Car parts specialist wins award for lean manufacturing

Car parts specialist Klarius Products has won a major industry award – thanks to its focus on ‘lean manufacturing.’

The company was awarded for its achievements in the field lean manufacturing – image courtesy of Klarius

The Cheadle company picked up two prestigious awards at the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) Awards, including the coveted Company of the Year title.

Klarius, which also picked up the Logistics Excellence Award, was acquired almost 10 years ago by the current management team.

Over the last eight years, Tony Wilson, Dave Cheetham and Paul Hannah have been working to improve the manufacturing efficiency of the business – leading to an increase in sales and product development.

The Cheadle business has also developed a new approach to supporting its customers, by reducing delivery timescales to distributors – from two to three days, to overnight.

Business development director Paul Hannah said: “It’s really fashionable to say that manufacturing is dying in Britain but that is so far from the truth. We can beat the rest of the world here on our doorstep if we do things right.

“Rather than investing in revolutionary technology that’s going to change the world, we just focus on making things better today than they were yesterday.”

Klarius specialises in the production and supply of exhausts, catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters for the automotive industry.

It employs around 300 people at its Brookhouse Industrial Estate headquarters, which boast a technical development centre, emission test track and logistics centre.

The company supplies major automotive distributors in the UK and Europe and has a 40% market share in the UK.

Paul Hannah added: “When we took on the business, the first thing we did was improve customer service. Our customers told us that they get their emissions parts from various manufacturers because there’s not one single manufacturer which supplies them all – so that’s what we started to aim for.

“We can’t make them stop buying from our competitors, but we know we can give them a better reason to come to us.”

Klarius’ focus on lean and efficient manufacturing has allowed it to step-up the number of products it stocks to 11,500. It has also been able to increase the number of car parts it develops each year from 20 to 500.

Three years ago, Klarius set-up a sister company – KMT Tools – to manufacture specialist machinery and tools for the automotive and rail industries.

In that time KMT has grown from a revenue of £150,000 to an annual turnover of £2m.

Paul Hannah added: “We have made significant investments this year – in excess of £1m – in our manufacturing equipment and facilities.

“Now, over the next few years we want to focus on growing the business, by exporting our products into France and Germany.”

The winners of the NAA Awards 2017 are recognised as leading players in the automotive industry.