Jonny Williamson paid MNB Precision a visit to see how the firm has settled into its new premises.
On a chilly February morning, I stood outside MNB Precision’s former location – four separate sites spread across a rolling Coventry industrial park, trying to imagine the logistical and workflow challenges such a set-up created.
The family-run precision engineering business is capable of machining parts up to 11 metres long and one metre in diameter, historically for clients in the oil and gas sector.
Transporting said parts between the disparate sites to be machined, polished, inspected and packaged – as well as additional services the business was having to outsource, meant that the typical lead time for an average job was 18 weeks.
Managing director, Luke Benton noted that once you combined the small amounts of time wasted by outsourcing, or transporting finished parts long distances via forklift truck, the overall total was surprisingly significant.
With the need to become far more efficient starkly evident, MNB relocated its entire premises into one single, 36,000 sqft building in March 2015; a move which means the business can now swiftly and effectively manage jobs from start to finish.
The relocation also offered the opportunity to bring some of the previously outsourced services in-house, enabling MNB the chance to offer turnkey machining solutions for the first time in over 35 years of business.
As we stood overlooking the new site’s bustling workshop floor, Benton told me that the business previously outsourced jobs for shot peening, magnetic particle inspection and liquid dye penetration, something which not only incurred unrecoupable direct costs, but resulted in longer lead times for customers.
Coupled with investing in new machinery and staff development (both of which are ongoing) the results of the move couldn’t be clearer, with MNB’s average lead time falling to just four weeks – a reduction of more than 75%.
The increased efficiency has also created project cost savings of up to 10%, savings the business is also passing onto its customers.
Of late, the specialist in CNC machining and turning, jig boring, spark and wire erosion and grinding has also been looking to diversify out of its traditional marketplace into power generation; aerospace; rail; nuclear, and defence.
“While the oil and gas market has always been, and will continue to be, one of our primary targets, it was important that we looked at evolving our business to remain competitive and ahead of the times, not just keeping up with them,” the managing director explained.
Looking to the future, Benton expects to see welding services brought in-house – joining MNB’s shot peening and Non- Destructive Testing (NDT) services; alongside realising further efficiencies.
“The next step is to continue our consolidation and start to explore our capacity for higher batch volumes, which includes looking at pallet loading machines,” he concluded.