Midlands Assembly Network celebrates 10th birthday

Posted on 27 Apr 2016 by Jonny Williamson

One of the world’s first manufacturing collectives, the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN) is celebrating 10 years in business and is immediately setting its sights on delivering £5m of new sales by the end of 2016.

The Midlands Assembly Network (MAN), a group of eight sub-contract manufacturers and a specialist engineering design consultancy, is looking to mark the major milestone by setting out a new approach to winning work in the UK and overseas.

It will focus on the development of sub-clusters of two, three and four member companies, who will target new untapped markets with specific offers to reduce costs, improve lead times and offer outsourcing solutions to complex production issues.

A force in renewables, Tony Hague (PP Electricals and MAN Group)
Tony Hague, managing director, PP Electrical Systems.

Chairman of MAN and managing director of PP Electrical Systems, Tony Hague explained: “The group was set up in 2006 by government support to help firms work together to secure new business, especially in light of the MG Rover collapse and subsequent fall-out.

“I believe the vision was to jointly market the manufacturing capabilities of the region and the initial vision was to ensure that every aspect of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering process was offered, and importantly, there was no competition.”

Hague continued: “Three of the founding members – Alucast, Barkley Plastics and Brandauer – still remain part of MAN, and our philosophy is still very much the same…to work together to win work; to share best practice; training expertise; buying resource, and to promote UK manufacturing to the rest of the world.

“More than £35m of contracts have been secured through the group to date and this will have safeguarded and created hundreds of jobs in the process. Our aim now is to build on this by the introduction of a host of specific cluster offers.”

MAN currently comprises: Alucast; Barkley Plastics; Brandauer; Grove Design; KimberMills International; Mec Com; Muller Holdings; PP Electrical Systems; SMT Developments, and associate partner – Warwick Manufacturing Group.

The collective, which boasts annual sales of £70m and employs in excess of 750 people, offers access to a full outsourcing solution, from initial design and prototyping to supply chain management and low/medium/high volume production.

It currently works for customers in 30 different countries, spanning automotive; aerospace; construction; electronics; F1; energy; food and drink; packaging; renewables, and telecommunications.

Business development manager at Barkley Plastics, Matt Harwood commented: “Our best ever year brought in about £4.5m, but I think there is now a growing demand from OEMs and Tier 1s in the supply chain to outsource some of their non-core production.

“This presents a great opportunity for MAN as we have a proven track record of delivering complex assemblies, new product introductions and answers to really different engineering issues. There’s no reason why we can’t aim for £10m of new sales across the group next year.”

Nick Lathe and Tony Hague (front) with members of the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN).
Nick Lathe and Tony Hague (front) with members of the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN).

The Midlands Assembly Network provides expertise in automation; casting; CNC machining; control systems; design; forgings; high volume precision pressings; PCB manufacture; plastic injection moulding; prototyping; sheet metal fabrication, and stamping.

Over the past ten years it has been involved in a range of high-profile projects, including the London 2012 Olympic torch; launch of the Jaguar Land Rover Evoque; the Large Hadron Collider and, more recently, the development of a nanotech coating machine to protect mobile phones from damage.