Successful turnaround for Sheffield components manufacturer

Posted on 6 Dec 2022 by The Manufacturer

South Yorkshire manufacturer P&B Metal Components is back in the black recording a £606k profit with sales growing to £22.75m for the last financial year following two years of significant losses.

The Sheffield-headquartered company, with a subsidiary manufacturing facility in Malaysia, annually makes more than 500 million high quality, precision engineered metal components for the avionics, automotive and defence industries, as well as for domestic appliance manufacture, industrial control and automation segments.

A carefully developed plan for the turnaround included consolidating the company’s two UK sites into the Sheffield site, establishing a new business structure, rebuilding the Board of Directors and the senior management team, introducing a reinvigorated HR programme, an extensive recruitment campaign, exiting from loss-making contracts, refreshed branding, new website and a focus on growing segments in key geographies.

P&B now boasts a strong order book with further plans to increase its sales capacity to satisfy increased demand from its key customers in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Brendan Kendrick, Managing Director at P&B Metal Components

Brendan Kendrick, Managing Director at P&B Metal Components

Managing director Brendan Kendrick, said the turnaround plan for P&B, established in 1961 and which celebrated 60 years in business in 2021, had involved consolidating sites and establishing a new business structure in Sheffield.

He said: “We consolidated Kent and Yorkshire operations in 2020, with the site in Sheffield now being the new HQ and only UK site, accompanied by one Asia-based site in Malaysia.

“The new business structure in Sheffield features a revised board including a Chairman, Managing Director, Technical Director, Finance Director, Operations Director, Sales Director and June Bushell, joint founder of P&B who is still active in the business today.

“After posting two years of losses we now have a £22.75m group turnover and we made a profit of just over £600k for 2021-22. Additionally, our site in Malaysia delivered a profit this year for the first time since being established in 2014.

“On the customer service side, we have established a new customer service function to deliver world class service for customers.

“Operations management-wise, we have reinvigorated our people strategy including wage increases, improved retention initiatives, skilled workforce recruitment and reinvigorated our apprentice program. We have our own in-house product and tooling design team for early customer engagement.”

As a contact assembly manufacturer, P&B supplies to a global market of over 200 customers spread across 30 different countries. It supplies multinational OEMs such as Siemens, Honeywell and Worksop-based Eaton with critical components.

Looking at the current market challenges, Brendan added: “We are now matching and exceeding customer volume requirements, we are seeing strong demand in our focus segments and geographies.

“We continue to work through the challenges of Covid and Brexit. P&B exports 90% of its products, so we are faced with Brexit, supply chain and international trade challenges.

“Through the factory consolidation and Covid, a key consideration was keeping key suppliers on board. We have a strategy to keep supply local and we are proud to have Sheffield-based Thessco, as a key supplier.

“There are supply chain challenges as lead times have increased from eight to as much as 26 weeks for some key base materials.”

Focussing on the outlook for P&B, Brendan added: “The business outlook is positive, and we are positioning the business for growth in line with the company’s business plan.”

“The localisation of customers’ production manufacturing to North America, Europe and the Middle East will help drive growth as supply chain challenges associated with heightened political uncertainty grow.

“The growth through the automation, electrification, and digitisation of the world, where product lifetime is critical, will continue to drive demand for high quality components.

“Sales, marketing, and business development is the final piece of the jigsaw for P&B in 2022. The recruitment of a new Sales Director in September means the new Board of Directors is complete and ready to drive the business towards the achievement of its long-term goals.

“Refreshed branding and a new website was launched in October to give the company a fresh look and bring it more in line with the needs of customers.

“We currently employ 120 staff in Sheffield and 70 in Malaysia. A key challenge is people and the recruitment of skilled Toolmakers, Setters and Welding engineers including factoring in diversity and inclusivity.”

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