A multi-million-pound investment is transforming Icon Aerospace Technology’s 150-year old factory into a modern, advanced UK production facility.
Icon Aerospace Technology, alongside its landlord Strawsons, is investing the sum as part of its ongoing modernisation programme to create a 21st century manufacturing business.
The aim is for Icon to be better able to succeed the requirements of its customers for the long-term, one which will create sustainable employment for decades to come.
That level of forward-planning is a vital element missing from too many UK manufacturing businesses, according to Tim Pryce, CEO of Icon Aerospace Technology.
Pryce recently sat down with The Manufacturer, and noted that for the past 30 years, too many executive teams and directors have milked established successes, rather than focusing on creativity, R&D and innovation to ramp up the introduction of new products.
Pryce explained: “For Icon, and I think for UK manufacturing in general, it’s absolutely paramount we realise that we need to be building businesses which are going to be here in 30, 50, 100 years, not six months.”
Such a strategy includes providing its workforce, suppliers and customers with an attractive and productive environment in which to work.
The investment will see Icon reduce its total footprint by nearly 50% to a highly efficient and productive three-acre site – all while its sales output doubles.
The purpose-built facility aims to see the aerospace manufacturer significantly improve the flow of materials, achieve throughput efficiencies and productivity, and reduce its carbon footprint through a more energy efficient production environment.
During construction, for example, almost 1.5km of excess steam pipes have been removed, according to Pryce.
The business is currently working through an order book worth upwards of £150m (based on Teal Group data).
The enhanced capacity and competitive environment which has been created is hoped to put Icon in an even stronger position to win more work as the global aerospace and defence market continues to grow.
The modernisation programme is part of Icon’s wider Continuous Improvement Programme (CIP), known as I4 – Improvement, Insight, Intelligence, and Inspiration.
This is a £3m investment to create an environment that enables all employees to contribute, learn and deliver improvements, and therefore help the company achieve its vision of building a highly successful manufacturing business for the long term.
Pryce commented: “The strength of our products and service is in the strength of our people and when the Icon team considered how best they could further meet the demands of our customers we knew the answer was in our employees. By creating a working environment where our employees could thrive, our customers would feel the benefit.”
Having already created 100 news jobs over the past 18 months, Icon is reportedly on track to deliver its impressive growth plan and with that create even further jobs and opportunities.
The next step for Icon is to complete the construction of a new facility for its offices, before the end of 2017, which will house all business functions.