07734 550825. Ansons’ property liability in the first place. where it is appropriate to do pectedly into the Inland Too many people Services believe so. In the past, many advisCrombies Financial partner relocates to Cannock Revenue’s tax net.” that if they are married ers have simply concentrated Limited are Appointed Represenit doesn’t matter whether “I have specialised in lookupon calculating the tax tativesthey of Newell Partnerhave aPalmer Will and this ing after business proprielikely to be paid and then Limited, are is not the case. who This can recommended that life ships astors for many years and it Regulated by the lead and to serious financial surance cover be arrangedAuthorised in is surprising just how many hardship for Authority. loved ones at order to meet the liability.”Financial of them have either no valid Services

David Prior,

almost all the potential losses are built in to current prices. Losses are only crystallised if you sell at times like these.

managing director, As Warren Buffett and many other commentators have stated “No one can predict exactly where the bottom of this market is, but if you are investing for the medium term or longer, which you should aim to do with equities, then now is a good time to be buying in”.

Crombies Financial Advisers gives you I personally agree with his sentiments, although of course everyone has their own views about the risks they are prepared to take with their money. Therefore, it is vital that people take professional advice about their own circumstances, before making any decisions about investing.

the answers

For a free, no obligation discussion to discuss your future financial plans, please call David Prior on either 01922 748100 or 07734 550825.

a time when some certainty Crombies Financial Services and security would be very Limited are Appointed Representatives of NewellIt Palmer Partnerwelcome. also means that ships Limited, who are planning opportunities are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority. lost or overlooked” “Therefore, the next step in the process involves looking carefully at ways of reducing the potential liability. Again, many people feel they need to give money away, but the

correct use of the valid exemptions to Inheritance Tax means clients can control their finances whilst they are alive, whilst at the same time securing the futures of their families.” “Whilst the Government have increased the Nil Rate Threshold to £650,000 for a married couple, co-habiting couples only receive £325,000 and depending upon the arrangements made upon first death within a couple, allowances can be used or lost.” “I have recently been able to reduce potential liabilities for several clients by upwards of £200,000, just by putting the right basic plans in place and then ensuring that these are reviewed. Those clients still enjoy income from their savings, giving them long-term peace of mind.”

David and his team at Crombies Financial Services always offers the opportunity for anyone wanting to discuss their options to have a free, no obligation, initial consultation; to discuss this and other financial planning issues. n For a free, no obligation discussion on this or any Financial Planning subject, please call David on either 01922 748100 or 07734 550825. Crombies Financial Services limited are Appointed Representatives of Newell Palmer Group Limited, who are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Reality cheque for the revenue

More small businesses ‘I am not your pension’ than ever before are dodging the taxman by charging customers in cash, new reincreasing demands on today’s owner managed business, this is why our search suggests. H[SHULHQFH DQG NQRZOHGJH FRXOG XQORFN WKH GRRU WR SURYLGH \RX ZLWK D ÀW ÀQDQFLDO Health and welfare are important, Crombies Financial Service recognise the ever

Sarah Popp, commercial property partner at Ansons LLP.


taffordshire law firm Ansons LLP is boosting its commercial property department in Cannock with the announcement that one of its specialist commercial property partners is relocating to the firm’s office at Ridings Park. Sarah Popp is moving from the firm’s Lichfield office to further strengthen its commercial property and planning presence within Cannock and the surrounding areas. The relocation fits with the firm’s longterm expansion plans and means that both offices will benefit from having an experi-

enced commercial property partner. Senior partner Simon James will continue to lead the commercial property team in Lichfield. Commenting on her relocation Sarah said: “I have been based in Lichfield for nine years, prior to that I worked in Cannock and Hednesford so I am returning to my old stomping ground and I am really looking forward to the fresh challenge and to hopefully reacquaint myself with some old contacts. “It has been a conscious and well deliberated decision to return to Cannock as we are working to expand the commercial property department”.

future that puts you in control. From pensions to succession planning or simply making the most of your existing ÀQDQFLDO SURGXFWV

Up to one-in-10 companies could be taking cash-only payments in a bid to hide )RU D FRQÀGHQWLDOtheir GLVFXVVLRQ FDOO fullSOHDVH earnings from 01922 748100 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is Walsall, claimed. 16 Birminghamit Road, West Midlands, WS1 2NA

Sole traders who earn more HPDLO LQIR#FURPELHVÀQDQFLDOFRXN than £37,400 fall into the 40% tax bracket, and for Appointed Representatives of Newell Palmer Partnership Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the FSA every job over £1,000 they could save about £500 if they avoided paying National Insurance and income tax. Telephone 01922 748100 Fax: 01922 748104

‘I am not your pension’

Health and welfare are important, Crombies Financial Service recognise the ever

increasing demands on today’s owner managed business, this is why our H[SHULHQFH DQG NQRZOHGJH FRXOG XQORFN WKH GRRU WR SURYLGH \RX ZLWK D ÀW ÀQDQFLDO future that puts you in control. From pensions to succession planning or simply making the most of your existing ÀQDQFLDO SURGXFWV


01922 748100

16 Birmingham Road, Walsall,

West Midlands, WS1 2NA

Telephone 01922 748100 Fax: 01922 748104


Appointed Representatives of Newell Palmer Partnership Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the FSA

There is no law against receiving cash, but the onus is on businesses to make the correct earnings declaration. Experts believe the cash-inhand culture is being driven by a boom in entrepreneurs, many of whom lost their jobs

in the recession and startedup on their own. Up to £50million could be being “squirrelled away” by plumbers, electricians, window cleaners, gardeners and other sole traders every year. But a spokesman for Crunch Accounting, which polled 1,000 new and small businesses across the UK, said cash-only payments are liable to continue.

She said: “The fact is that cash-only payments are beneficial to everyone but the Inland Revenue. They present the trader with a lower tax bill, and also drive down cost. From our research, we believe cash-only payments are on the increase. “Obviously, all consumers should strive to stick to the law, but it would take a consumer made of granite to argue with anyone who offers a job at a discount.”

Stourbridge recruitment firm celebrates ISO 9001 certification Stourbridge based recruitment company Get Me Staff Recruitment Services Limited is celebrating after being accredited with the ISO 9001 certification. Following a recent assessment of the companies management systems by Interface NRM Limited, Get Me Staff Recruitment has been approved to the BS EN ISO

9001:2008 management standard in recruitment services. The company specialises in driving, industrial, office and catering recruitment solutions and operates 12 offices across the Midlands. Simon Powell, managing director, said: “we are pleased to have been accredited with the ISO 9001 certification as we feel that it demonstrates

the high standards which we operate by and the quality of service that we offer to our customers. I also feel that the accreditation will attract more companies towards using Get Me Staff Recruitment and will lead to further growth for the company”. For more information please visit www.getmestaff. or call 0845 2578520

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


business news

Helping Secure the future of leading construction firms A West Midlands security specialist is enjoying a fruitful partnership with one of the world’s leading construction companies.

enable the viewer to monitor the site effectively in the dark. Such is Zicam’s technological offer, the site manager is even able to view the images on his mobile phone. Zicam are market leaders in CCTV design and work with some of the world’s leading camera manufacturers.

more effective.” He added: “We all have a good working relationship and hold joint meetings to discuss any issues. Balfour gets a one-stop shop in that respect. It’s an on-going partnership and we’re about to develop it in other areas of the UK.”

More business is expected to follow, with Zicam confident of a long working relationship with the construction giants in other areas of the UK.

Such capabilities have encouraged Balfour Beatty to extend the partnership beyond the schools project. Paul said: “We were introduced to Balfour by GR8. They provide things like the banksman and the cleaning facilities and we provide the electronic security. Typically that comes into its own out of hours, such as between 6pm and 6am and weekends. To have a guard permanently on site would typically cost them around £50,000 per year, whereas an electronic solution would more likely be around £30,000 and prove

With four schools projects on course and another site in the area starting imminently it comes as little surprise that Balfour Beatty have transpired as yet another satisfied customer. He said: “We work all over the UK and we always provide a quality solution. The expertise we can offer can be invaluable.”

Working in partnership with GR8 Security, Dudley-based Zicam Security secured a lucrative contract with Balfour Beatty to oversee operations at four key sites in the West Midlands.

Peter Fennelll, project manager with Balfour Beatty Construction Northern, said to the security partners: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you. I’d like to extend a big thank you from me for all your good work and assistance over the last couple of years”. Zicam has been providing electronic security solutions for the construction sites of four academy and school sites around the West Midlands, the latest being Thistley Hough High School in Stoke-on-Trent. Zicam’s Paul Whiting says that such has been the effectiveness of the company’s security solutions, no breaches have been encountered at any of the Balfour Beatty sites. He said: “Security is a typical consideration for construction sites, otherwise untold damage can be caused. Our solutions have worked extremely well and there have been no issues whatsoever.” Site crime is estimated to cost the construction industry a staggering £400m a year, with the rising price of materials such as copper proving particularly enticing to thieves. International

Milan Mazic,managing director, Zicam Security metals prices have been driven up for over a decade by the demand from China and other burgeoning economies, making sophisticated security solutions a must for construction companies. Plant equipment and tools are also targeted, causing costly disruption to construction. About £1 million worth of plant and construction machinery is stolen every week in the UK and evidence suggests that the majority of these thefts are conducted by organised criminal networks that infiltrate construction sites, creating significant disruption for major building projects. Zicam boasts a wealth of access control solutions, from video entry to biometric readers, which can inform the customer of all comings and goings on site. The victims of plant theft can incur considerable and unwanted costs, such as that

of a replacement machine and the short-to-mediumterm hire of replacement equipment. This is coupled with the potential for increased annual insurance premiums and significant loss of productivity and time which often results in financial and commercial penalties. Zicam’s surveillance and monitoring solutions also play a pivotal role during working hours, as the technology can be utilised from a health and safety perspective. Of all the industries, construction has the highest rates for accidents at work and monitoring solutions enables the customer to record all accidents and assess it accordingly, potentially guarding themselves from costly claims. Zicam have drawn upon advanced electronic security solutions such as finger print recognition for site entry and high-tech cameras which

n For more information on Zicam’s security solutions, telephone 01384 344 999 or email


Business Report Nov/Dec 11

business news

Law firm celebrate department growth case and also the finances involved. Andrew Pointon, a partner in the Dispute Resolution team said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Mike to the team, bringing with him a wealth of litigation experience”. Laura Gough has recently been admitted to the roll of Solicitors of England and Wales and is now a full time member of the Dispute Resolution team at Enoch Evans LLP. Laura completed her LLB Law Degree at Lancaster University and

Laura Gough and Michael Jarrett, Dispute Resolution Team


he Dispute Resolution team at Enoch Evans LLP Solicitors are celebrating the arrival of a new member of staff, the achievement of one of their junior fee earners and, as a result, the

expansion of one of their teams.

Michael Jarrett has joined the firm as a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team. Having qualified as a Solicitor in September 1997, Michael previously worked at Nelsons LLP and Cobbetts LLP. He deals with a range of civil and commercial litigation cases, including shareholder and directors’

disputes, general contractual disputes (covering amongst other things, the parties’ terms and conditions), property litigation, debt recovery, probate / estate disputes and contested trust issues. Mike has experience of mediation as well as other forms of alternative dispute resolution procedures. He can advise as to the best courses of action, tailoring them to suit the value and/or merits of the

achieved a Distinction in her LPC at Chester College of Law. She began her legal career at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP in Wolverhampton as a Trainee Solicitor and joined Enoch Evans LLP in June 2011. Laura is currently Vice Chairperson of the Wolverhampton Junior Lawyers Division together with the firm’s Stephen Nixon who is a fellow Committee member. She is also actively promoting the launch of the firm’s Junior Professionals Group which aims to promote

professional relationships at junior level in the Walsall Borough. Laura specialises in matrimonial and family law as well as in contested probate. Emma Birch, the Partner and head of the Dispute Resolution team commented, “Laura has worked extremely hard to gain her qualification and to further develop the successful Family team. I am sure she has a long and rewarding career ahead of her with Enoch Evans LLP



hree questions are troubling me. Where’s the bottom of this downturn? How will we know when we get there? What will it look like? People need answers to these questions before they commit to build, remodel, or grow their business - bold decisions are best made based on sound foundations. Every boom and bust cycle has similar stages: Uncertainty (where are we?) – Panic – Realignment of expectations based on fact – Confidence based on fact – Unrealistic confidence (‘bandwagon’) - Realisation that it’s not sustainable and we’re in trouble – then back to the start. You see, it’s human nature that triggers periods of boom and bust – people’s feelings amplify the economic trends, whether for good or bad. This time around the banks’ financial innovations extended and

So what strategy should you adopt when all around you is shifting sand? When things could get worse in ways you are not yet anticipating? It’s an incredibly tough question.

By Paul, Brindley, Midlands Business Recovery further amplified the up: they will do the same to the down. At the moment we are stuck in the loop somewhere between uncertainty and panic, unable to move on because we cannot answer the three questions. Government strategy is based more on short term crisis management and hope than reality or long term vision, on trying to prevent the bubbles that have partially deflated from bursting entirely. Several, as serious bubbles, lie ahead ready to pop.

Yet it’s not all bad news: you can read the title as opportunity is ‘nowhere’ or ‘now here’ – it’s your choice, downturns bring great opportunities to people who move just ahead of the curve. Taking advantage of such opportunities means not following the herd; acting with the longer term in mind; getting the timing just right. And no one that I know can do this on their own; they need support from experienced professional advisers with the vision to see things others cannot. And such support is not cheap. We are in un-trodden territory. Are you and your advisers up to the task? Do your advisers add real value to your business decisions or are they a mere overhead?

The Business Resuscitation Programme Doing more for Black Country businesses Through our Business Resuscitation Programme we help Black Country businesses: • Raise cash to grow or simply to survive • Bring in additional sales and marketing resources • Find merger or acquisition partners. For more information, call Paul Brindley on 01902 672323 or visit

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


business news

Cash crisis: What cash crisis?


hilst many companies are struggling with cash flow issues a good number of smaller businesses – together with major corporations – have accumulated significant cash piles, according to corporate finance partner Chris Key at the Birmingham office of Haines Watts. “We seem to have a polarisation when it comes to company cash: the haves and have-nots and whilst there are many have-nots, a number of companies are sitting

on significant cash reserves,” said Mr Key. Famously, at the one extreme, Apple has more cash to spend than that of the United States government. The July figures from the US Treasury Department revealed that the US has an operating cash balance of $73.7bn – contrasting with $76.4bn of cash reserves in Apple’s most recent financial results. “Apple is, of course, the exception and not the rule but there is actually a significant cash pile being held by major corporations in particular but also, at the other end, family owned businesses and SMEs,” said Mr Key.

“It is not surprising that many company bosses are reluctant to invest significant levels in capital equipment when there is uncertainty in the economy. Far better, they reckon, to keep hold of it – just in case the current rainy days turn into thunder storms. “However, it is more than likely that the cash is sitting there doing nothing – which is hardly productive for any business.” Mr Key believes that many companies are contemplating going on the acquisition trail – with takeovers already back in vogue and M & A deals being on the up. There are opportunities out there now as larger corporates are off loading non-core subsidiaries and

require cash themselves. We have seen several deals recently in the region where such sales have occurred. “Provided you can find the right acquisition, it is a sensible move but acquisitions are full of pitfalls and in smaller businesses in particular, have a habit of taking management’s eye off the day-today running of the business.” Investment in research and development is, said Mr Key, an investment in the future – and with a better tax return, is potentially proving attractive. “Where cash is being held for a designated project, it is important to establish the timescale when funds will be needed and match

City businesses encouraged to invest in apprentices


olverhampton businesses are being encouraged to invest in Apprenticeship programmes in order to develop the skills required to future-proof their organisation and provide the workforce of the future.

Key organisations including Wolverhampton City Council, the City of Wolverhampton College and the National Apprenticeship Service came together with local employers HS Marston Aerospace Ltd and Thompson Group at a special breakfast event in October, to highlight to the local business community how Apprenticeships can bring about great benefits to any business, large or small. The Apprenticeships: Good for Business event, held at Molineux Stadium, was attended by more than 140 delegates from local businesses, small and mediumsize enterprises and private sector organisations. Speakers from the National Apprenticeship Service, the City of Wolverhampton College and a panel of local employers including HS Marston Aerospace Ltd and Thompson Group, answered questions about Apprenticeship programmes and the national support on offer, as well as the cost benefits to organisations. Apprenticeships give employers access to enthusiastic, motivated individuals who are eager to learn the skills that their businesses really need right from the start. In return, the appren-

their accessibility to that. This means that businesses can invest more wisely – and in areas where a greater rate of return is available. Fixed term money market deposits give a better rate than deposit accounts at banks. “Over time, simple management of this type will give a worthwhile enhanced return,” said Mr Key. “Some businesses are also now looking at getting discounts from suppliers for earlier payment. Smaller, less cash-rich companies are welcoming the certainty of an order as well as the certainty of enhanced cash flow and may well be willing to give a discount accordingly,” said Mr Key.

New Chair Heralds New Era at ART

Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning, said: “In leading by example, the city council has committed to an Apprenticeship programme and we will be recruiting 30 young apprentices each year, giving them real life experiences of the world of work.” The first wave of apprenticeships will be offered in February, where 15 young people will secure a one-year fixed term contract at a wage of £150 per week. Another 15 places will be available starting in September 2012. They include apprenticeships with teams which oversee horticulture, arboriculture, building and electrical services, cleaning, catering, customer services, business administration and motor vehicle maintenance.

HS Marston Aerospace Ltd apprentice Adam Greaves and Wolverhampton City Council’s Head of Post 16 Learning and Skills Paul Doherty. tice gets not only practical experience and qualifications, but also a wage. Karen Woodward, Divisional Apprenticeship Director at the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “Wolverhampton currently has lower levels of employers in the city involved in Apprenticeships. “Events such as this, which was very well attended by the local business community, demonstrate that businesses are keen to hear about the benefits Apprenticeship training can bring. “Evidence suggests that businesses who take on apprentices benefit from improved productivity, motivated and loyal workers, and higher staff retention levels.

Furthermore, businesses are able to address skills shortages and bring Wolverhampton’s potential business leaders of the future to the fore.” Wolverhampton City Council organised the event as part of its commitment to supporting local businesses and to provide more employment opportunities, crucial to the city’s future development and growth plans. Paul Doherty, Wolverhampton City Council’s Head of Post 16 Learning and Skills, told delegates that the authority would be introducing its own rolling Apprenticeship programme for 16 to 18 year-olds. Councillor Phil Page, Wolverhampton City Council’s

The National Apprenticeship Service offers a free and impartial service to small, medium and large employers, guiding them from identification of a potential apprenticeship role, through to recruitment of the apprentice. For more information, visit www.apprenticeships. The event was hosted by, Wolverhampton’s online business community that aims to boost the area’s economy by giving local businesses, social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations the support and contacts they need to pitch for and win bigger contracts. n For details of further events, register free at

Craig Errington, new Chair of ART, with outgoing Chair Lowry Maclean


raig Errington, Chief Executive of Wesleyan Assurance Society and the Institute of Directors’ national Director of the Year 2011, has been elected Chair of the Board of ART.

Speaking at ART’s AGM Craig said: “I feel honoured to be taking on this new role and following in such great footsteps. ART has strong foundations in place on which the new Board can build. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but I think there are as many opportunities. With a strong Board and experienced staff team, we can face the future with confidence.”

Philippa picks up from Ian Clegg, retired regional director of NatWest who served on the Board since ART’s inception in 1997. Craig takes over from Lowry Maclean, a former Chair of Wesleyan Assurance Society, who succeeded Sir Adrian Cadbury as Chair of ART in 2004.

ART is a not-for-profit Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), which lends up to £50,000 to businesses in Birmingham and Solihull that are unable to secure any or all of the finance they need from the banks.

Philippa Holland, OBE, retired Director of Government Practice at the Government Office for the West Midlands, has been elected Deputy Chair.

n Read by more than 20,000 business decision makers each edition. Send us your news to or call 01902 482450

10 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Manufacturing Update UK manufacturing market trends, November 2011 prepared for Business Report by Mike White of Arvada Strategic Marketing Specialists in Strategy Email

UK Annual Manufacturing Output 2011 Vs 2010

Manufacturing update

In its report published on 8th November 2011 the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that total manufacturing output increased by 2.0% in September 2011 compared with September 2010. The largest contributors to the annual increase were:

period average industrial gas prices have increased by 25 per cent (10% in real terms) with a decrease of 9% (11% in real terms) during 2010. It should be noted that average prices are quoted and actual prices may vary by company fuel consumption and bargaining power. Source: UK Office for National Statistics Quarterly UK Manufacturing Industry Average Fuel Prices (2011 Quarter 2)

Transport equipment industries up by 6.1% Other manufacturing & repair, up by 8.6%

Compared to Q2 2010 manufacturing companies saw electricity prices (excluding Carbon Change Levy) rise by an average of 2.8% in current terms (-5.7% in real terms). Over the same period manufacturing gas consumers generally saw prices (excluding CCL) increase by an average of 35.4% in current terms (17.1% in real terms). Heavy fuel oil consumers in Q2 2011 saw prices rise by an average of 22.1% in current terms (14.8% in real terms).

Machinery and equipment industries up by 9.1%. The largest negative contribution was pharmaceutical products & preparations which decreased by 10.2% Source: UK Office for National Statistics UK Monthly Manufacturing Output 2011 According to ONS, manufacturing output between August 2011 and September 2011 increased by 0.2%. The largest contributors to the increase were: Transport equipment industries, up by 3.9% Basic metals and metal products, up by 1.9% The largest negative contributions to output were: Computer, electrical and optical equipment industries, down by 3.3% Food , beverage and tobacco, down by 2.0% Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index published on 1st November 2011 and based on data collected between 12th & 26th October 2011 reported that in October business conditions in the UK manufacturing sector had deteriorated and that the index had fell to its lowest level since June 2009. Manufacturing production had seen a modest decline and staffing levels had fell for the fourth month running. It reported that new orders had declined at the fastest pace since March 2009, the decline in orders was reported to be due to low client confidence, market uncertainty and destocking. Companies also reported weaker demand from both domestic and export markets. The level of incoming new export orders fell for the third month running, but at a

Exchange Rates Euro

Transport Equipment Industries were among the top performing sectors between August and September 2011 slightly slower pace than in September. Reduced order inflows were received from clients in mainland Europe, Asia and the US. The latest reduction was partly linked to clients delaying purchases or destocking in response to the deteriorating global economic backdrop. Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI also reported that Inflationary pressures continued to ease in the sector during October. Rates of increase in average input costs and output prices were the least marked since August 2009 and December 2009 respectively. In both cases, slower price increases partly reflected rising competition. In the area of costs, companies also mentioned reduced supply constraints and lower commodity prices as contributory factors.

In October 2011 the average Pound vs. Euro exchange rate was 1.1487 Euros to the Pound compared to an the average of 1.1412 Euros to the Pound in October 2010. Dollar In October 2011 the average Pound vs. Dollar exchange rate was 1.576 Dollars to the Pound compared to an the average of 1.5862 Dollars to the Pound in October 2010. Source: Bank of England

Source: Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI http://www.markiteconomics. com/MarkitFiles/Pages/ViewPressRelease.aspx?ID=8738 Energy Prices Annual UK Manufacturing Industry Average Fuel Prices In its report published on 29th September 2011 with data for the second quarter of 2011 the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that over the past five years (2005 to 2010) average industrial electricity prices have risen by 54% (35% in real terms), with a decrease of 10 per cent (13% in real terms) in 2010. Over the same

Scan the bar code to goto Made in the Made in the Midlands login page

12 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Made in the Midlands new members

The following businesses through a philosophy of innovation, investment and a shared passion for the region have excelled within their field. They realise how important it is to champion manufacturing in the Midlands and to support our peers in all industry across the region. Made in the Midlands Award winners 2011

Bernstein Ltd Brandenburg UK Brass Turned Parts Ltd Bri-Mac Engineering CJ Tool & Mouldings Ltd Dearson Tools Ltd Duright Engineering Ltd Dynatherm Ltd Friary Metal Products Ltd GoodFish

ICS Hydraulics Ltd JN Fettling Metro Shipping



Cab Automotive Ltd


Clayton Holdings Ltd


Delcam UK Ltd


J & J Engineering Ltd


Laser Process Ltd


Metsec PLC


Micro Spring Presswork Ltd


Sertec Group Holdings


SSC Laser Ltd


STS Rail Ltd

Hockley Pattern & Tool Ltd


TBF International Ltd

Manufacturing Achievement Awards:


Threeway Pressings Ltd

HT Brigham Ltd

Q.A Electrical Ltd

Investment in New Plant Category Winner: n

Moog Aerospace

Major Contract Win Category Winner: n

Non-Ferrous Stockholders Ltd

Rand Engineering Ltd


Overseas Trade Category Winner:

Mena Engineering Ltd

Precision Micro

Brown & Holmes Ltd

Investment in Innovation Category Winner :

Hockley Pattern & Tool Huf UK


Advanced Chemical Etching Ltd n

W.H Marren Ltd


AJT Equipment Ltd

Waste Efficiency Services


Avery Weigh-Tronix

n UKF Stailnless Ltd & JPC Perforators n

Vanguard Foundry Ltd


Zero Cases Ltd

n Bracebridge Engineering Ltd

If you want to sign up to the Made In The Midlands campaign, or find out more about the campaign, email madeinthemidlands@ or telephone 01902 482450

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Significant contract wins secure record year for TBF International


alsall based firm TBF International has secured several significant new contracts ensuring their impressive growth continues unabated.

a global market. Both companies share a great deal of experience manufacturing seats for the motorsport industry, with TBF manufacturing the frameworks for Cobra Seating. Matt has always believed that reciprocal trade is a strength to be built on and this works well as Cobra apply their excellence in the upholstery of the demonstration seat for Britax with a style instantly recognised as a the Cobra brand.

The tube manipulation experts recorded a record turnover in excess of £2.3m over the last 12 months and are on course to maintain that success into next year, forecasting a 20% increase in turnover.

TBF, who were recently awarded the Made in the Midlands Manufacturing Achievement award, say that they owe much of that success to the working relationships that have been established with a variety of people. TBF director and general manager Matt Gilkes said: “We’ve got strong, trustworthy, working relationships with all of our customers, but that is not the primary factor here. Everyone in this company is driven towards achieving personally and that creates the right environment. Hard work, blood, sweat and tears have gone into making it happen.”

TBF supply safety critical tube components fitted into the majority of Car baby seats chairs manufactured by child seat experts Britax. They also develop and manufacture the display seat for high profile out-

lets such as Halfords and Mothercare to display the Britax car seats in their stores around the world. Working in collaboration with fellow Midlands firm Cobra Seats Ltd the two companies have reached

Make it in Great Britain


ade in the Midlands is welcoming the UK Government’s backing of the manufacturing sector with the launch of Make it in Great Britain, a new campaign aimed at transforming outdated opinions of UK manufacturing. The campaign will culminate in an exhibition during Olympic Games time that will celebrate the successes of the manufacturing sector and encourage young people to consider a career in the industry.

To help overturn the persistent myth that Britain ‘has no manufacturing industry’ the Business Secretary, Vince Cable has called on manufacturers across the country to help support the Make it in Great Britain campaign. The initiative is to be launched with a series of events in Westminster, including a reception at 10 Downing Street. Jason Pitt said: “The Made in the Midlands team met the Business Minister in the early part of the year. We had the opportunity to be involved in a brain storming session to help solve some of the challenges facing business today. During the meeting we were able to voice what we had achieved in the Midlands.”

Business Minister, Mark Prisk with Jason Pitt, Editor

Despite popular belief, Britain still does make things and has outstanding manufacturing companies Mark told us he was a big supporter of the manufacturing sector and the government wanted to do all it could to help British trade. Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Despite popular belief, Britain still does make things and has outstanding manufacturing companies, large and small. “Our world-beating companies have an excellent reputation for innovation. I want our young people and those who hold outdated views of British manufacturing to see that reality. That’s why we’re launching the Make it in Great Britain campaign. “To help us do that I want our most passionate manufacturers, whether that’s ‘captains of industry’ or those just starting out in their careers, to be our industry champions. With their help, we can modernise people’s views of manufacturing and dispel the myth that ‘we don’t make anything in the UK anymore’.”

The company has committed over 250 hours of research and development into recent contracts, highlighting a dedication to tube manipulation, which has them actively involved in a broad range of sectors from rail to leisure. Matt said: “TBF is recognised within our industry and by our customers as a proactive partner, advising and developing Tube products ranging from the seemingly impossible to the easily achievable”. In-house capabilities are where TBF really show there expertise. Tube Laser, CNC Bending on Traditional and Modern machines, Welding fabrication, 3D dimensional and reverse engineering are

key strengths that are apparent in this business. TBF appears very much to be a business with a serious future, not least because the skilled 24-strong staff possess an average age of 34. General manager Matt, who only recently turned 37 himself, is keen to maintain a culture of innovation and development and continue to cultivate a settled team that are committed, driven and empowered individuals that grow with the company. He said: “There’s a great deal of emphasis on training and multi-skilling the team because our business is people driven and yes, it is our business. We want to drive the business forward and as a growing company the team understand that the key is to work hard for each other and be proud about what we do.” n For sales or enquiries, please contact or phone 01922 725505.

14 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Award win marks Threeway’s success portfolio of 57 models – from lightweight, manoeuvrable models, to sturdy, heavyduty barrows – is unmatched by any of its competitors in the marketplace. Bullbarrow also produces a wide range of garden and leisure accessories including trolleys, flexitubs, children’s sledges and snow shovels. It launched its newest product – the Bullcart, a revolutionary two-wheeled cart that’s easy to push or pull thanks to its low centre of gravity – at Glee 2011, the UK’s top trade show for the garden industry and held annually at the NEC Birmingham.

Phil Stanley and Richard Perry, Threeway Pressings


he growing success of Threeway Pressings this year earned it a Manufacturing Achievement Award in the Made in the Midlands Awards 2011. The award also recognizes the company’s ongoing investment in its core operations – the manufacture of precision presswork components in ferrous and non-ferrous metals for the automotive, construction and white goods sectors.

A new 200 tonne Rhodes press has doubled production capacity to 1.8 million parts a year. Modern CNC tube manipulation equipment has been purchased and the company’s welding and robotic welding facilities have been increased by a third. In addition, a new purpose-built storage and distribution facility means stock can be held for customers on a Kanban basis and dispatched and delivered within 48 hours. Threeway’s diversification strategy has seen it expand its facilities to include section rolling, which has enabled work to be repatriated from China. Customer lead times will be reduced and Threeway will add yet another growth area to its business. Its injection moulding plant has also received investment in tooling and machinery to retrieve operations that were previously outsourced. This is facilitating better control

We decided to manufacture all our SpyraBase products in the UK because we couldn’t find suitable suppliers elsewhere

of production and stock holding and has already doubled productivity. The Tipton-based firm’s diversification is giving customers access to a substantial variety of integrated manufacturing solutions under one roof, and is a key factor in the steady rise of Threeway’s turnover and profitability. Branching out into garden and leisure products is proving to be a highly successful venture. Bullbarrow Products, a division of Threeway, is the market leader in the manufacture and supply of wheelbarrows for the gardening, hardware and building industries. Its

“We had a tremendous response when we exhibited at Glee,” director Phil Stanley told Business Report. “Our stand looked very impres-

3 Malthou West Mid

Phone 01 Fax 012



Threeway’s diversification strategy has seen it expand its facilities to include section rolling, which has enabled work to be repatriated from China

security applications, anysive with all our Bullbarrow products in various colours thing in fact from securing a on display and attracted a parasol or tent to a caravan lot of interest from buyers. or boat. Unlike rival prodAround the same time as the ucts, Spyra-Base anchors show we launched our new create minimum ground diswebsite – www. bullbarrow. turbance when being – and this is also helped or removed, meaning they ing us to raise our profile among the 2,000Threeway garden arePressings good for the environment is a specialist centres and builders’ merand reusable. chants in the UK.” precision pressings in ferrous and has this year in- tube m premises Threeway also accommodate Spyra-Base, a wholly-owned vested a “six-figure sum” to subsidiary of Threeway, is assembly manufacturing facilities. bring Spyra-Base’s the UK’s leading manufac-

company operates a fully integ turer of ground The anchors. manufacturing operations With their spiral to design, ISO:9001 production o to its enabling Midlands base. This these can be rotated into the has involved investment in Automatic presswork c ground by hand andtraceability. used for new machinery, tooling, and a variety of garden, and DIY and is especially geared for autom sales and administration also operates single action ofpresses resources. The relocation the business, and says Threeway, house fabrication welding ope will also create future job opThe company prides itself on an ab portunities in the region.

and achieve fast product turn-roun Director Richard Perry throughout. commented: “We decided to manufacture all our SpyraBase products in the UK because we couldn’t find suitable suppliers elsewhere, including China. We have designed and developed our own machinery that will enable us to make the components to the required quality standard enjoyed by all our presswork and injection moulding customers. “This will also give us greater capacity and flexibility to increase production in response to customer demand. What’s more, our prices will remain competitive when compared to foreign imports.”

n For full details of Threeway’s products and services, contact Phil Stanley or Richard Perry on 0121 520 2345.

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands Double win for Laser Process

Online store helps firms buy green


n the strength of its success with the online materials handling shop – www.pallettruckstop., Amvar Handling Solutions has recently launched a new shop which is designed to aid companies and organisations to ‘go green’.

t the Made in the Midlands award ceremony, held last week at the Banks’ Stadium in Walsall, Laser Process picked up its second Manufacturing Achievement award in as many years. The award recognizes the investment and achievements made by the company over the last year. Around one million pounds of investment was committed to the purchase of two laser cutting systems from Trumpf UK. Trumpf are widely regarded as one of the worlds best laser cutting system manufacturers and the two machines installed are state of the art. The company has also introduced an online quoting system called LaserQuote24/7. This enables registered companies to obtain immediate laser cutting quotations at any time of the day or night. Laser Process are only the


Over the last 12 months the firm has investment £1m in new machinary and 24/7 quoting system second laser cutting organisation in the UK to offer this service.

Amvar is forecasting a record year in 2011/12 with sales turnover expected to increase by 36% on the previous year. It is planning to invest more of this growth into on-line retailing in the future, including its latest shop:

Recently Laser Process has also received accreditation to ISO 14001 for Environmental Management. This accreditation, through NQA recognises the commitment by Laser Process to reducing waste and the effect of its operations on the environment.

Most forward-thinking organisations are seeking to improve their ‘green’ credentials and to reduce their carbon footprint. This new site offers a number of product groups with ex-stock deliveries and competitive pricing, including the following:

Joey Moore, sales manager, with Made in the Midlands 2011 award

n Recycling bins and waste handling n Spillage control & containment n Drum handling, transportation & storage n Janitorial & healthcare products n Hazardous storage & transport n Smoking & cycle shelters n And even snow clearance equipment! Commenting on this new site, Managing Director Malcolm Mitchell said: “Many of our customers prefer to go online to make purchases these days” Malcolm added: “We’ve been very busy over the past eighteen months and we are looking forward to a very exciting time ahead. A lot of work has been done already but we still have a lot to do in the future”. n Visit the site at www. greenindustrialproducts.

Welded steel tube producer aims to stay top ®

king Tube Further

Taking tube further” bines more capabilities any other reads thethan strapline oducer with on newevery levelspage of innovation of the ness, the results of which can new-look website mean of vings in cost time for customers. Topand Tubes. Putting its philosophy into nd out more.

practice, the Wednesburybased company, which alreadyRoad, offersWednesbury, a greater range Limited, 2 Smith West Midlands WS10 0PD of +44 capabilities thanEmail: any 06 1080 Fax: (0)121 506 1090 other UK ERW steel tube laser-cutting services producer, has this year ining all tube dimensions. vested £1.5 million in new Other equipment purplant and achieved accredichased in the last 12 months tation to ISO 9001:2008 to includes a £250,000 Mair secure its leading position in automated packing line, the industry. which will enable tubes previously delivered in irThe company’s newest piece regular bundles to be preof equipment is a £800,000 sented to customers in neat BLM Adige LT8 laserrectangular, square or hexcutting machine, the most agonal packs. In addition, advanced of its type. It can a new high-speed Brudprocess square tubes up to erer perforation line, costing 200mm x 200mm and rec£150,000, means perforated tangular tubes up to 200 x strip processing can now 180mm. Complementing the be handled in-house, and company’s existing LT712D so better controlled, rather and LT722D machines, two than outsourced. In a simiof the fastest of their kind in lar move, early next year a the world, the LT8 gives Top slitting line will be installed Tubes a complete range of

to replace facilities currently sited at another factory. Craig Gibbs, ERW sales manager, said: “Our aim is to be a solutions provider, not just a tube producer. By offering added-value services, such as laser profile cutting, manipulation and fabrication, we can deliver to the customer a semi-finished product with a finite cost.” The company’s accreditation to ISO 9001:2008 marks the culmination of two years’ work which has seen Top Tubes not just introduce new procedures but also a new working culture. “We have changed the way we work to achieve this standard,” said managing director Adam Bradley. “Everybody is now completely focused on this quality management system and understands why it is so important we use it to control our working practices. “Not having this standard has held us back in the past.

Many companies would not even talk to us. Now just weeks after gaining our accreditation, it is already beginning to open doors. It will give us the opportunity to supply products for higherend applications to OEMs in the automotive sector and other market segments that we were previously closed out of before.” Top Tubes was established in 1994 – by Adam and his

brother Matthew – and ever since its turnover has grown consistently, from £1.5 million in its first year of trading to £28 million in 2010. Today the company employs 100 people while annual output currently stands at more than 30,000 tonnes. “The investment in new equipment and our quality improvements are taking Top Tubes into a new era in terms of capability,

efficiency and professionalism,” added Adam. “Despite our rapid growth, Top Tubes still has the atmosphere of a small, close-knit business. Because the company is family-owned, we have many good qualities – such as our dedication and sense of endeavour – which I think sets us apart from many of our competitors.”

16 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

H T Brigham pressing ahead into 2012


t would probably be fair to admit that as years go, 2011 will not go down as one of the most explosive for H T Brigham. Although it began with a roar of updated and increased schedules, these returned to a steadier, more familiar flow during the summer months. It became apparent that ‘global domination’ would in fact take a little longer than hoped and would be replaced with a more gentle recovery to the pre-downturn days.

As you may be aware, H T Brigham has worked relentlessly during 2011 to assure the company’s future, as work from new customers came on stream and existing accounts continued to develop. The pressworker expects recent project wins from new industry sectors,

in particular, to be pivotal to the company’s long-term success and to contribute to making 2012 what could well be the most important year in the firm’s long manufacturing history. This year has also been a particularly busy one for HTB design engineers. The company worked hard for eight months to develop a cost effective replacement to a troublesome casting for a client in North America. This deep drawn pressing will be introduced onto a leading North American OEM’s automotive platform during 2012, generating revenues for H T Brigham in the region of £1.5 million in its first year of production. With other development projects reaching completion, including an own brand medical device and a cutting edge high tolerance precision pressing for the new technologies market,

firm foundations have been placed during 2011 for a lucrative 2012 and beyond. 2011 also saw the company investing heavily in order to secure its future growth, with the month of October being a busy one. Extensive preparations were made to ensure that everything was in place for an important delivery. Over 5,000 miles away, the latest addition to H T Brigham’s increasing plant list was in its final stages of production. The metal pressworker’s newest acquisition, which arrived on-site on October 27th, will assist the company’s continued growth and expansion into new product areas and market sectors, by facilitating the manufacture of larger and heavier presswork than the company has been able to produce before. The rewards of this investment became clear when

H T Brigham was able to secure not one, but two lucrative, long-term contracts for brand new projects with existing customers. The machine, which will enable these new contacts to be fulfilled, is the Chin Fong Straight Side Double Crank Power Press, with 400 ton capacity. The press has been manufactured to H T Brigham’s bespoke specification in Taiwan by one of the largest power press manufacturers in the world. The purchase of the press, however, was secured slightly closer to home, with Stourbridge based company Worcester Presses, who’s Sales Director, Russell Hartill, says, ‘Worcester Presses have taken great pride in supporting H T Brigham during this important transitional period’. It was also a year when H T Brigham invested heavily in

its people, with every member of staff being placed on an extensive City & Guilds ‘Business Improvement Techniques’ program to encourage lean working processes companywide. Barry Smith, Managing Director says, ‘with these practices now being implemented and maintained within each department, efficiency, within what the company had already considered to be a pretty tight ship, can only be increased further’.

So, with continued investment in people, machinery and capacity, along with a very healthy actual order book for 2012/2013, it would appear that UK manufacturing, for H T Brigham at least, is looking very strong indeed. Here’s to 2012 and beyond… n For more information contact HT Brigham 01675 463882 or visit

Virtually every plane in the sky relies on MSP components for Safety Critical applications Quality • • • • •

BS 9001:2009 AS 9100 NADCAP Load test capability 100% and CPC inspection and testing regimes

Presswork & Assemblies

• Huge range of equipment and blanking capacity up to 125 tons • Same wide range of ferrous, non-ferrous and synthetic materials as our springs. • All of our tooling is manufactured and maintained in-house via our extensive tool room including EDM capability. • In-house vibro peening, chemical etching and inkjet marking.

Springs & Wireforms

• Virtually every spring type and wire form from 0.1 to 20mm wire diameter. • Materials include beryllium copper, tungsten, stainless steel, phosphor bronze, titanium, copper, brass, nickel alloys, carbon steel and polymers. • Hand crafted or the latest automatic CNC spring-coilers and wireformers. • Over 500 collective years of experience at your disposal.


With almost 50 years trading history and over 500 years of combined spring & presswork experience, there is very little we don’t know about spring making and press working. We have been partnering Aerospace, Oil & Gas and Medical industries for many years, often with safety critical applications.

Contact our sales office to find out why many of the leading blue chip companies choose MSP. Excellence without Compromise

Call us on 01527 69121 or email:

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Anodising specialists celebrate brand new factory opening


est Midlands based finishing specialists Hard Anodising Ltd has announced it is ready to return to full production following a devastat-

was gutted by a blaze which broke out soon after the first shift had clocked on at the start of a new week. “We had just begun work that Monday morning when suddenly all hell broke loose and there were great plumes of black smoke everywhere,” recalled managing director Phil Bayliss. “The building was immediately evacuated and thankfully everybody got out OK.”

ing fire which severely damaged one of its factories. The Kidderminster company says it can now offer its customers an even better service than before, having replaced outdated plant lost in the fire with the latest state-of-the-art equipment. It has also boosted overall capacity by redesigning the layout of its production areas. Hard Anodising, an independent company founded in 1971, offers a number of specialist metal finishing services including Hard, Sulphuric, and Chromic anodising, sulphuric acid and coloured anodising, chromate

fence, medical, engineering and manufacturing sectors.

More than 40 firefighters and nine fire appliances from across Worcestershire were called to tackle the fire. Flames up to 100ft high and thick clouds of smoke could be seen billowing out from the single-story building before the fire, believed to have started in an extraction system, was brought under control.

In August 2010, the company’s No. 2 factory at its site on the Firs Industrial Estate in Kidderminster

While the roof of the factory collapsed and most of the plant and equipment it contained was damaged or

Phil Bayliss, MD Hard Anodising, in new factory coatings and electroless nickel plating. It undertakes both prototype and high volume work for customers spread among the automotive, aerospace, marine, de-

destroyed, Hard Anodising’s on-site protection measures were commended by the local fire service for preventing any environmental pollution. These precautions included a bund around the site that stopped hazardous chemicals from overflowing into the local drainage system or the nearby Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.

“I think we’re in a better position compared to where we were before,” added Phil Bayliss. “The fire has given us the opportunity to lay out the factory in line with modern standards and practices, and we have spent a lot of money on fitting it out with brand new plant and equipment.

As soon as the loss adjuster had visited the site and assessed the damage, Phil and his 40-strong workforce set about cleaning up and repairing the No. 2 factory. Hard Anodising’s total insurance claim for all the damage caused and resulting business interruption would eventually come to £1.7 million. Meanwhile, while the company inevitably lost some customers, production was maximised at its No. 1 factory (on the same site) and the company was able to avoid making redundancies or laying off staff.

“All this will improve our workflow, making us more productive and efficient, and make our already quick turnaround times even quicker. The new-look factory is also a much more attractive facility to show our customers.” Hard Anodising’s quality and environmental accreditations include BS EN ISO 9001-2008, AS9100 Revision B, ISO14001-2004 and the NADACP standard for chemical processing.

J & J Engineering (Walsall) Ltd. J & J Engineering (Walsall) Ltd. have been manufacturing quality metal pressings and welded assemblies for over 30 years in the west midlands and was established in 1978. Let our J & J design team help make your components for your clients, we are specialists in Presswork, Welding Fabrication and Toolmaking. We manufacture Metal Pressing / Welded Assemblies for the following industries: • • • • •

Leading Supermarkets Automotive Industries Plumbing Materials Electrical Goods Agricultural Components

We are able to offer:

• Metal Pressings / Metal Welded Assemblies • Tooling Requirements • Brake Presses for Fabrication • Welding Department Mig,Tig,Spot Projection & Stud Welding • Design and inhouse Toolroom • Presses from 20 to 250 Tonnage (Bed Size 72” x 36”)

• • • •

White Goods Appliances Hardware Heating Appliances Hospital Equipment

• Lazer Cutting is available • Pro-toe-type work low & High Volumes • Assembly components • Powder Coating • Galvanizing pre-treated materials • Tube Manipulation & Threading

Fryers Road, Leamore Enterprise Park, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7LZ Tel: 01922 710 204 Fax Number: 01922 710 191 Email:

18 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Laser facility investment A

West Midlands engineering firm continues to thrive following the recent addition of a new laser facility to the business.

The 5 Axis Laser software has contributed significantly to the ongoing success of Birmingham-based Tooling 2000. The sophisticated software enables low volume production in the pressing and prototype industry and has accorded a lucrative new element to the business. The facility, which provides highly accurate laser cutting with its Fastrim software, has complemented the already impressive facilities at the Western Road firm, which includes 25,000 sq ft purpose-built premises housing a 4 metre long bed and 2,500 tonne progression press. The company’s PowerMill software also provides rapid production of high qual-

service it provides and the capacity for low volume production. He added: “We’ve watched a lot of tool making disappear over the last few years, so when the demand picks up again the capacity isn’t there.

ity machined parts, while the firm sees its mechanical press try-out facility as the best in the UK. Tooling 2000 managing director Tony Downes said: “The machine is able to laser cut parts at low volume and as a result we don’t need as many tools. The facility has really helped us to draw in business and I’d certainly say we’re quite buoyant at the minute. There’s plenty of scope for the business to grow now.”

Office & Factory Fit-Out & Refurbishments

RAPIDO 1532 is a 5-axis machine Tony, who originally established the firm in 1996, believes the business is benefitting from the sophisticated

“A lot of new tooling is being manufactured abroad but what we find is you get quite a few Chinese tools that aren’t up to standard and firms are coming in to us to solve their problems.

A lot of new tooling is being manufactured abroad but what we find is you get quite a few Chinese tools that aren’t up to standard and firms are coming in to us to solve their problems

“We feel that we have been a very useful supplier to our customers and have a reputation of taking problems away.” Managing director Tony also pointed to a further contributing factor to have benefited the industry, pertinent to Tooling 2000’s burgeoning relationships with automotive OEMs. He said: “It’s really helping that Jaguar Land Rover are in a boom period. They can’t make cars fast enough at the moment and the new Range Rover Evoque appears to be carrying on the good times.” n Tooling 2000 is one of the most recent midlands manufacturers to sign up to the Made in the Midlands campaign. Visit www.tooling2000. for further information about the company’s range of capabilities. For enquiries, telephone 0121 242 2000 or email

Vincent Interior Contracts

VIC ltd


Electropainting Please contact us Tel 0121 505 7474 Malcolm Enamellers are the largest independent electropainters in the UK


Call 01384 295463 Packages include: • Planning & Design • Building Regulations • Partitions • Suspended Ceilings • Mezzanine Floors

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Carpet & Flooring Decoration Electrics & Data Systems Air Conditioning Plumbing • Electrical WC Cubicles & Washrooms Kitchen Installations Construction - Building Clean room construction Raised computer floors Racking & Shelving Systems Lockers

Vincent Interior Contracts Ltd

Buxton House • Dawley Brook Road • Kingswinford • West Midlands • DY6 7BD

T: 01384 295463 • F: 01384 404304 •

We specialise in electropainting on a variety of materials including steel, alloys, castings, forgings and fabrications, with the ability to treat laser cut edges If you look under the bonnet of any UK produced car, most of the black bracketry has been pressed in the Midlands and probably painted by us Working 24/7 we offer the most flexible and competitive solution to your electropainting requirements

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Contract win will almost double presswork firm’s turnover


Bracebridge’s core business is the manufacture of bespoke presswork and metal pressings, using ferrous and non-ferrous metals in sheet, coil or tube form

racebridge Engineering is on course for an 80% increase in its turnover after winning its biggest-ever contract. The precision presswork specialists will supply components for 900,000 filters over the next three years to PALL Europe, world leaders in the hi-tech filtration, separation and purification industry.

quality of work we currently produce for them.”

“This order is the largest the company has won since it was founded in 1978 and it will nearly double our turnover,” general manager Keith Street told Business Report. “When production is up to full speed, we will be delivering around 25,000 units a month. We secured the contract following an open tender. PALL is an existing customer and I believe what won the day for us was the

Bracebridge’s core business is the manufacture of bespoke presswork and metal pressings, using ferrous and non-ferrous metals in sheet, coil or tube form. The company supplies customers in various industries across the UK and Europe, including automotive and aerospace manufacturers, fire and safety companies, and producers of brightware (polished aluminium and steel).

Its extensive plant list includes hydraulic presses (with capacities up to 200 tonnes), blanking presses (with capacities up to 160 tonnes), stand-alone secondary presses (with capacities up to 75 tonnes), thread rolling machines, automatic saws, and vibratory deburring and drying machines. The company provides manufacturing solutions required for deep-drawn, formed and blanked components, in both high and low volumes, and in

a variety of surface finishes including plating and painting. It also offers a range of ancillary processes such as sub-assemblies, spot welding and tube sawing. Bracebridge, which has 20 employees and is based in Perry Barr, is accredited to BS EN ISO 9001:2000. The company is now implementing a programme to achieve accreditation to TS16949, a quality system for the design/development, production, installation and servicing of automotive-related products. Other initiatives in the pipeline include staff training in lean manufacturing techniques, a state-of-the-art IT system, a redesigned website, and greater investment in networking and marketing activities. Bracebridge was one of the winners in the Manufacturing Achievement category at the Made in the Midlands Awards 2011.

We manufacture and sell industrial brush plating solutions and auxiliary brush plating equipment. We also provide job shop brush plating services at all of our production facilities, as well as on-site, worldwide. For fifty years customers have relied on SIFCO to fulfill their needs for brush plating and specialty applications. During this time our vision and distinctive way of thinking helped to guide our efforts in research and development to improve the process, constantly striving for ways to make it easier, faster, and better for our customers. We have evolved beyond the simple, manual method traditionally used in brush plating and now offer semi-automated and fully automated options to supplement our selective, brush plating business.

• Flexible capabilities for on-site plating • Surface enhancement of select areas of parts

• Speed & flexibility • Superior technical expertise • Quality results

Units 12-14 | Aston Field Trading Estate | Bromsgrove | Worcestershire | B60 3EX | United Kingdom Tel: +44 1527 557740 | Fax: +44 1527 832856 | Email: | Web:

20 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands Ambitious laser firm impresses local MP


he growth of SSC Laser Cutting has been described as “a fantastic achievement” by the firm’s parliamentary representative.

BySpeed Pro 3015 Flat Bed Lasers, one of which will be installed at the new Derby site. Following Mr Lefroy’s tour of the Hixon factory he stated that the success of SSC Laser shows that UK manufacturing is on the up. “I am so impressed with the passion they have for what they do at SSC Laser” he said. “SSC Laser has a clear vision and focuses on its core business of laser profiling. Their level of investment on new laser technology over the past two years is proof that UK manufacturing is on the increase. It shows that if companies take the opportunity to invest they will grow and become more profitable. SSC Laser’s organic growth over the past few years is a fantastic achievement.”

Conservative MP for Stafford Jeremy Lefroy visited SSC’s Hixon headquarters on Friday 11th November to see first hand the levels of investment and expansion the company has made over the last two years. The firm, which specialises in sub contract laser profiling and also provides pressbraking, laser scanning and an in-house CAD service, has sales offices around the UK and recently announced the establishment of a new manufacturing site in Derby. The new factory, which will initially employ 10 people, is scheduled to open in January 2012 and is viewed by the firm as just the start of an ambitious investment plan that will see the business rolled out into every major city in the UK over the next 10 years.

Austin Jarrett (Managing Director) David Gallear (Tube Laser Operator) Jeremy Lefroy MP, Andy Evans (Sales Director) SSC announced record turnover of over £5m at the end of August 2011 and the firm anticipate even more

lucrative years in the near future as their expansion bears fruit. £1.7m has been invested in the company over the

last two trading years, with recent additions including a brand new Adige LT8 Tube Laser and two new Bystronic

Mr Lefroy, who became Stafford’s representative in Parliament at the last election, spent the morning touring the facilities at the 28,000 sq ft Hangar 5 facility, which is in operation 24 hours a day to keep the capacity available for quick turnaround.

The MP was privy to SSC’s one-stop workshop for a range of engineering services and advanced tube, box section and flatbed laser cutting facilities, which are able to accurately profile materials such as mild and stainless steel, brass and aluminium. SSC is championing a clear ambition to be the largest and most successful laser profiling business in the UK, which can only be beneficial to the local community and the next generation of engineers in Stafford. Mr Lefroy said: “I am keen to get young school leavers interested in engineering. We are looking to partner Stafford manufacturing companies with our local schools to promote the opportunities there are within the manufacturing sector for school leavers.” n For enquiries telephone SSC Laser Cutting on 01889 270241, or visit www.steelservicecentre.

Zero targets new markets


ero Cases is seeking to maintain its position as the UK’s leading manufacturer of protective cases, containers and enclosures by attracting new customers from industries outside its established market in the defence sector.

“In the current economic climate our aim is to stay on course to hit our turnover targets by winning more business from nonmilitary related markets,” commented Zero’s plant manager Mike Dimmack. “While we will remain very focused on our traditional customer base within the defence sector, we will be promoting our products and services more to prospective customers in the aerospace, oil and gas exploration, and power generation sectors. “We see great potential in these sectors, particularly in aerospace, for both our custom-made and standard modular containers. These offer the same high levels of internal protection as traditional containers but are significantly lighter, which can lead to considerable savings in transport costs.”

ZERO CASES (UK) LTD Unit 5, Alpha Park, Bevan Way, Dartmouth Road, Smethwick, West Midlands B66 1BZ Phone: +44 (0) 121 558 2011 Fax: +44 (0) 121 565 2115 Email: Web:

Zero’s product portfolio includes reusable, recyclable and low-carbon transit and storage containers, carrying cases, rackmount cases and components. Made of deep-drawn aluminium or rotomoulded plastic, they offer maximum protection against shock and vibration. In addition to protecting cargo and equipment in transit, its enclosures are used to house vital electrical sensors, systems and components that are integral to planes, helicopters, rockets and satellites. Engineers at the company’s Smethwick factory are currently working on a prototype for a new design of case for one of the UK’s biggest energy companies. The demanding specification requires that the case is robust

enough to transport turbines and engines safely while being light enough to be ferried by helicopter to oil and gas explorations platforms out at sea. Zero is promoting its ability to provide these kind of innovative, bespoke solutions through coverage in the local and trade press, by attending trade exhibitions, and via networking forums such as Made in the Midlands – it was one of the winners in the Manufacturing Achievement category at this year’s Made in the Midlands Awards. It also plans to revamp and upgrade its website, giving it a greater emphasis on the UK scene. Another Zero initiative is the development of a service and support function to maintain and refurbish its products, extending the working lives of containers and so giving customers a longer return on their capital investments. As part of its continued quest to access previously untapped market sectors and improve customer service, Zero has strengthened its sales teams with the appointment of Jon Hazell as european sales director, Samantha Carolan moving to UK regional sales, and Jacky Homfray joining the internal sales team, who all bring considerable experience to their respective roles. Business Report Nov/Dec 11 21

24 Business Report Feb/March 11

made made in in the the midlands midlands

Delcam sales Delivering achieves Sustainablerecord Improvements and T increased profits C

he Lean Academy opened its doors for training and consultancy in March 2006 and since ADCAM develthat time we have been oper Delcam is helping our clients pleased to anacrossthat thetheMidlands nounce compato achieve measurny achieved record sales able, sustainable imfor a six-month period provement throughout and increased profits their business during the first processhalf of es – translating those 2011. Sales increased by improvements into13% fiover the same period of last nancial savings and deyear to £20.1 million. This continues the capacity rising trend for in veloping sales, with the company setgrowth. ting new record levels in each Lean Academy has of The the last three six-month periods. played Pre-tax a majorprofits role inhave supgrown significantly £1.51 porting businessesto in the million, an increase of 87% Midlands helping them over the first half of last add value to their business Delcam has beensustainable able to by undertaking take advantage of the conchange initiatives by focusstinuing recovery in global ing on three factors critical manufacturing to increase to success both the sales of new soft-

- Manufacturing Engineer said “We wanted to involve our employees in this change.

n Quality – Right first time every time n Cost – Reducing costs through the elimination of waste

I am pleased The Academy offers a full to announce programme of half and full day workshops and events, in addition to this our team very good first can support a wide range of onsite activities. half results, What are clients are saying about us with record inMike Dimmack, from Zero Cases, had worked with the terim revenues Lean Academy on several projects in the past so knew and an 87% they had a proven track Delcam at the presentation of the company’s latest Queen’s Award record of staff success. When the rise in pre-tax manufacturers of specialware licences and the takeInternational Trade category from Asia, in particular from ised packing cases began up of maintenance contracts, and the confirmation in the Korea, Indonesia and looking at the training and China, profits. Zeros Cases are one local firm who are from benefiting from the Lean Academy especially in the automotive latest report US anan Delivery – On time every time

development across the and aerospace industries. business, Mike approached The overall sales the strongest Lean Academy for have the Lean USA help.come Mike from said “The and Germany, with very the fastAcademy has been supest growth in sales ofofnew portive in the delivery the software licences coming training and development


Other highlights of the and have meshed well to opening six months of 2011 accommodate our shift patincluded the presentation of terns. The feedback from the company’s third Queen’s staff has excellentinand Award forbeen Enterprise the

lysts CIMdata that Delcam remains the world’s leading we are nowsupplier looking to specialist ofmove CAM staff on to the nextthe level” software, with largest development team manuin the The UK’S leading industry. and Delcam continues facturer distributor

to increase its investment in of stair balustrades where research and development. looking for experts to help to This investment grew £5.4with million in the first half them an organisationthis year fromChorlton £5.0 milalofchange. Mark

Working with the Academy has been excellent. Their lion have duringgreat the equivalent staff people period of last skills, which is year. paramount andCommenting the feedbackonhas thebeen results, very positive. At first the Delcam Chairman Peter employees were very scepMiles, said, “I am pleased to tical but soon realised they announce very good first half can make a difference. results, with record interim We’ve had some excellent revenues and an 87% rise in feedback from people who pre-tax profits. Significant feel more involved and that investment by the Group in they have a better working both product development environment as a result”. and marketing has been key to these encouraging results, The Academy is based at and the supports Stafford our Parklong-term 4 in Telford can be aim ofand building ourconglobal tacted for a wide range of competitive edge.” consultancy and training n For further informaprogrammes. tion on Delcam and its CADCAM software, please contact: n For further details contact Peter– Dickin, Marketing Manager Craig Wilkinson on 01902 821450 or 0121 01902683 Direct phone: 834257 E-mail:marketing@ wilkin1081 e-mail:

Midland laser cuttingDeburr M solutions & Finish Limited DF leaders in

VANGUARD FOUNDRY manufacturers of high integrity ductile castings

Established in 1983, Vanguard Foundry Ltd is a privately owned company specialising in the manufacture of Iron castings for the turbo-charging, diesel engine, agricultural & general engineering sector. Approved to ISO 9001-2000, we produce castings in the entire ductile iron range including Silicon Moly (SiMo), Austenitic (Ni-Resist) and ADI materials. Vanguard's reputation for good product and service is in no small way attributable to the ability of its loyal and skilled workforce a quality appreciated by many leading manufacturers both in the UK and abroad.

The Surface Improvement & Degreasing Specialists


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Midland Deburr and Finish Ltd was established in 1999 to provide a cost effective solution for companies wanting to outsource their “dirty” processes ie component degreasing,deburring, mechanical finishing and general surface improvement.

Through continuous investment in process capacity and improvement in our quality systems we are now able to successfully serve a wide range of customers, large More than 20 and years experience small, in a wide range of market sectors including automotive and aerospace. Advanced, high speed laser systems

Project management We are the only company in the Midlands who are able to offer a sub contract solvent degreasing service to Technical advice automotive and aerospace alike, utilising SED Compliant equipment. Highest qualitydegreasing standards Nationwide delivery We are a privately owned company who offer a personal Laser Process Ltd

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22 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Carrs invests to deliver an even better service C

ustomers of Carrs Tool Steels can look forward to faster delivery times, more accurate cutting in a wider range of siz-

es and reduced costs, thanks to the Tipton-based company’s £160,000 investment in modern state-of-the art sawing equipment. Carrs, which specialises in the manufacture and distribution of tool steel used in toolmaking for plastic moulds and hot and cold work applications in all kinds of industries, has replaced outdated machinery with two brand-new KASTO sawing machines: a KASTOevo and a KASTOtec. The KASTOevo, the first of its kind to be sold in the UK, is a high-performance double-column bandsaw. It can cut solids, tubes and profiles, and can handle

milled products, or by the customer. This means our customers benefit from both shorter lead times and reduced machining costs. “The saws are also able to cut smaller sections, reducing the smallest size we can offer, which will be particularly useful on diameter cuts. They also give us improvements in terms of health and safety because they are quieter and safer to operate.”

One of the two new KASTO machines recently purchased by Carrs both easy and hard-to-cut materials. The KASTOtec is a bandsawing machine designed for both medium and heavy production.

which can cut up to three times faster than normal bimetal blades,” managing director Andy Eastwood told Business Report.

In addition, it was specially adapted for Carrs so it can cut wider sections of up to 680mm.

“They also offer more accurate cutting, allowing us to cut closer to customers’ finished sizes, leaving less to machine off, either by us when supplying ready-

“Both saws are capable of running with carbide blades,

As both machines are fully automatic and fully programmable, they can be left to run “lights out” – that is, without the constant supervision of an operator – which will again help to improve lead times. Carrs has made this major investment in response to the unprecedented demand it is seeing from both new and established customers. The bulk of this growth has come from the automotive

sector, predominantly from UK-based manufacturers making vehicles for export, together with increasing orders from the oil and gas industry. As well as investment in new machinery and computer systems Carrs has always maintained that investment in staff is key to our success. As well as undergoing company wide training programs. In order to keep pace with the influx of new contracts over the last 12 months, the company has increased its headcount from 22 to 30, with all but one of the new employees being recruited for production roles. With an eye to the future Carrs are keen to offer opportunities to the next generation, along with our two apprentices we now employ 20 % of our staff are under 25. Other developments in the pipeline include a revamped website and a new

catalogue available in both print and digital formats. “We are currently working flat-out after experiencing the longest period of growth in orders for a number of years,” added Andy Eastwood. “Demand for readymilled products in particular is rising every month, so much so that I can see us placing an order for a third milling machine before the end of this financial year. “We are investing for the long term to ensure we raise our service levels even further. Companies like us live and die by the service we offer and we are determined to ensure we always deliver the levels of service our customers require of us.” n For further information contact e: Andy Eastwood, 0121 5226789,

Leading the way in delivering services for business With innovative training, talented graduates and a strong track record in sharing our expertise with business, Birmingham City University is well-placed to help any business succeed. With over 2,500 staff, the University is one of the largest employers in Birmingham, directly supporting more than 3,000 jobs in the city and contributing approximately £100 million to its economy each year. We make a significant contribution to business growth by providing knowledge transfer, consultancy, partnership services, academic expertise and graduate talent. Our partners range from household names like Apple, Cisco and Cartier to smaller businesses such as gardening and giftware supplier Marvell’s and ‘virtual world’ specialists Daden. Our excellence in the arts also means we have exceptional links with the creative industries. The Interiors and Lifestyle Futures project saw us provide help to companies looking to expand into high-value markets, whilst our Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre supports the sector through research, training, mentoring and consultancy. Our Faculty of Health has pioneered e-learning in areas such as moving and handling, benefiting SMEs as well as larger health organisations.

We provide innovative training solutions, tailored to the needs of particular industries and clients. We launched the UK’s first-ever foundation degree in builders merchanting, deliver specialised training for managers across a range of sectors and have been recognised by the Government for our pioneering professional development for the computer games industry. Central to our expertise is our team of academics, who helped us achieve one of the biggest improvements of any university in the latest Research Assessment Exercise audit. For more information, please contact our Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services team on 0121 331 5252, email or visit

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Transferring knowledge and helping customers gain business


he managing director of Bird Stevens is hopeful the firm’s press work can mirror the success of other areas of the business.

The Brierley Hill engineering firm’s own product range is enjoying month on month growth and now accounts for more than a quarter of the business, attaining just under £1m of the company’s annual turnover in the last financial year. Managing director Steve Ruston believes customers can benefit from the decades of experience the company has amassed from the more traditional elements of the business, such as press work. He said: “We’ve had real success manufacturing our own products and we want to reapply that effort into the press work side. We’ve been in press work for nigh on 100 years.

We’ve built up invaluable experience over the years and we’ve helped customers out of trouble on countless occasions.” Steve recounted one such desperate situation for an electrical equipment manufacturer, were Bird Stevens were able to step in and

improve the customer’s cash flow as a consequence. “There was one customer in the north of England whose sole press work supplier had gone into administration and closed down. They really were in deep trouble at the time. Within a matter of two or three days we were able to

Major project showcases MTD’s variety of services


idland Tool and Design has joined forces with two other UK manufacturing companies to work on a major motor core pack assemblies project. The Tipton-based company is working with a local heat treatment company to deliver 1500 motor stacks per month to a customer on the South Coast.

The ongoing project is so large that MTD have created a cell of three operators, dedicated specifically to making press tools, stamping laminations and preparing the stacks for winding. It has required a significant investment in equipment and the workforce. Two new presses have been purchased, and three new press and assembly operator positions created. The new employees have also been trained specifically for this project.

MTD Managing Director Darren Booton said: “This is a great project for us because it demonstrates our ability to provide a wide range of tooling and stamping services, and assembling five different sizes of motor stacks. “This is the main reason we were chosen for this project – we have a reputation for producing highly accurate stampings and with very short lead times.”

Midland Tool and Design was established in 1969 and specialises in supplying precision components to a wide range of companies in aerospace, medical and automotive engineering. They currently employ 35 people at their headquarters in Tipton, West Midlands. n Further information is available at www.mtdltd.

pick up their tooling, adapt it for the Bird Stevens presses, secure materials and resume supplies to him again. That to me epitomises our team. We’re able to sort people’s problems out quickly.” The company has continually boasted a quality offer when it comes to its press

work and has also become adept at achieving long term cost benefits to customers. Bird Stevens also secured considerable cost savings for an automotive firm who sought improvements to the brake housing of one of their commercial vehicles. Bird Stevens introduced swaging to the production process, which also enhanced the reliability, durability and appearance of the finished product. With such facilities at their disposal, Steve believes Bird Stevens is well equipped to cope with the changing demands of today’s press work customers. He said: “Our press work is all about service, flexibility and agility. We have to be prepared to give customers what they want. These days a lot of firms don’t have the cash to hold stock and their orders might be smaller. We have the agility to help them with that and our flexibility

reduces the need for their long term planning.” The attraction of flexibility has also tempted back customers back from markets like the Far East, where they were once drawn by low costs. Steve said: “We’ve just picked up £70,000 worth of business that was being sourced from China. We can’t compete on price because of the labour costs but we are able to supply them with small quantities when they need it. We also have the capability to add further value to the press work by means such as welding or adding other components.” Bird Stevens is continually looking to develop its business through new opportunities. If you would like more information or would like to discuss potential projects then please email Steve Ruston, managing director at

24 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Delivering Sustainable Improvements


ince opening its doors in 2005 the Lean Academies approach to business improvement has been based on the development of long term partnerships.

Working with companies to develop the knowledge base required to ensure that the Continuous Improvement initiatives that are undertaken are built on solid ground are success to date is based not on what “we do to you” but on what “we do with you”. This simple but critical difference is the reason we are so successful in our field.

Transforming Business Improvement through Knowledge Transfer

“We wanted to involve employees who manage business processes on a daily basis in this change. We’ve had some excellent feedback from people who feel more involved and that they have a better working environment as a result of this training and development.” Mark Chorlton – Richard Burbidge

The Lean Academies approach is to join with the business, work together to establish the actual issues and not the perceived that are affecting the company, then work together as a team to solve these problems ensure that there is a robust transfer of knowledge thereby producing sustainable results.

The simplest approach to Continuous Improvement from the perspective of the outside body is to come into This approach has been the business, be told where shown to work across all secthe perceived short comings tors of business from Manuare take the required remefacturing to Construction dial actions and go. This apthe Health Service and now proach is short sighted and into Retail, HR and Sales unsustainable. NJD5868 Quarter page 14/4/11 12:41 Page 1

n For further details on the Lean Academy’s offer to business please contact Lean Academy – Lean@ Call Craig Wilkinson on 01902 821450 What our clients say “... the improvement activity was initially greeted with a fair amount of scepticism within the target

area ... but now the team feel confident to lead their own improvement projects, and a platform to develop ideas for improvement has

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Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Tax specialist helps West Midlands Manufacturers in R&D Reclaim


Wo l v e r h a m p ton based tax specialist has helped two Black Country companies run by a mother and daughter to claim back money from HMRC for money spent on research and development.

ponents to provide system solutions that can save their customers valuable resources, including the reconditioning, refurbishment and complete re-design of existing equipment.

R&D Tax and Grants Ltd have helped Midland Power Press Services Limited (MPPS) claim back £26,702 over two years. Tipton based MPPS has been established for over 20 years and provides support and services to the power press, metalworking and allied industries. The company, initially established by managing director Robert Crow as a sole enterprise, now employs a team of skilled engineers and craftsmen who design, develop and manufacture new com-

Anna Stevenson, Millennium Pressed Metal, Mark Evans, R&D Tax and Grants and Josie Stevenson, Midland Power Press Services Limited

Josie Stevenson is company secretary at MPPS. “MPPS are specialists in making old and dysfunctional factory machines into modern equipment with up-to-date functionality and components”, says Josie. “This means our clients don’t have to purchase brand new machines, saving them thousands in capital costs while raising productivity and keeping their plant viable. We specialise in one-off and bespoke projects, and relish the challenges that require innovative solutions to update equipment. We work closely with our customers to maximise what can be achieved and we are constantly developing new processes and systems at a cost-effective price. I believe

MPPS is a pioneer in this highly technical field.” R&D Tax and Grants Ltd have also helped Millennium Pressed Metal Limited (MPM) claim back £21,053 over two years. Millennium Pressed Metal Limited (MPM) was started in 2003 by managing director Anna Stevenson, Josie’s daughter, when she was aged just 20 and is now a single source manufacturer specialising in presswork, turned parts, welding and mechanical assemblies. The company employs 23 skilled staff producing over four million parts annually at their Castle Mill Works factory in Dudley and export worldwide. MPM has secured more than £500,000 of new contracts in the last year. “MPM and MPP are typical examples of manufacturers that have to invest heavily in trial and error before finding a solution for their clients”,

R&D Tax Relief?

says Mark Evans, managing director of R&D Tax and Grants. “This research and development phase can be extremely costly, as the company is expected to produce prototypes and models to carry out sufficient testing to ensure that their products comply with the required parameters and relevant safety and industry standards. There’s no certainty at the outset that a satisfactory solution will be found. We work on a no win, no fee basis so our clients have nothing to lose. “The HRMC R and D tax reclaim scheme is invaluable. UK manufacturers are constantly being told they have to innovate to survive and grow, but it’s essential that the Government offer as much support as possible to assist them in the early stages.”

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26 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

made in the midlands

Record year for Brown & Holmes


s 2011 draws to a close, Brown & Holmes (Tamworth) Limited is celebrating another recordbreaking trading year.

Despite the current economic climate, the demand for the company’s bespoke manufacturing services proved so popular in 2011 that the in-house design team was expanded to include two new trainee design engineers. Kevin Ward, joint Director of Brown & Holmes, said: “During 2011, we have continued to build upon the success of 2010 and will be finishing the year with an increased number of employees, a flourishing apprentice scheme and a full order book.” This ongoing trading success was recognised when Brown & Holmes was awarded a prestigious manufacturing achievement award for growth in business

The firm has flourished in 2011 with increased employees and a full order book Kevin Ward, managing director and Carl Baker, Joint managing director at the Made in the Midlands Awards in October. Brown & Holmes specialises in providing bespoke manufacturing solutions and precision engineering services and its services have been increasingly in demand to help customers improve

1111 Bus Report 174x127 4-11:174x127 12/04/2011 10:55 Page 1


processes across the board – from design and manufacture, through to machining, assembly, materials handling and health and safety. It has also seen continued growth during 2011 within industries such as Aerospace. Brown & Holmes can offer

customers a breadth of experience in designing jigs and fixtures for the specialised machining technologies and exotic materials used within Aerospace and the company is skilled in modifying fixtures to meet the changing demands of the sector.

Brown & Holmes operates as a sub-contractor for the three main machine tool builders in the UK, as well as supplying directly to a large number of local, national and international customers. The company offers a complete service encompassing design, manufacture and assembly, through to testing and inspection, tooling sup-

port and installation. Brown & Holmes is also the sole UK agent for FORKARDT workholding range of standard and special rotary power chucks, expanding mandrels and steady rest packages. n For more information on Brown & Holmes, visit www.brownandholmes. or telephone 01827 63591.


DON’T LET POOR QUALITY MACHINING LET YOUR BUSINESS DOWN • Repeatable quality • Competitive pricing • Reliable delivery • Excellent service & support Contact us today on Tel: 01827 63591 or email: Brown and Holmes precision machining. Don’t specify anything less.

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Business Report Nov/Dec 11


made in the midlands

Turning copper into gold standards


ongratulations are in order for Telford based Copperweld Bimetallics, who have “raised the bar” and set their sights high in their pursuit for quality, environmental, safety and health excellence, having recently extended their certifications to the prestigious environmental management standard BS EN ISO 14001:2004.

The company have held certification to the quality management standards BS EN ISO 9001 for approximately 10 years. Their next step is to achieve BS OHSAS 18001 (Health & Safety) certification, Operations Manager Jim Porteous confirmed. Copperweld Bimetallics UK Ltd are manufacturers of a wide range of bimetallic products as a high quality, low cost alternative to pure copper. Customers in markets as diverse as CATV, telecommunications, utilities, electronics, transit and many others use Copperweld’s copper clad wire and strip in countless applications including extending the reach of electronic communications to improving existing products by making them stronger, lighter, and more cost-effective. Their product range consists predominantly of copperclad steel, brass plated steel

cellence in the fields of quality, environmental, safety & health. Given the current climate regarding ever-increasing costs for the world’s declining natural resources, ISO 14001 provides businesses with a framework for continual improvement and demonstrates an effective approach to the monitoring and measurement of resource use, management of wastes, the evaluation of environmental aspects, impacts, and legal requirements relevant to the business operations. Gavin said, taking into consideration the size of the company and the scope of activities within, Copperweld has come a very long way in what has been a relatively short time.

Gavin Hedge Initiative, Tony Goldsack, Jim Porteous & Anthony Beddis, Copperweld Bimetallics UK Ltd and copper clad aluminium with other variations made to order. The extrusion of Poly vinyl chloride, poly urethane and poly propylene coatings are also part of their business. Why Quality & Environmental Integration? With the ever-increasing emphasis and commercial pressures on striving for improvements in quality, environmental and safety performance, Copperweld realised that integrated certification to a formal and internationally accredited management system were paramount to the companies

on-going success and marketing strategy and hence, engaged Kidderminster based consultancy; Initiative Quality & Safety Ltd. The consultancy project was delivered by Initiative’s Director & QUENSH Consultant, Gavin Hedge, and included the scope extension of Copperweld’s existing Quality System into a one-stop integrated Quality, Environmental, Safety & Health (QUENSH) management system, based upon the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001, BS EN ISO 14001 and BS OHSAS 18001.

The project culminated in Copperweld successfully achieving integrated certification to both BS EN ISO 9001 and BS EN ISO 14001 with UKAS accredited certification body ACS Registrars. BS OHSAS 18001 certification will follow in the new year. Initiative’s Director & QUENSH Consultant, Gavin Hedge said; “Integrated certification to BS EN ISO 9001, BS EN ISO 14001 & BS OHSAS 18001 offers an excellent way of demonstrating a firm commitment to a company’s pursuit for continual improvement and ex-

Their new integrated QUENSH management system and disciplines introduced have been positively empowered to, and implemented by management and staff at all levels. We have recently embarked on a comprehensive programme of awareness, training and implementation audits with the aim of development of site management and staff to ensure the effective implementation of site specific aspects management procedures, systems and routines. The final stage of the project is to secure certification for the Occupational Health & Safety Standard (OHSAS 18001) which is now fully captured and documented within Copperweld’s inte-

grated QUENSH Management System. Copperweld Operations Manager Jim Porteous said: “We now have a lean and user-friendly business management system that is simple, easy to follow and now integral to our business operation, enabling us to effectively manage the business in a more consistent and pro-active manner”. With the ever-increasing emphasis on quality, environmental & safety accountability, these certifications demonstrate our clear and unequivocal commitment to environment, safety performance and sustainability. Adopting Initiative’s QUENSH approach has enabled the business to drastically reduce the amount of documentation, time, efforts and resources for in house maintenance and most importantly, an opportunity to challenge our certification body for a reduction in time and costs for 3rd party certification. Integrated certification to these prestigious standards will undoubtedly support our future planned growth strategy with our world-wide partners, and most importantly to differentiate us from our competitors. A lot of hard work has been put in by all concerned and the successful outcomes were testament to the efforts by all parties. Thank you Gavin and your colleagues at Initiative – This could not have been achieved without your help and guidance!

Help your business to take off in 2012 with AS/EN 9100 (Rev C) certification Demonstrate your commitment to quality in the Aviation, Space & Defence industry Quality, safety and reliability are critical values for the Aviation, Space and Defence industry. Certification to the Aviation, Space and Defence standard AS/EN 9100 provides a framework to address this challenge and an opportunity to improve quality management systems and capitalise on business building opportunities.

The Benefits of Implementing AS/EN 9100 Implementing AS/EN 9100 will not only boost your credibility, it will also motivate staff by defining their key roles and responsibilities.

Cost savings can be made through improved efficiency and productivity as product or service deficiencies will be highlighted. From this, improvements can be developed, resulting in less waste, inappropriate or rejected work and fewer complaints. Customers will notice that orders are met consistently, on time and to the correct specification. This can open up the market place to increased opportunities. An additional benefit due to the standardised processes and procedures is the reduction in multiple expectations due to the consistency in verification. AS/EN 9100 certification can also reduce any costs and disruptions caused by multiple 2nd and 3rd party audits, often needed to demonstrate acceptable standards.

28 Business Report Nov/Dec 11


Aerospace toolmaker is H

ockley Pattern and Tool Co Ltd, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of jigs, fixtures, moulds, tools and patterns for the aerospace industry, has come a long way since the business was launched from a garden shed in 1979.

company’s founder, who runs the company with his brother and fellow director, Neil. “Our current premises are more than twice as big as the old factory, which not only makes it easier to handle larger contracts – some of the tools we make are 12 metres long – but the extra space has enabled us to improve our facilities and professionalism. All these improvements have been key to our recent growth.”

The company was founded by Jim Williams and its first order was from Ford for polystyrene patterns. It grew steadily over the years, moving first to Hockley – giving the company its name – and then to a larger site in West Bromwich via Walsall. It soon outgrew these premises, too, and four years ago relocated to its present home in Halesowen where it employs a 47-strong workforce. “In the last two years we have doubled in size and turnover,” said director Gareth Williams, son of the

The bulk of Hockley’s sales comes from the aerospace sector, where it supplies companies in the UK, Europe, USA and the Far East. Its impressive client list features many of the most famous names in aviation including BAE Systems, GKN and Fokker. One of its recent contracts was for the manufacture of mould tools and CNC machining fixtures for the Airbus A350. Hockley has embarked on a quality programme to gain >

Hockley Pattern and Tool Co Directors Neil and Gareth Williams

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OGL Computer t: 01299 873 873 e: a: Worcester Road, Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire, DY13 9AT

Business Report Nov/Dec 11



flying to new heights We are aiming to double in size again within the next five years < accreditation for SC21 and AS9100, which will help it to fulfil its ambition of becoming a first tier supplier to more of the top aerospace manufacturers. The company is also reporting growing interest in its services from the automotive sector. Jaguar Land Rover has just placed an order for checking fixtures used in the production of the Jaguar XJ luxury saloon. Aluminium pressforming tools made by Hockley are used in the manufacture of Aston Martin sports cars. In the past, it has also supplied the McLaren and Red Bull Racing F1 teams. While remaining focused on the aerospace and au-

tomotive sectors, the company says it will continue to explore opportunities in other markets, such as the manufacture of medical equipment and wind turbines. “We win a lot of repeat business because once customers see what we can do, they keep coming back to us,” added Gareth. “We have received written testimonials from the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley praising us for the quality of our workmanship and for always delivering on time. “We are aiming to double in size again within the next five years. We have plans in place to make a major investment over the next 12 to

The Hockley Pattern team receive their Made in the Midlands category award 18 months in new facilities and equipment. This will give us the capability to handle even larger contracts for our customers.”


Hockley was the winner in the Major Contract Win category at this year’s Made in the Midland Awards.

n For more information contact Hockley Pattern & Tool Co Ltd on 0121 561 4665 or visit

Follow Hockley Pattern & Tool Co on Made in the Midlands by visiting:

Hockley Pattern & Tool Co Ltd Manufacturers of Jigs, Fixtures, Moulds, Tools and Patterns for Automotive & Aerospace Industries Part of the world’s largest material stockholder – Reliance Steel & Aluminum

Quality. Diversity. Function.


0121 561 4665

30 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

mim awards Event sponsored by

Manufacturing Midland heroes

In association with

Made in the Midlands awards and mini exhibition held last month at the Banksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stadium, Walsall

Andy Evans, SSC Laser Ltd

Richard Perry, Phil Stanley, Threeway Pressings Ltd

David Walker, Clayton Holdings Ltd

John Faulkner, Cab Automotive Ltd with Charles Addison, Made in the Midlands

David Bourne, Metsec PLC

Paul Hines, Avery Weigh Tronix Ltd

Marion Doherty, UKTI with Terence Madkins, UKTI and Alkta Patel, Q.A Electrical

Simon Greenhill, UKF Stainless Ltd

Delegates sit with Phil Miles, Calibre onstruction, Clive Jessup, Jessup Brothers, and Ian Jackson

Sertec receiving their award from Charles Addison, Made in the Midlands

Benjamin Smith with Ilona Dalecka, Made in the Midlands

Business Report Nov/Dec 11


mim awards Event sponsored by

Malcolms Enamellers team led by Graham Hall (right)

Keith Street, Bracebridge Engineering Ltd

Sertec receiving their award from Charles Addison, Made in the Midlands

Ronnie Owen, TBF International Ltd

In association with

Shivani Mari, M.C with Gareth Williams, Hockley Pattern & Tool

Charlie Burrell, Moog Wolverhampton Ltd and Adam Tipper, PressVine Worldwide Ltd

Richard Bingham, Vanguard Foundry Ltd

Simon Griffiths, Manufacturing Advisory Service with Charles Addison, Made in the Midlands

Mike Dimmack, Zero Cases with Charles Addison, Made in the Midlands Ltd

Ian Wiles, Advanced Chemical Etching Ltd

Victoria Yates, R & E Presswork, Richard Herbert, Lean Academy and Simon Scott, Amada UK Ltd

32 Business Report Nov/Dec 11

mim awards Event sponsored by

In association with

MIM Awards Made in the Midlands recognised some of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most successful manufacturing firms. Held at the Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stadium on the 21st October this was the second Awards event. Made in the Midlands is a dedicated industry network for Manufacturing and engineering firms to

Photos by David Cave come together share ideas and win business. To learn more about what Made in the Midlands is doing in your community visit

Visit our facebook page to view more photos from this event. If you are pictured on the people page and would like a copy of the image contact 01902 482450 or email

Mark evans, R&D Tax and Grants. Andy Essom, HT Brigham Ltd, Michelle Mooney, Birmingham City University

Phil Stanley and Richard Perry, Threeway Pressings

Gareth Williams, Hockley Pattern & Tool

Michael Johnson, Micro Spring & Presswork Ltd

Terry Paterson, Moog Wolverhampton Ltd Richard Bingham and Jesica Reed, Vanguard Foundry Ltd

Ian Wiles, Advanced Chemical Etching Ltd

Andy Essom, Ht Brigham, Ilona Dalecka, Made in the Midlands and Matt Gilkes, TBF International Ltd

Alka Patel, Q.A Electrical Ltd

Malcolm Mitchell and Julie Pickering, Amvar Handling Solutions Ltd

Business Report November 2011  

Special edition from Midlands based publisher Business Report. This edition contains an extensive Made in the Midlands supplement and awards...