Discover how Eltherington Group revolutionizes production, training, and efficiency in manufacturing 

Renowned manufacturing company Eltherington Group Ltd (Eltherington), is a leading supplier of architectural aluminium and bespoke manufacturing services. Active across a vast array of markets, Eltherington is a particularly prominent player in the leisure, modular, and commercial cladding industries. With a rich history spanning over six decades, the company has established itself as a trusted supplier of high-quality products thanks to its dedication to excellence and customer satisfaction. William Dennett, Commercial Director, presents an overview of the company’s history. 

“Eltherington principally acts as a manufacturer of engineering, fabrication, and window solutions supplied through key markets such as leisure and modular. Additionally, we are a prominent supplier of rainscreen cladding solutions for commercial cladding projects. Established in 1961 as a family-owned business, Eltherington is now in its third generation of family ownership, led by our current CEO, Antony Eltherington. Initially, the business was established to support the local fishing trade by supplying aluminium racking solutions as well as storage solutions for fishing trawlers, a large industry in the Humber Region, until the lateEltherington Group manufacturing facility 1970s. While in its infancy the company served as a key aluminium stockist, we have shifted our focus altogether and are now solely a manufacturing centre for fabrications, rainscreen cladding solutions, and UPVC window solutions. Currently, we employ 200 staff and as we outgrew our old site’s capacity, we relocated to a purpose-built enterprise park in 2017,” he highlights. 

Upon moving to its new site, Eltherington sought to improve its production process. “Prior to the relocation, our production efficiency was in the mid-60s,” begins Steve Baker, Group Manufacturing Director. “In an effort to increase that number, we decided to reduce our product portfolio. Our strategy was to stop producing slow-moving items, which affected the throughput of our factory. Additionally, we’ve implemented a level scheduling system to facilitate better resource and labour planning. This system helped us deal with our fluctuating order book, where we had to constantly adjust labour allocation which resulted in quality issues and improved our on-time in full performance to the customer. To complement the streamlined production process, we also began focusing on training. We established a training academy on the mezzanine floor of our facility, separate from the production line. By doing so, it enabled the team to develop their personnel without affecting the throughput of the factory. The throughput had always been compromised when personnel had been trained on the production line. Now, we provide comprehensive training in the academy. Once the training officer certifies them, they are fully equipped to produce the required number of windows or doors per day at the correct quality standard in their respective areas. This has significantly enhanced our production line’s flexibility and improved throughput. 

Specified solutions 

“Moreover, we also focused on eliminating Non-Value-Added (NVA) processes. For example, one project led to the investment of auto screwdrivers on the shop floor, eliminating the NVA task of manually picking up and putting down screws. This resulted in labour being reduced across these production areas. Through a combination of approaches, we were able to increase efficiency from the mid-60s to the high-70s,” Steve states. 

William goes on to detail how Eltherington’s activities and products are spread across the group’s subsidiaries. “The Eltherington group is divided into two companies focused on different markets: Eltherington Industries, and Eltherington Aluminium. Aluminium provides various products, including rainscreen cladding solutions, which are utilised by a diverse clientele. This includes hotel customers such as architects working for the Hilton Group. Within the commercial cladding market, we offer solutions which include a through fix system, one of our main products, along with a secret fix system and a clip plank system. Typically, our products are specified by architects or installers, and we provide the complete cladding solution for their installation needs. Some notable customer groups relying on our services in this sector include FK Facades Group, Taylor Maxwell, and Clear Line. The majority of our work in the field consists of bespoke projects which may take up to 12 months to deliver. One such project entailed a collaboration with FK Facades for the Wirral Waters, Wirral Peninsula development. Eltherington was in charge of delivering cladding solutions for large-scale, bespoke living accommodations on the Wirral Waters development project. We provided a modern castellated cladding solution that aligns with the latest trends in the market. 

Bringing ideas to life Eltherington Group sheds

“Within the industrial segment, Eltherington primarily supplies cladding and window solutions for the leisure and modular sectors. For the leisure sector, we operate with key manufacturers, including ABI, Swift, Carnaby and Willerby Holiday Homes, while in the modular sector, key manufacturer customers include Portakabin, Premier Modular and E-Spaces,” William adds. 

The year 2023 saw one of Eltherington’s latest and most innovative developments so far with the implementation of a new virtual showroom to improve customer experience. “Over the last year, the company invested a significant amount in refurbishing our physical showroom. This was our motivation to create a virtual showroom as well. To do so, we worked with an organisation that has completed virtual showrooms for high street retail customers and some of our own clients. We partnered with that organization to encourage customers who are not physically able to visit our showroom to explore our products on the internet,” shares William. 

Group R&D Director David Johnson has also overseen the development of the showroom and has been able to utilise this to work collaboratively with the business’ customers. David adds: “The showroom has become multifaceted. We’ve divided it effectively to offer an area for clients in leisure and clients in the architectural sector. We’ve also got a concept area that we use to work collaboratively with our customers so we can bring their ideas to life.” 

Continuous product development 

David also notes that the showroom area is used for product prototyping, and production, which allows the company to introduce customers to their product before it goes to manufacturing. “We also use it to educate our staff. It enables them to see what we do in other areas. We also use it for product training for our sales team.” 

William then continues to share that the showroom empowers customers to explore specific solutions and get access to detailed information through a PDF file featuring technical data, specifications and more. “This innovation has garnered overwhelmingly positive reactions from our customer base. Eltherington Aluminium’s virtual showroom has seen the most success from the architectural sector, where our clients can benefit from the ability to review systems via the virtual showroom, therefore cutting down their project development time. Not only is it greatly appreciated by our customers, but it also facilitates collaborative work between Eltherington and our clients on various developments,” he explains. 

Through continuous improvement, nurtured talent, and a willingness to embrace new technologies, Eltherington builds on its legacy of quality while working towards its upcoming targets. “With the customer market currently downturned, our focus for the year ahead will be on continuous product development. This will allow us to remain adaptable in the face of a changing market as well as to explore other sectors,” concludes William.