Profiles

Quick and able

Trusted, nimble and growing, Amazon Filters is a leading manufacturer of filtration solutions, with the ability to outmaneuver its competition

Exceeding expectations in ever-changing environments, Amazon Filters is a business on the up. Serving a variety of sectors, including water, pharmaceutical and food & beverage, the company has established itself as a trusted filtration AF aspecialist over the course of the last 35 years, with a flexibility and accelerated speed to market unmatched by its peers.

“As a business, Amazon Filters offer tens of thousands of filter permutations and housings and supply our customers with those products on short delivery times,” declares Managing Director Neil Pizzey. “That is really our whole premise, but we dilute it down to the phrase ‘quick and able’. We compete with some very large multinationals and we pride ourselves on being a bit nimbler than them. We are big enough to be credible and trusted, but small enough to maintain that flexibility to provide a customized product portfolio with fast delivery.”

The past half-decade at Amazon Filters has been defined by a major investment cycle, which has allowed the business to expand its sales operations and increase its growth rate. Underpinning the company’s ‘quick and able’ proposition, the most recent phase of investment has been focused around improving and upgrading Amazon Filters’ Camberley manufacturing site.

“We invested well in excess of £1 million into our manufacturing, focused primarily around building infrastructure, factory space and equipment,” Neil reports. “We’ve insourced the bulk of our metal work, including a new press shop, sheet metal and CNC machining facility to help vertically integrate the majority of our filter housing manufacturing, which again, supports our ability to deliver bespoke products in short order. We are a business investing through its life cycle and this latest upgrade program is making us more competitive and responsive than ever.”

Aided by the company’s new facilities, Amazon Filters’ extensive range of filter cartridges, capsules, bags, housings and accessories continues to evolve. Though it may only be two months into 2021, the firm has already added new products to strengthen its portfolio and better serve its clients.

“One of the new products we’ve introduced - the SupaSep LGP - is a high-performance liquid coalescer line to support critical separation processes,” Neil reveals. “Used to remove liquid droplets from gas streams, these are already employed extensively in upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas operations, and can be supplied in bespoke housings or as direct retrofits. Benefitting from patented interpleat stabilization technology, SupaSep LGP products offer a novel functional improvement to what is currently on the market.

“In addition to this,” Neil continues, “we have recently strengthened our meltblown SupaGard range with the addition of what we call KilBac technology. This is the use of antimicrobial and anti-algal additives in the manufacturing process to inhibit the growth of bacteria and algae on the filter when in service, stopping the product from being blinded prematurely.”

Recently nominated for Manufacturer of the Year and Exporter of the Year at the Made in South East Awards, Amazon Filters’ success has not come without its challenges. This has never been truer than in 2020, when the company, like the rest of the world, took on the difficulties presented by Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a completely new challenge for us as we tried to maintain operations for all our critical industry customers,” Neil states. “Until something like that happens, you don’t realize what a vital cog you are in the AF bwider world and just how many sectors rely on you. As a company involved in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and energy, among others, we had a moral imperative to keep going.

“It’s been a challenging year, but we carried on successfully, despite the crisis. We are especially proud of supplying water filters to help front line NHS staff and Nightingale Hospital Projects. Those are the things that go beyond commercial satisfaction and allow you to recognize that you are contributing to the greater good. We are not NHS workers, but we did all we could to contribute.”

As a privately owned, family-run business, Amazon Filters’ number one priority throughout the pandemic was to protect and support its workforce. Over the last 12 months, through a combination of remote and onsite working, the company has kept its people safe and, consequently, continues to fulfil its obligations to clients.

“From the very beginning, we were very clear on our responsibilities to our people, our clients, and to the wider world,” Neil remarks. “We tried to do everything right because we quickly recognized that, if we shut down Amazon Filters, critical customers such as vaccine manufacturers and drinking water suppliers were going to encounter costly disruption.

“One thing we are incredibly proud of is the way our people reacted,” he adds. “The way they adapted in order to continue supplying our customers has spoken volumes about the resilience and fortitude of our staff. There have been challenges - trying to train people while socially distancing creates real difficulties for example - but the ability of our people to adjust has been exemplary.”

With Covid-19 vaccines rolling out across the world, and the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, Amazon Filters is looking forward to expanding its presence in 2021 as it turns its attentions to potential opportunities in Asia and the US. At present, around 70 per cent of the company’s sales are in exports, with more than half of that going to the EU, but Neil believes this is a positive sign for future growth beyond Europe.

“We firmly believe there is a place for our high-quality, high-spec products, combined with a credible, traceable European manufacturing base,” he asserts. “Our flexible, responsive approach to customers puts us in a really good position to expand the business and we are well-set for the future in terms of structure and capacity thanks to our investment program. Of course, we will be looking to increase our sales in the EU, but we are really focused on trying to become recognized asa truly global player in the filtration sector over time.”

No matter how much the company expands, Amazon Filters will remain true to its core values, including its commitment to the environment. The company’s environmental policy has always focused on minimizing waste and avoiding pollution, as well as ensuring that all equipment, technology and practices fully comply with environmental legislation.AF c

In 2020, Amazon Filters successfully completed its ISO14001 external audit, gaining perfect results with no non-conformances. The company also installed a new robotic pallet wrapper – an automated technology that can scan pallets and calculate the number of spins required to securely wrap contents. Robotic pallet wrappers are one of the latest and most advanced innovations on the market for helping businesses reduce the amount of plastic shrink wrap they use, and thus, assisting them in cutting down their environmental footprint.

As a company that receives a great deal of cardboard-packaged raw material, Amazon Filters took action in the last 12 months to cut down its packaging waste. In 2020 alone, the company recycled over 40 tons of cardboard, but it won’t be stopping there. As Amazon Filters continues to find ways to develop its green strategies, in 2021 the company aims to overhaul the materials used in the packaging of its finished goods - moving away from plastics and introducing recyclable, paper-based solutions where possible.

Proven filtration experts, Amazon Filters has demonstrated over the years that it can be relied upon to deliver quality products and first-class customer service to its clients across the globe. Though, after 35 years in business, it has become an increasingly complex and expansive organization, the customer remains central to the Amazon Filters experience.

While expansion and investment will continue, Amazon Filters still vows to get the little things right – answering phone calls promptly, acknowledging queries within two hours, shipping in-stock products the next day, and resolving problems efficiently and satisfactorily. The company’s technology might be advanced, but the approach to client relations is simple – to provide a service that shows customers how much Amazon Filters cares.

“Our whole reason for being is to serve the desires of our customers,” Neil says. “Filter products aren’t ornaments; you buy them because you need them. We really believe that what people want from Amazon Filters is knowledge enveloped in a physical product. We are trying to make sure we spread our expertise, communicating it through our teams and out to our customers. Our role is to recognize and solve our clients’ problems.”

Amazon Filters
Products: Filter solutions
www.amazonfilters.com

Adopting a world class approach

With a mind-set that remains as steadfast today as it did 125 years ago, Siddall & Hilton Products’ mission is to be recognized as a world class mesh manufacturer and a local employer of choice

It has been little more than a year now since Manufacturing Today last highlighted the efforts of the UK’s largest manufacturer of industrial welded mesh, Siddall & Hilton Products. At that time, we spoke in depth with Chief Executive Officer Ian Thurley about the company’s plans to branch out and grow in the wake of a management buy-out (MBO) in the summer of 2019. Now, in December 2020, Ian is able to discuss the progress made since that time, how the company has SHP 1848 anavigated the challenges of this year, and how the years ahead are shaping up.

“There has been significant consolidation in the UK mesh industry in the last few years, following a period of intense price competition due to a chronic oversupply problem in the market, resulting in a rapid race to the bottom,” Ian begins. “Two major UK-based competitors have closed their manufacturing operations since late 2018, and we have successfully picked up some of the business they left behind. Today the market has returned to more orderly trading and steel prices are rising sharply after an 11-year decline.”

During the course of the above-mentioned last few years, Siddall & Hilton Products has re-positioned itself and is now focused entirely on welded steel mesh production, having disposed of other ‘wire products’ operations including container handles and furniture springs. “Market consolidation within the mesh industry has been partially responsible for the growth in demand for our mesh, particularly in the industrial mesh sector,” Ian says. “That is mesh sold to steel stockholders and fabricators, as opposed to our main line of business, which remains a broad range of general and high security fencing panels. The second factor behind the growth we’ve seen is our dedication to customer service, product quality and delivery performance.

“We, at Siddall & Hilton Products, see product quality and customer service as two areas where we are able to differentiate from our competitors. We measure our ‘On Time In Full’ delivery performance on a weekly basis and regularly exceed 97 per cent, as things stand. However, we’re not happy with this, and are working towards consistent attainment of the World Class standard, which is 98.5 per cent!

“We also believe in looking after our customers and, whilst we would prefer everything to be right first time, on those occasions when things do go wrong we will always work closely with our customer to rectify the problem so as to minimize the disappointment and inevitable financial implications. In addition, we will conduct a full internal investigation to understand the root cause of the problem and take actions to minimize the chances of a repeat performance. Continuous learning and development are central to this approach.”

Since the buy-out in August 2019, the company has streamlined its back-office operations and focused on improving its manufacturing efficiency, reducing process scrap to less than half the level that was acceptable just a few years ago. Siddall & Hilton Products has also significantly reduced the working capital requirements of the business through rationalizing its stockholding and by improving its cash cycle.

“In 2018, we also implemented Microsoft Nav, replacing a 20-year-old Pegasus Opera system,” Ian details. “This change placed much more accurate, real-time information at the fingertips of management, and has further helped our efforts to improve the efficiency and profit performance of the business, since we now have a better grip on our cost base and much improved insight into our wire cost and usage. As we continue to develop the system, we continue to reap further benefits.”

As Ian goes on to explain, the buy-out itself followed a detailed review of the business’ performance, which highlighted the need for a radically new approach. “The MBO marked a fundamental change in strategy towards focusing on becoming a ‘World Class’ mesh manufacturer and local employer of choice. As part of this we have moved away from seeking to grow volume, instead focusing on the pursuit of deeper customer relationships, improved margins and generating higher value-added business. The change has also initiated a significant cultural shift within the business, involving a strategy of much greater employee engagement and development.

“We are already seeing significant improvements, with year-on-year profitability up by almost 40 per cent, and employee satisfaction surveys have revealed that we’re making great progress towards building a much better business for our employees. The attitudes and behaviors have already changed beyond recognition, and the business is now a more vibrant and happier place to work, with the ‘one team’ ethos now becoming more firmly embedded in everything we do.”

Turning to how the business has performed in 2020, clearly no-one would have predicted back in the summer of 2019 that the world would soon be dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. As was the case for all responsible businesses, Siddall & Hilton Products’ response to the onset of Covid-19 was swift and effective. “The board took the decision to close the business and pause operations following the announcement of the first lockdown back in March,” Ian continues. “We did this in response to employees’ concerns and also to ensure that we shut down in an orderly fashion. We furloughed the majority of our employees and decided to top up their furlough payments to 100 per cent of normal pay for the duration, so as to minimize any financial distress caused to them and so that they could focus on family matters, including for some, their need to be involved with home schooling. Meanwhile the Board members took a SHP 1848 asubstantial pay cut and, working from home, devised a plan to re-start the business in a Covid- 9-secure manner.

“We re-opened in late April on a shift-by-shift basis, taking three weeks to resume our 24/5 operations, and our business has, fortunately, proven to be resilient. By June, sales levels were back to two-thirds of normal and what followed was the strongest July performance in over a decade, and the best August in four years! Since then we’ve remained very busy and are having to put on regular weekend shifts to try to keep up with demand.

“Year to date turnover is still almost 20 per cent below last year, but our profitability is well ahead of our expectations when we sat down in March to re-budget. Throughout the pandemic our supply chain, from various parts of Europe and Turkey, has remained incredibly robust, even when Italy was really struggling with the virus during the early spring. Meanwhile, our employees have also proved to be extremely resilient and have demonstrated a real commitment and determination to get the business back on its feet. Their positive attitude has been invaluable and our position today is in no small part down to them.”

For Siddall & Hilton Products, business has remained buoyant throughout the autumn and it has just recently seen the largest weekly order intake for many years come through in December, which is traditionally a quieter month for the business. This certainly bodes well for 2021 and beyond. “2021 will indeed be a very busy year for the company,” Ian confirms. “We have already committed to a fifth mesh welding machine, at a cost of over £2 million. This is scheduled to arrive in Brighouse in April 2021, and we plan to have it fully operational by late spring.

“The new machine is being built by our long-time machinery suppliers, EVG, based in Austria, and is an LGR102 machine, making use of the latest resistance welding technology. It is 40 per cent faster than any of our existing machines, and produces up to 70 per cent less process scrap. It will be configured to produce our entire industrial mesh range, enabling us to operate the site much more efficiently by facilitating longer production runs, meaning fewer changeovers, and thereby allowing other machines to focus on our fencing mesh range. The project will create 12 new manufacturing jobs – a 25 per cent increase in our headcount – and is the first major investment we’ve made in 12 years.”

The company is clearly entering what is to be an exciting phase in its 125-year history. “The investment in new machinery is just the start and we plan further significant investment in machinery and infrastructure in the next few years. We will also be making a big investment in people and skills as we seek to build a resilient, world class business, capable of providing sustainable employment opportunities well into the future,” Ian adds.

Bringing the conversation to a conclusion, Ian again reflects on some of the major changes he has witnessed within the company in the last 12-to-18 months. “Since the MBO, the business has embarked on a major cultural shift which, as it continues to develop, will see employees having a much greater opportunity to participate, and the business playing a much bigger part in the local community, engaging with schools, colleges, universities, charities, and good causes. We want our business to be a showcase for a career in manufacturing and to become a place where future generations aspire to build a highly rewarding career.

“We have made significant strides forward in a short space of time, but there is much more to come. It is our fundamental belief that by putting customer satisfaction and employee fulfilment at the heart of our company we will be extremely successful. It is a poor business that focuses only on profit, therefore we must increasingly recognize our social responsibilities within the business and community from which we draw our staff, and to whom we ultimately owe the success of our business.”

Siddall & Hilton Products Ltd
Services: Industrial welded mesh and perimeter fencing panels
www.sandhp.com

Easy environmentalism

Offering a variety of spill control, spill containment and spill response solutions, Empteezy is a specialist manufacturer working for the environment

Bruce Wishart was a General Manager in the recycling industry in the 1980s when the sector opted to replace its steel silos with large demountable skips. The switch led to customer complaints about how to empty waste into the new vessels and Bruce sought to develop a solution. His answer was Empteezy – a container that could be used with a forklift and from which waste could be ‘emptied easily’.

After acquiring a patent for Empteezy, Bruce began large-scale production of the product – first subcontracting out the manufacturing, before opening up his own manufacturing plant in the late 1980s. Soon, Bruce was adding more products Emteezy 184 ato the line, expanding the fledgling company’s offering into health and safety solutions before moving into the environmental market. After almost 35 years of tremendous growth, Bruce’s company now has over 978 production lines and bears the name of his first innovation – a fitting reminder of how far the firm has come. Today, Empteezy is more than just a product; it is a company that solves problems.

“We see ourselves as more of an environmental company these days,” explains Bruce. “All the products we manufacture are tied into environmental regulations for the protection of, mainly, groundwater and water resources . Our focus is on the industrial handling and storage of hazardous liquids and chemicals. We do a little bit on the marine side, but the main focus is the industrial slips and spills where the market is very much driven by compliance with environmental regulations.”

Operating from five manufacturing plants across Europe - two in Scotland, two in France and one in Spain - Empteezy produces a complete range of environmental protection products for the storage of hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals. Working in steel, plastic and polypropylene, the company offers everything from £10 spill trays up to large-scale storage systems worth £1 million.

“Most of our products come from solving problems for customers,” Bruce says. “If a solution seems to have applications elsewhere, we will take it further and it might be introduced as part of the range.

“As of 2020, our products run into the hundreds and we have a highly diverse offering. The latest product we introduced was facemasks. We have distributors in the Far East, Russia and Australia, and we have watched how SARS and Bird Flu have affected behavior in these areas, so when Covid came along we started making masks. One of our factories that makes industrial absorbents also makes filter material used in masks, which means we had control of the supply chain. The move has created 35 jobs and the masks have serviced the UK market as well as the export market. Our factory in Livingston is an export hub from which we serve around 49 countries.”

Though the Covid-19 pandemic was disruptive for Empteezy in 2020, Bruce describes the impact of the virus as ‘no more than a stumble’ for the firm. After closing its doors at the very beginning of the crisis, Empteezy tweaked the layouts of its large 75,000 to 100,000 square foot facilities and was back in operation in less than three weeks.

“As it was for everybody, Covid was a shock, but we got over it very quickly,” Bruce remarks. “Despite the pandemic, we’ve hit historic highs in output and production in the last couple of months, in France and in the UK. We are now going into January with the biggest order book we have ever had in 40 years of business, right across all our product lines and all our factories.”

Empteezy’s recent success is the continuation of a five-year trend that has seen the business double in size with revenue growing by 10 per cent year-on-year. Named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, Empteezy continues to secure major projects across the world and at the beginning of 2020, fulfilled a large contract for the Nigerian Ports Authority.

“The project in Nigeria lasted eight months and was completed in February 2020,” Bruce reveals. “It involved the design, manufacture and supply of products for liquid chemical storage at a fuel docking bay.

“More recently, after the height of the Covid crisis, we worked in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover on the design and supply of lithium battery storage for both waste batteries and batteries for production. It was another six-figure project and it took over a year, start to finish, working to design a system that would meet Jaguar Land Rover’s requirements for electric vehicles.”Empteezy 184 b

With expectations high for more expansion on a global scale, Bruce is confident that Empteezy will be able to double its turnover over the next three to four years. However, with so much business conducted in Europe, Brexit will certainly have an impact on the company’s operations going forward, but that doesn’t mean Empteezy won’t be prepared for it.

“Everything will depend on whether the UK and EU can come to terms on a deal,” claims Bruce, “but we are already taking action and have duplicated some of our production. The main French production centre will stay in France, but instead of expanding that factory, we have put a production line in the UK, which will reduce the amount of any potential tariff.

“If, at a worst-case scenario, a six per cent tariff was imposed on us, as a UK employer we tend to have an advantage when it comes to the social cost of employing somebody. It is about 30 per cent here, compared to around 50 per cent in the rest of Europe.

My gut feeling is that, in general, Brexit won’t slow our growth. We’ve planned for it and I think we are probably better placed than a lot of companies.”

Even with the uncertainty of the year ahead Empteezy knows that it can rely upon its 250 team members across Europe to drive the business forward in the face of adversity, just as they have done in 2020. The workforce at Empteezy, Bruce indicates, is an extension of the firm’s clients and the company prides itself on fostering excellent working relationships internally and externally.

“Across the years, we have only expanded where we can find the right people to uphold our company values and do the job to the level that we require,” Bruce states. “People are the heartbeat of this business. They are what has made Empteezy possible.”

The focus on people extends to Empteezy’s social responsibility initiatives too. For a number of years, the company has supported homeless charities in Scotland, including Social Bite, a major employer of homeless people, as well as the largest provider in the UK of freshly made free food for those in need.

“I believe businesses should put back into their local communities, so we have been a big supporter of Social Bite and others for many years and regularly take part in big sleepouts and other fundraising events,” Bruce reports. “We campaign every year and have raised well into six figures for homeless causes.”

As we move into the New Year, Empteezy has over £8 million worth of orders in progress and sits at around £48 million in total turnover. Though the Covid crisis is not over, and the next stage of the Brexit fallout is just beginning, Bruce and his team are brimming with confidence for the future of the business.

“It’s my hope that events like Covid will make governments realize that the current outsourcing of everything is short-sighted,” he comments. “On an environmental front, very few companies today factor in the carbon cost, and the life cost, of buying cheap goods from low-cost labor parts of the world. One thing that may come out of Covid is we might start to see an acceleration in the return of onshoring.

“I believe in manufacturing,” Bruce declares finally. “My kids say that if you cut me, I bleed oil, not blood. I am a manufacturer at heart and this is very much a plea from me to bring manufacturing back.”

Empteezy Ltd
Products: Environmental protection products
www.empteezy.co.uk

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Global reach

Thanks to a growth strategy of diversification, dedication to innovation, and ambitious attitude, BMP Engineering continues to go from strength-to-strength

Founded deep in the manufacturing heartland of England in 1894, and with roots tracing back to the British Industrial Revolution, Andrew Industries is a family-owned organization based in Lancashire in the UK. Comprising three divisions - BMP Engineering, Industrial Materials, and Laundry Textiles – it remains today a privately-owned business, with manufacturing sites across Europe, North America, Mexico, China, and Malaysia.

One of the wholly-owned subsidiaries of Andrew Industries Ltd, BMP Engineering (BMP) was created in 1974, and since that time has grown organically through the collaboration of local manufacturing excellence and support in Europe, North BMP 184 aAmerica and Asia. Since the company was founded it has focused on its core technologies of polyurethane and engineered textiles, and as the business has evolved several global OEM’s have come to rely on BMP’s Engineering Division as a source of quality, innovation, and technical excellence. Mark Booth, Sales & Marketing Director explained that as its expertise grew, so too did its portfolio of products: “BMP was initially founded to convert nonwoven textiles into cleaning products for Xerox. Over the years, however, the business has expanded within and also outside of its core printing industry market to supply Canon, Lexmark, Xeikon, Electrolux, HP, and Bosch. We have also diversified into new market segments, into areas such as material handling, powder handling (3D Printin), offshore energy, and filtration (Dyson vacuums).”

Alongside the additional market sectors that BMP now serves, it has also expanded its global footprint. “We have set up large, efficient manufacturing facilities in China, Malaysia, and Mexico in order to support our valued customers locally,” divulged Mark. “It is our ethos to manufacture in the same geography as our customers, to shorten the supply chain and provide the best cost model possible. We are always looking to utilize our capabilities to diversify into other markets and are currently developing environmentally friendly biodegradable materials as we see this as an emerging market for the future, where we can utilize our material and manufacturing expertise.” Illustrating BMP’s move into greener solutions, Mark highlighted a recent multi-million-pound project being undertaken in 2021 that he believes will ‘lay the foundations for our strategic plan to penetrate the sustainable and environmental market segment’. “BMP have recently partnered with a company called Nexgen who have, together with BMP, developed a biodegradable tree shelter. Utilizing BMP’s manufacturing and polymer expertise coupled with Nexgen’s market knowledge, we have developed a biodegradable tree shelter that will replace the current plastic product offering therefore eliminating micro plastic contamination in our countryside.”

Other elements of BMP’s Environmental Strategy include ISO 14001 accreditation, a commitment to working closely with its customers and suppliers to identify opportunities for re-using metals, plastics and elastomeric products, as well as working with suppliers and customers at the product design stage in order to identify environmentally-friendly raw materials which can be easily recycled. BMP also provides specialist environmental services such as Remanufacturing and Asset Recovery initiatives to a growing portfolio of global clients.

The organization’s Environmental activities are part of its wider commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, alongside Health and Safety, and Quality. Health and Safety is a top priority across the business, as BMP prizes its team of excellent staff and maintaining their health and wellbeing is something the business takes seriously. “Our employees are by far our most valuable asset,” emphasized Mark. “We are a family-owned company and thus see each individual as a valued part of the BMP family. Everyone is on first name terms and has full access to the management team at all levels. We have an open-door policy at BMP and pride ourselves in the low turnover of staff we see with a good number of employees (myself included) working for BMP for over 30 years, working up from a temporary employee to company director.

“We strive to communicate our endeavors throughout the business at all levels, and as we move forward for the future, we are aiming to engage with our employees using social media such as Facebook where we can interact together outside of work. We use Facebook as a portal where we can run competitions and provide business information to all employees, in turn keeping them motivated and engaged in our family ethos.”

This approach extends across all of BMP’s operations, both in the UK and further afield, and Mark moved on to discussing how the business makes sure that its locations are operating efficiently, wherever they are based. “In the markets where BMP operate cost is key, and we proactively continue to innovate to remain competitive. It is imperative that our manufacturing facilities in Mexico, USA, Europe, Malaysia, and China continue to be proactive with regards to costs by the use of automation and best practices. Our ethos is, just because you are manufacturing in a low-cost geography does not mean you should not look to operate efficiently, reducing waste in labor and raw materials in order to maintain a competitive advantage.”

Indeed, BMP prides itself on remaining innovative in all areas, and this has been a driving force behind its new product launches and expansion into new product sectors. With regards to this latter point, Mark explained: “We are also looking to new markets such as non-lethal munitions, high speed railway rail pads, and offshore lighting systems, where we can further utilize our polymer technologies and global manufacturing capabilities. We also have a new innovative sealingBMP 184 b technology for the appliance dryer seal market, which increases efficiency, due to launch in 2021.”

He continued: “We believe that our further continued diversification into new markets, leveraging on our global manufacturing presence and core technologies, is key to both our growth and sustainability. As the world becomes more aware of the importance of protecting the environment, BMP’s shift into this emerging and growing market segment is key to our future growth whilst playing a part in protecting the environment for future generations.”

Having successfully diversified its product offering, BMP found that when the full force of the Covid-19 pandemic hit, its resilient operations were able to balance the challenges as they came in. “Our strategic diversification plan has really helped us during the Covid-19 pandemic,” confirmed Mark. “We have seen negative impacts in some of the markets where we operate, such as office printing consumables, as people work from home. We have, however, seen growth in other segments where we operate, such as 3D printing and respirator manufacturing.

“Overall as a business we have been negatively impacted by the pandemic but testament to our employees and management team, we have continued to operate throughout the pandemic to keep all of our customers and key workers supplied with products to aid in the pandemic effort.”

With a fighting spirit and positive attitude, BMP advances into 2021 with a plan for growth and a strategy designed to bring even further levels of success. Having received numerous customer and supplier awards over the years, as well as three Queen’s Awards for Innovation and for International Trade, Mark and the team look set to reach further heights in the years to come. “Our mission remains to profitably grow our business, centred on our core technologies of polyurethane and engineered textiles, along with utilizing our global foot print and diverse capabilities to add value for our OEM customers. This is achieved by using our three most precious resources of people, technology, and innovation to continually provide our global customers with manufactured solutions that meet with their requirements for both cost and quality,” summed up Mark. “We are a diverse, global, family business and we remain forward-thinking, open to new challenges and well positioned both globally and technically to diversify into any market where there is an opportunity to bring innovation and value.”

BMP Europe
Services: Polyurethane and engineered textiles manufacturer
www.bmpworldwide.com

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A better way

Always searching for a better way of doing things, Zeus Packaging is set to remain focused on innovation and continuous improvement in 2021

With revenues in excess of €200 million and 430 employees across a globally operating network, Zeus Packaging is one of the largest companies of its kind in the UK and Ireland. However, despite the company name, Zeus is about more than just packaging – it is a leading innovator and an expert in providing credible bespoke packaging solutions.

Zeus solved its first problem in 1998. The company was founded by Brian O’Sullivan when he identified significant demand in Ireland for the service-based supply of packaging consumables. What began with pallet wrap and self-adhesive Zeus 184 atape grew into a full industrial packaging offering that now includes transit packaging and ecommerce solutions, as well as standard and bespoke corrugated packaging.

Since 1998, Zeus has further developed its packaging portfolio across the Agricultural, Food Service and Retail sectors. Around ten per cent of the firm’s current turnover is derived from agricultural packaging, where products include hay baling and straw bailing for use in the production of animal forage & bedding. Food service is worth around 50 per cent of Zeus’ turnover and includes the manufacture and distribution of coffee cups, food containers and other consumables for coffee shops, restaurants, retail deli counters and food processing operations around the world. Lastly, Zeus’ retail offering manufactures and distributes compostable paper bags, bags for life, mailing bags and packaging consumables - the latter of which proves increasingly popular since the Covid-19 outbreak - for major retailers, including Morrisons, River Island and ASOS.

Headquartered in Dublin, Zeus boasts locations in the UK, Poland, Germany & Spain, Asia, North America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. At present, the company retains a strong market share in Ireland where it also manufacturers toilet rolls and paper toweling. Zeus has multiple manufacturing partnerships and technology investments across the globe with capability & capacity in the pallet wrap, food packaging and paper bag sector. The business has recently invested in CAD table capabilities and advanced design software meaning that Zeus can work in collaboration with other manufacturers to offer innovative bespoke services and solutions for its customers with extremely rapid turnaround times.

As of 2021, Zeus has over one million square feet in distribution space to its name and though it predominantly uses its own transport, the company maintains strong links with carriers in various markets. Treating each of its projects with equal care and attention, the firm continues to work on European supply contracts with customers when applicable and assesses potential local distribution channels when this is more relevant.

Zeus’ CEO Keith Ockenden joined the company in 2019. Despite its already established global footprint and the substantial capabilities that accompany that, Keith believes that Zeus is still evolving. There is always room, Keith argues, for improvement.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Zeus. In the year I joined, Zeus made six acquisitions that have now been integrated, supporting economies of scale and strengthening our capabilities in various market sectors. We plan to growth further, not only through acquisition, but also through attrition and market share growth,” Keith explains. “The business is in transition, we have invested in organisational structure and strengthened our internal capabilities in Marketing, HR and Purchasing. More investment in IT, consolidating and integrating our back-office functions will help to drive efficiencies, leverage the economies of scale and improve overall communication and coordination across previously independent businesses.’

“We have recently installed a new board and executive leadership team, which is made up of people who have grown with the business. Part of my responsibility is to coach better communication, a togetherness into the group, encourage standardisation and streamlining in our approach. We plan further acquisition and it is important the integration process unlocks the expected value for our business. Our future strategy will see further growth across Europe, investment in the supply chain, through manufacturing and distribution, developing our BTB and BTC capabilities.”

Keith’s words encapsulate a relentless pursuit of improvement that has always been interwoven into Zeus’ DNA. In order to expand further however, the company will be aiming to build on the key elements that have brought it success for the last two decades. Perhaps the most important of these factors is the commitment and dedication of the company’s staff, whom Keith praises for their ‘energy, drive, ambition and can-do attitude. Our staff just love competing!.

Customer service is another area for which Zeus has become renowned and upon which the company hopes to build in the future. By focusing on industry best practices and sourcing quality products from across the globe, Zeus continues to Zeus 184 badd value for its clients through service that Keith describes as ‘unconditional.

Finally, Zeus has established itself as one of the industry’s most innovative organizations and Keith believes that maintaining this status will be vital to the firm’s future growth. In order for Zeus to continue finding tailored solutions for its customers’ specific and individual needs, innovation will be key.

“We do not wish to be another ‘me too company’. It is about truly understanding the needs of the customer. Packaging is a solution, a component part of their need,” Keith states. “We really enjoy getting to know our clients and understanding how we can improve their processes, productivity, efficiency, and reduce damages, waste and look to see who we can improve their business through the use of innovative environmentally sustainable packaging. We are not driven by how much more pallet wrap we can sell to a customer, but rather, about understanding their real drivers and expectations, then look to innovate credible solutions that meet their needs and deliver more value.”

Over the course of its history, Zeus has developed a number of industry-defining innovations. Recently, these have included an intuitive, retro-fit, 24/7 pallet wrapping monitoring system with the ability to save businesses tens of thousands of euros in inefficient use of pallet wrap material. Compatible with a wide variety of machinery types, the system monitors turntable speeds, load weight, the wrap cycle, as well as the % stretch through the pre-stretcher unit, the amount of wrap being used, before calibrating the information into a bespoke software where it can be presented to an operator in real-time giving the ability to calculate, manage and optimise

“Developed internally by our own engineers, the pallet wrapping monitoring system demonstrates a machine’s actual versus the optimal performance and therefore helps operators to understand the true cost of wrapping a pallet,” Keith says. “It will be launched and rolled out on a wide-scale basis later this year and will deliver huge environmental benefits to the industry alongside massive cost savings. We are already introducing this to one of our major retailers because they recognize the need to drive efficiencies.”

Though it’s been a challenging 12 months for Zeus and its industry colleagues, the company was quick to adapt and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and is now reaping the benefits as a result. Thanks to good communication and the decisiveness of its workforce, the firm remained open and operational throughout the crisis as an essential supplier to the food service and manufacturing sectors.

“Covid-19 has led us to restructure our business around a different way of working,” Keith declares. “I believe that this has resulted in greater productivity, more flexibility in the way our staff work and a lower cost base. The whole sector is now adapting around customer needs. E Commerce & Food Takeaway packaging demand has risen substantially and continues to grow its overall percentage of our total sales on an annual basis.

“The speed at which the business is adapting, and will be prepared to adapt in the future, has been an important milestone for us over the last 12 months.”

Over the coming year, Zeus will remain focused on growth through acquisition and attrition, as well as streamlining and standardizing a number of its internal processes. More investment is expected in ERP and IT systems, and innovative solutions for improvement in the area of sustainability and the environment will be at the very top of the company’s agenda.

“If we look at where we can unlock more value in our business in the future, it will be through innovation & differentiation, refining our business process to the highest standards, continuing to eliminate waste in the supply chain. If we can do that, we will improve customer satisfaction, revenues will continue to grow. As long as we keep our costs and budgets in check, we will make profit and reinvest in the whole process and go around again!” Keith predicts. “Market share growth through attrition won’t be at the expense of margin, it will be because we are reliable, trusted, innovative and focussed on the needs of the customer, we will do exactly what we say we are going to do.”

Zeus Packaging
Products: Packaging solutions
www.zeuspackaging.com

A growing business

A family business that sees the benefits in simple farming, Weaving Machinery provides the machinery and equipment that makes low disturbance farming not only possible, but highly rewarding

Founded in 1983 by husband and wife Edward and Julia Weaving, Weaving Machinery has remained to this day a family run company, now with the involvement of their two children Simon and Sarie. Its primary aim is to offer farmers the best quality machinery at affordable prices. “When my father first established the company, he started out specializing in the buying and selling of second-hand farm machinery,” explains Simon Weaving, who today is Weaving Machinery’s Sales Director. “By that time, my father had built up good relationships with a large network of farmers in the local area, meaning that he knew and understood the type of equipment that they required and where to source it from.Weaving 184 a

“As time went by, he began to dabble in purchasing new kit from countries in Europe, such as Italy, Spain and Austria, before eventually travelling to the United States in 1995, where he learnt more about the process of direct drilling and its benefits. This resulted in the company’s first purchase and import of a no till Krause Drill, and his experience with that piece of machinery helped to spur on his ambition to provide the farming community with innovative and cost-effective machinery for all farming methods that we would manufacture ourselves.”

Continuous investment in modern design and manufacturing methods has brought the business to the point where today Weaving Machinery is responsible for building a range of drills and cultivators, as well as supplying flails, hedge cutters, grassland equipment and electric gates. “We strive to provide a service to all types of farmer, whether they are small or large-scale,” Simon continues. “All of our drills and cultivators have been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, which means they require less diesel, less horsepower to operate, and create less soil movement, which helps keep the land in better health.

“Our customers deal with us direct, meaning they don’t need to go through dealerships or other third parties. As well as manufacturing machines ourselves, we deliver them to the farm, set them up, and accommodate any servicing requirements that a customer may need going forward. This is supported by our sizable parts department, where we store a wide range of components, not just for our own machines but those of other manufacturers as well. This complete service offering highlights how, for us, it is not simply about selling a product, but having the capability to back it up once in service. We believe that anyone can sell a single machine, but that it is by providing backup and spare parts, and having strong customer service that secures the second, third and fourth orders from a customer!”

In order to make life even easier for its customers, Weaving Machinery offers a number of financial options, including valuing existing machinery and trading it in against a new purchase, or providing finance on all machines at competitive prices. It also retains a large selection of quality used machinery in stock, which is all tested in its workshop prior to sale.

Weaving Machinery has come to be well known for its personal approach to doing business, something that is boosted by the fact that many of its employees come from farming backgrounds. “Our people have proven themselves to be extremely dedicated and loyal to not only our customers, but the company itself over the years,” Simon reveals. “A number of them have been with us for anywhere between 10 and 30 years now, and we always look for ways to repay their loyalty. We believe in our people and they in turn believe in us, and that helps enormously as we look to push the company forward into the next stage of its journey.”

In recent times, the company’s manufacturing facilities have expanded to the point where they cover over 60,000-square feet of space in order to meet growing production demands for its farm machinery throughout the UK and Europe. “From our facilities, we carry out all of our own R&D work, and all of our design activities, which we conduct through CAD 3D modelling. While we do outsource our steel fabrication, cutting and bending, we conduct all of our own fabrication from welding, assembly, painting, and finally stress testing in-house,” Simon details. “As far as our people are concerned, we have always endeavoured to ensure that they have the very best kit available for them to do their job, whether that means manufacturing tools, spanners, tractors for demonstrating or lorries for delivering machines.”

Reflecting back on 2020, Simon reveals how Weaving Machinery navigated what was the most challenging year in recent memory for many. “For starters, we were fortunate in that manufacturing was able to continue throughout the whole Weaving 184 bof last year in order for us to deliver a vital service to farmers,” he says. “Clearly, we had to take a number of precautions in order to make life safer for our people, and this extended to ensuring that those farmers we delivered machinery to understood that employee safety was to be made of paramount importance when carrying out their work. Meanwhile, with 99 per cent of our parts being sourced from within the UK, we were also able to operate without suffering from any hold ups in delivery and with the ongoing support of what is a very loyal supply chain.”

Such has been the success of Weaving Machinery in recent years that it also marked 2020 by being included within the influential London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2020’ report. “Such recognition really comes down to a combination of the efforts of our people and the service they provide, our customers and their belief in the ‘Made in the UK’ mark of quality, and the innovation that we apply to our machines in order to meet today’s farming demands,” Simon states.

In order to further the momentum that the company has built up and leverage it through 2021, an immediate area of focus for Weaving Machinery is to meet the many orders that it already has in its books for the coming months. “From there, it is about making ourselves slicker, smarter and more efficient as an operation,” Simon adds. “We spent 2020 updating the vast majority of our in-house manufacturing equipment, and we will now be watching to see how the environment around us – what with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – evolves before pressing the green light on further expansion plans. These include opening new offices, a new stores department and a new showroom, which should be realized in the next 18 months.

“Looking further ahead, we want to see Weaving Machinery being recognized more widely as a great British brand – up there with the very best – whilst making sure that our customers, both old and new, know that we will remain there for them always through thick and thin. Farming continues to undergo dramatic changes at present, and we are changing too to accommodate that, all while providing the level of service and product quality that Weaving Machinery is known for.”

Weaving Machinery
Services: Agricultural machinery, equipment and services
www.weavingmachinery.net

Technology & ingenuity

R&S Machining, Inc specializes in 4 & 5 axis machining, creating high precision, extremely complex parts for aerospace and defense applications Today located in a very highly equipped, 260,000 square foot office/manufacturing facility in St Louis, Missouri, R&S Machining, Inc. was founded in 1992 by two business professionals with many years of experience in the machining industry. Taking their expertise and building upon it, over the next 23 years the founders have built a manufacturing environment targeted around the precision manufacture of aerospace components. As an aerospace supplier, R&S RS 184 aMachining, Inc enjoys a great partnership with many significant manufacturers, with Boeing being a fine example of the blue-chip organizations with which it works.

Featuring a group of highly skilled men and women who are committed to maintaining only the very highest of quality standards, the staff at the business include well-trained machine operators who control a wide array of equipment. They continually monitor the products are conforming to the client’s requirements, with customer satisfaction the ultimate goal of the entire team.

Describing itself as a specialist in 4 & 5 axis machining, as you would expect R&S Machining, Inc prides itself on utilizing the best machining centers from globally recognized suppliers, with names such as Okuma, Hermle, Fadal, Makino and Haas. Furthermore, its shop floor also features lathes from manufacturers including Miyano, Okuma and Citizen, EDM Wire from AGIE and EDM RAM from Leblond Makino and AGIE, grinding tools from Okamoto and Toyoda and inspection machines from Hexagon and Leica.

This who’s who of the manufacturing machining world are supported by internationally recognized engineering software solutions such as Mastercam, Verisurf, Catia, NX Siemens, Vericut and PC-DMIS.

This extensive list of equipment and technology allows R&S Machining, Inc to constantly meet and exceed customer requirements, and the variety of machines enables the organization to make the same part in many different ways. It also means the business can be versatile in the array of materials that it can work with, with its experience ranging from plastics and aluminum, to hard metals.

These areas all combine with its flexibility and willingness to think out of the box, and set R&S Machining, Inc apart from the competition. Not only does the company offer multiple approaches to customers on how they can complete a project, but its extensive machine tool set-up means that it can cover individual areas or processes, or combine them, eliminating costly setups and increasing capacity.

Having described the operations of R&S Machining, Inc in broad terms, it is worth examining the businesses machining capabilities in more depth, as it is these which truly are the foundation of its sterling reputation. Starting with Milling, where R&S Machining, Inc describes its offering as having ‘all the bases covered!’ For less complicated parts, 3 axis machines are very efficient. The 40 & 50 taper, high torque machines give the rigidity and power required for cutting various hard metals. The 4-axis vertical and horizontal machining centers then add in a level of efficiency through the continuous operation of more complex parts. For the most difficult or complex par ts, the 5 axis machines allow the company to machine very challenging requirements without risky setups or relocating parts. Again, this helps to increase capacity and handle the complexity of parts to ensure that the unique customer requirements are fulfilled. To take it one step further, some of these machines are equipped with turning capability. This capability increases the quality of those complex parts, where turning and milling features must be held to each other.

This brings us to Turning, where R&S Machining, Inc has extensive capability. From 2-axis big bore to multi-axis/multi-spindle live tooling machines, its CNC Lathes are automated with loaders and unloaders, allowing for 24/7 production with little operator interaction.

On the Production side, R&S Machining, Inc has added automation and cutting edge technology. Its Horizontal Machines are equipped with a Flexible Manufacturing System or FMS, an automation solution that will monitor programs, tools, and schedules, making sure the machine has everything it needs to make the part. The machines probing ability is a large part of this monitoring process. Through this, many areas can be inspected, and if something changes, the machines are equipped to make adjustments to keep production in motion without sacrificing quality. This enables the business to predict is productivity. Currently operating with 34 pallets, R&S Machining, Inc is able to run lights out production of 34 identical or different parts.RS 184 b

Moving onto the Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) and Grinding capabilities – these add a preciseness for particularly unique parts and gives customers access to R&S Machining, Inc as a one stop location for all their needs.

It is clear that any component created by R&S Machining, Inc is going to be a highly precise, and extremely high quality part, and this latter point is sustained in a number of ways. The business operates a variety of inspection equipment, and this allows it self- audit by comparing inspection processes to ensure it has the correct one in place before starting production. This can be done via a conventional check, or through a higher tech approach using Romer arms, CMMs or lasers.

Hexagon Metrology CMMs are at the heart of the inspection department. Their accuracy surpasses all others in the industry, and this means that parts are checked to the highest standard. Furthermore, the re-engineering of an old part is simplified with its scanning capability. It also aids in identifying problem areas in the manufacturing process.

These extremely high levels of excellence are what clients expect from a company certified to ISO 9001 and AS9100 Rev. D. In addition, R&S Machining, Inc’s accreditation by NadCAP and its use of MBD/DPD ensure that its customers’ engineering will not be compromised, and by maintaining these quality certifications, R&S Machining, Inc is able to continuously improve its own operations.

The areas of expertise that we have already covered go a long way to highlight the various technologies and processes in place at R&S Machining, Inc, but there are two more strings to its bow. The business also offers a Kitting service, where a family of parts will remain conveniently located within one box. This eliminates shipment delays due to products coming in from various sources and streamlines the shipping and receiving process. Clients benefit from single point of contact, which allows them better management of their supply chain.

Finally, R&S Machining, Inc is also able to perform sub-assemblies, in a unique service provided to its customers. This helps eliminate any concerns or increases in lead-time due to non-conforming products from multiple vendors. Again, this helps streamline the management of a customer’s vendor supply chain, as well as demonstrates how R&S Machining, Inc is always prepared to go the extra mile in order to anticipate and fulfil the needs of its customer base. There has been a dramatic growth curve for R&S Machining, Inc since the company was founded, but the management team have no intention of slowing down in 2021. There are bold investment plans on the agenda going forward, designed to further expand its manufacturing centers in St Louis, including upgrades to current locations and additional new equipment. These plans also require the recruitment of as many as 60 new staff, with the younger generation very much one of the driving forces behind the plans to implement as much technology as possible. New sites are also on the horizon, with facilities in Texas and Seattle also a future ambition.

Thanks to the spirit of hard work and determination instilled into the business’ DNA by its founders, R&S Machining, Inc forecasts growth of $40m over the next five years. It looks set to achieving its goals, through its strategy of quality, flexibility and the constant drive to exceed the customers’ expectations time and time again.

R&S Machining, Inc
Products: Aerospace components manufacturer
http://randsmachine.com/

Brightening up the market

The only manufacturer of roof windows in the UK and Ireland, Keylite Roof Windows is looking to continue its journey of profitable growth in 2021

Increasingly viewed as an ideal solution to bring natural light and ventilation into a property, demand for roof windows is growing; and as the only manufacturer of roof windows from the UK and Ireland, Keylite is growing with it.

Founded in 2001 as part of the wider Keystone Group, Keylite was an established part of the marketplace by the mid-2000s and has been achieving large volumes of sales for over 15 years. Initially based in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, the company now manufactures its products in Poland, before shipping the items to a 40,000 square foot distribution center in Burton-Upon-TrentKeylite 184 a

“Most of our competitors are based in Eastern Europe or Scandinavia, and although we manufacture in Poland for a number of good reasons, our R&D, marketing, and leadership team is based in the UK, so we feel we are very close to the market and it helps us to be successful,” explains Keylite’s Managing Director, Jim Blanthorne. “We have grown quickly over the last few years and we have got a really strong, ambitious and customer-focused team with a real can-do attitude. It’s 20 years now since we started and we have just got better and better every year.”

Named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s Companies to Inspire Britain in 2020 Keylite’s fastest selling product is a center-pivot roof window, though the firm also manufactures a range of range of blinds, timber loft ladders, flashings, electric operation kits and accessories. Always looking for ways to improve its offering, Keylite collects various data on its products and continuously reinvests in research and development projects.

“The ambition is to make a product that is really easy to install, performs fantastically well and is ultimately as good as it can possibly be,” Jim says. “We’ve got nine patents granted for Keylite already and several more pending. In terms of new product launches for 2021, we have a solar window coming out

“Our roof windows are either manually or electrically operable, and in the past, electrical meant running a power supply to the window, which isn’t always convenient. The solar roof window includes its own solar panel that will charge a battery and the battery will be used to operate the window, either from remote control or using our new Keylite Connect app. We have been extensively testing the solar window with the BRE Group in London to ensure the solar performance makes for a really high quality, high reliability product, so we are excited about its release.”

Like all Keylite products, the new solar window will be manufactured in Zambrów, northeastern Poland, where the company employs a team of several hundred people to make its goods. The Zambrów facility receives continuous investment and in 2020, was the subject of a capital expenditure program to reduce costs and increase capacity, quality, reliability and safety through the extensive automation of processes.

“As part of the latest investment, we have been able to automate individual work centers in the Timber Machining Department, enabling us to join up process steps to help reduce delays and reduce our working capital,” Jim reveals. “For example, during the first stage of the timber process when we bring in raw material, we now have a planer connected to a defect scanner that photos each piece of timber, sends a signal showing any defects to an optimizing saw and then the optimizing saw removes the defects. It means we can optimize the length of the input timber to the length of the windows and maximize the quality yield you can get from that natural product. We now have similar processes across the factory.”

As we move into a brand-new year, the investment isn’t likely to stop for Keylite and the firm has a range of projects lined up that have already received CapEx approval. Automation will remain a focus, but so will a systematic elimination of activity that does not add value.

“Since I joined the business four years ago, the task has been to grow profitably. That comes through sales and expansion, but also through reducing costs, and the best way of doing that is to streamline processes, cut down waste and things like that,” Jim comments. “At Keylite, we are big on the Five S’s of Lean and that is helping to transform the company for the better.”

The progress Keylite has made across the business throughout the last 12 months has been all the more extraordinary considering the nature of 2020 and the seemingly endless problems created by Covid-19. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, in April 2020, sales stopped abruptly for Keylite as uncertainty reigned for the company’s main customers – builders’ merchants. While many firms were forced to close, Keylite remained open as an essential business, operating with a skeleton crew ‘just to keep the lights on’.

“It was actually a really interesting time because it was a chance for a lot of senior people to get really close to the detail of the business again and we learnt an awful lot,” Jim reports. “There was a lot of praise from the market for our Keylite 184 bcustomer service and under difficult circumstances we maintained our usual levels of quality. Our Trustpilot ratings improved during the period and the people we kept in the business really stepped up to the plate.”

Since April 2020, Keylite has experienced a V-shaped recovery in its sales, and levels of demand are now moving above that of 2019. As the firm continues to facilitate the phased return to work of its internal and external teams, Jim is pleased to be able to welcome back the heartbeat of the business.

“People are really key to our success at Keylite,” he asserts. “It starts with recruitment and onboarding, but our objective is to always promote from within where we can. I looked at our leadership team this morning and over half of the people have been promoted to their current positions from within.”

A strong believer in investing in its people, Keylite implements a training program called Keylite Academy. Internally devised and bristling with dedicated content developed by each of the company’s Department Managers, Keylite Academy not only offers a structured approach to staff training, but also helps new employees feel like well-informed, formally initiated members of the organization.

“We very much foster a high performing culture here,” Jim adds. “We are target driven and every role has quite a clear definition. We reward and recognize high performance and people know that if they work hard then there is opportunity to grow and develop within the business.

“Over the last few years we have coined the phrase ‘One Keylite’ as we try to bring all three sites closer together, whilst still empowering the individual. We take on a lot of apprentices and sponsor young, hungry staff members on university courses. That approach, and the belief we show in our people, has brought us a lot of success and we have had employees nominated for Apprentice of the Year, as well as one person that was the Builders Merchants Federation Young Achiever of the Year.”

Driven by the quality of its people and the unity of its workforce, Keylite is looking to achieve more profitable growth in 2021. After proving its robustness and resilience during the Coronavirus pandemic, the company will continue to reinvest and Jim is looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

“The UK continues to have a shortage of quality housing and roof windows fit well with people’s lifestyle ambitions. Be it a room in a roof or a kitchen extension, bright, open, well-ventilated spaces full of daylight are what people want from modern living,” Jim declares. “The next steps for us are to work on safety excellence, quality excellence and sustainability. The latter is a little bit newer to us, but we’ve got timber supplier accreditation from the FSC and we are now looking deeper into waste management and energy management. All in all, it is about gathering all those strong underpinnings for the business that ensure Keylite is fit for future growth.”

Keylite Roof Windows
Products: Roof windows, blinds, loft ladders and accessories
www.keyliteroofwindows.com

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