Manufacturing money

Posted on 22 Sep 2009 by The Manufacturer

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in Yorkshire & Humber (MAS Y&H) has helped Wakefield-based manufacturer Group Rhodes achieve significant profitable improvements including an increase of £150,000 in sales.

Founded in 1824, Group Rhodes has become one of Europe’s largest Original Equipment Manufacturers in its field, supplying an extensive range of machinery for Metalforming, Material Handling, Clay Preparation, Concrete Working and Special Purpose applications. Group Rhodes’ diverse range of companies are currently working on a range of contracts including supplying the MOD with equipment for Britain’s new generation of aircraft carriers and machinery to BAE to manufacture critical components for the Joint Strike Fighter project.

Group Rhodes has undergone some significant changes over the past few years and the management team recognised an urgent need to improve their key processes. According to the firm’s Sales Director, Barry Richardson, “Areas that needed to be addressed ranged from sales and contracts through to the processing of critical information including the design and manufacture.” As a result, Group Rhodes called in MAS Y&H for their specialist help and support.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is a product within the Government’s Solutions for Business portfolio, jointly funded by BIS (The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) and the nine English Regional Development Agencies that provides practical, business-specific support and advice to UK manufacturers who wish to raise their productivity, improve their efficiency, generate new and innovative ideas and address problems that may be affecting their profitability. The MAS programme is delivered by 11 centres of excellence across the UK including MAS Y&H and is a BIS initiative jointly funded by Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and managed by YFM Business Development, a subsidiary of YFM Group.

With the assistance of manufacturing specialist Brian Sainsbury, MAS Y&H embarked on a comprehensive, 10-day process management project to make improvements within the business and provide Group Rhodes with the necessary skills required to position themselves as a future global supplier.

The improvement project has led to outstanding changes and developments taking place throughout the business. An £150,000 increase in sales has been achieved and Group Rhodes expects Gross Value Added to improve by at least £45,000 once the process management improvements have been embedded. Furthermore, six jobs at the company have been safeguarded and new jobs created. A 10% improvement in people productivity, 5% improvement in on-time delivery and a 10% improvement from increased process focus have also been achieved.

The firm attributes the role MAS has played in helping them to win major new orders, including one worth $3m to supply a superplastic forming press for the production of lightweight components in the Aerospace industry in China.

Mark Ridgway, managing director at Group Rhodes, commented: “The whole business has benefited from the MAS intervention. Restructuring key functional departments has led to increased efficiency and now our project managers really are managing. They have cross-function responsibility for contracts from start to finish including controlling budgets, custom liaison and chairing client meetings.”

“Group Rhodes is continuing to develop new products and, having recognised the impact that ‘green’ issues are going to have in the future, has launched Rhodes Environmental to serve the waste industry.”

Mark added: “MAS has helped our workforce to adapt to change and as we continue to evolve and develop we look forward to calling upon their expertise in the future to help our people to embrace new technologies.”