Automation: Capture customer confidence

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 by Callum Bentley

A case study from asset financier Lombard regarding the automation investment it supported at Teeside-based Cotswold Manufacturing.

Established in 2005 Cotswold Manufacturing, which makes doorsets, doorkits and screens, recently invested in new automated equipment in order to streamline its production process.

Ken Napper, who with Stuart Burnett and Barry Ditchburn is one of the company’s three founder owners and directors explains: “In 2008 we took the decision to make a £200,000 investment in a five axis CNC machine with a robot arm to load and unload the doors into the machine. This made us the first joinery company in the UK to bring in a robot to work in conjunction with a CNC machine.”

Mr Napper says this piece of technology leadership helped the company gain significant efficiencies and kept in moving forward competitively.

Customer service is fundamental to Cotswold Manufacturing and attention to detail and delivering increased productivity are important factors in ensuring that customers receive their orders on time to the quality they expect. The investment Cotswold Manufacturing made in a leading technology solution  has successfully enhanced consistency, quality and capacity safeguarding and improving the customer service it is able to offer.

The CNC is robotically controlled within an IT network which is fully integrated across all functions of the company.

Cotswold Manufacturing has ambitious growth plans and the introduction of the automated system has helped the company to establish itself as a core supplier. Napper explains: “Our lead on innovation with our ability to provide unrivalled accuracy has captured customer confidence. Our proven commitment to quality and sustainability has enabled us to grow and offer greater job security to all our employees.”

The company anticipates a period of growth over the next 18 months and to take a greater share of the market. As a consequence it hopes to increase its staff numbers from the existing 59 person workforce to accommodate this growth, including offering a number of apprenticeships.

The company also puts a great deal of emphasis on ongoing training to ensure that its employees are skilled to deliver the standards its customers require. This includes training in the use of automated equipment.

Napper concludes, “In order to enable theUKto reduce imports and start making more goods domestically it is important to have the right processes in place in order to provide a reliable service. Automation is the way forward in moving towards this becoming a reality.”