Aerospace manufacturer reveals £53m transformation

A year on from introducing its continuous improvement programme (CIP), Icon Aerospace Technology has announced £53m-worth of new and retained contracts.

Tim Pryce, Icon Aerospace technology
CEO of Icon Aerospace technology, Tim Pryce recently spoke to The Manufacturer about the future of UK aerospace and the improtant role innovation plays.

The increase in orders strongly supports Icon Aerospace Technology’s goal of doubling in size by 2019.

Its CIP – known as ‘i4’ (improvement, insight, intelligence, inspiration) has already seen the Retford-based business achieve significant gains in turnover, productivity and profitability, backed by its most powerful resource – its people.

Supported by a four-year £3m partnership with Sharing in Growth (SiG) team, i4 has delivered a 33% improvement in production rates, a 20%-point improvement in yield, and a turnover growth of 29% to date.

The business was specially selected to join the RGF (Regional Growth Fund) sector initiative, led by SiG, after being identified as a leading aerospace manufacturing supplier, with ambitions to grow to beyond mid-cap in size.

The innovative and ambitious RGF programme aims to raise the capability of UK aerospace suppliers to share in the anticipated growth of the global aerospace market, and other associated high-value manufacturing sectors.

Icon already supplies products such as composition polymer seals and ducting, as well as in-flight refuelling hoses to several leading blue-chip aerospace companies, across the US, UK and mainland Europe.

The firm is now continuing to develop its processes and range of highly engineered polymer products to further expand its market influence. Indeed, the company estimates that 75% of new build commercial aircraft will have one of its parts installed by the end of the decade.

To gain team adoption and contribution, Icon has built a dedicated i4 room, where team members can participate in improvement projects and the SiG team can offer daily mentoring and coaching sessions.

To gain team adoption and contribution, Icon has built a dedicated i4 room, where team members can participate in improvement projects
To gain team adoption and contribution, Icon has built a dedicated i4 room, where team members can participate in improvement projects.

The i4 programme has been so successful, that that the company was recently referenced in the CBI’s response to the government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, as a business benefiting from improved performance and productivity through enhanced leadership and skills at a senior level.

CEO of Icon Aerospace Technology, Tim Pryce explained: “One year on from the launch of our Continuous Improvement programme, i4, and with our partners from SiG, we can see the benefits that have been created for the company.

“These are visible not just from the value of the new work we have won, and in our improved turnover, but also in the enthusiasm and commitment of our team. Over 70 of our employees have participated in the programme, with 12 on track to gain a National Vocational Qualification, in Business Improvement Techniques.

“Our customers have responded with tremendous support and encouragement to the major investments we are making in scaling the business.  Many have commented that the manner in which Icon has embraced CI is outstanding and we are often asked to share our learning with other companies.

“I am very proud of our employees and what they are building as Icon continues on its growth journey. We are currently on track to grow our aerospace turnover by 60% by the end of this year and double our total turnover, within the next three years.”

CEO of Sharing in Growth, Andy Page added: “Since participating in the SiG programme, Icon has very quickly gained traction to become a recognised leader in the aerospace supply chain. Thanks to their commitment and trust in our team, they are a real success of the SiG initiative and we are excited about continuing to work with them and help them, and in turn UK Plc, achieve their high growth ambitions.”