Federico Ercoli travelled to Devon based Amtek Plastics to learn more about its latest plans for expansion.
Growth, growth, growth. A target for big manufacturers; a duty for small and medium ones.
Many achieve it through production of undisputable (and even disputable) qualitative products or by offering a wide range of services. Some instead see a gap, cut themselves a portion of the market, specialise and seize the chance for development.
Most of the time, the latter account for the bravest, these are the entrepreneurs, the risk takers, and the passionate. Amtek Plastics falls into this category.
Started in 2006 by managing director, Stewart Little, Amtek is a Devon-based, bespoke plastics injection moulding company specialised in design, tooling, manufacturing, assembly and packaging operating in a wide range of sectors within the UK.
“We don’t try and put all our eggs in one basket in terms of the industries that we are working in,” explains Mark Amphlett, sales and marketing director.
“We are focusing more in the defence and aerospace industries at the moment. The transportation industries like rail and automotive, those are industries that we are enjoying working in and want to do more with in the future,” Amphlett adds.
Securing contracts with clients from such big and profitable sectors can be (and it usually is) very hard, and striving to deliver is usually the number one problem for most “young” manufacturers. But, this is not the case for Amtek.
“We’ve worked with some large companies out there that historically had their products made out in China and and they’ve faced some huge issues with the supply chain. Issues which resulted in them letting their customers down. So, those companies have come to us and asked us to produce and mould their products for them in the UK,” Amphlett says.
With a workforce of 25, Amtek’s growth seems more of a fairytale rather than a real manufacturing story. It seems too perfect, there must be some hiccups or bumps in the road, I thought.
“We face many challenges in what we do. At the moment, there seems to be a skills shortage in the UK, so finding the right people with the right skills is very difficult,” Amphlett tells me.
The skills gap plague strikes again. So how is Amtek addressing this issue?
“We’re working closely with a university college in the local town to try and encourage some of the younger children to learn skills in manufacturing and sciences because we can see that we’re going to have difficulty employing people in the future with the right skills that we would need,” Amphlett explains.
What emerged from my talk with Amphlett is that Amtek’s clear vision of the future seems to be driving the company in the best of directions.
“We know where we are going to be in 10 years time,” tells me Amphlett with almost glacial confidence.
“We are really looking forward to moving forward, especially with the UK manufacturing side of things. We’ve got something really good to offer down here in Devon I believe and UK manufacturers need to start to shout about what they’ve got,” he adds.
I can only hope to witness it.