The Manufacturing Advisory Service has supported the London-based company Patrona Luggage to switch production of its travel accessory from a Chinese factory to a Hampshire manufacturer.
This has resulted in significant results for both companies safeguarding UK jobs and significantly improved quality, leadtimes and profits.
Patrona Luggage had experienced a major quality issue with its Chinese factory partner in 2012, and subsequently could not get its tools out of the factory. They approached MAS for support in repatriating the manufacture of its Shirt Shuttle to the UK while simultaneously improve the design, quality, lead times and availability.
MAS worked with BEC Group in Hampshire and was able to use grant monies to prove the tooling design concept. The company also moved to using expanded polypropylene for the base of the case and folding board have resulted in a 32% weight saving and improved product in function and design. 16 parts and four manufacturing processes have been cut to two processes and three parts.
Patrona reduce its pre-production duration by a third, it also reduced the lead time from 12 weeks in China to ten days in the UK. Additionally, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) was reduced from 2,000 units in China to 500 units in the UK.
With the Shirt Shuttle back in stock after 12 months out of production, Patrona is set to dramatically increase its turnover to £450k in the next year, from £175k previously. It forecasts to produce 10,000 units. The equivalent offshore costs of the original product used to be £170k annually.
Two jobs will be created from the move, and will safeguard another two in the UK.
Andrew Brundan, managing director and founder says: “We had issues with communication and quality in the Far East. We demonstrated, aside from the quality and speed of production, there can also be a significant cost advantage to manufacturing on your doorstep – if you can apply the right design approach.”