Seven months after reigning supreme at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2015, TM caught up with Lambert Engineering’s Warren Limbert for an update on the firm’s upward trajectory.
In November last year, Lambert Engineering became the most successful company in the history of TMMX Awards, which includes the awards’ previous capacity as The Manufacturer of the Year Awards, before it merged with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Excellence Awards.
The engineering firm was shortlisted in no less than seven categories, and on the night walked away with trophies in Customer Focus; Innovation & Design; Leadership & Strategy, and the overall UK Manufacturer of the Year 2015.
Enter TMMX 2016 now – entries close June 30
Entries are free and open to all UK manufacturers, of any size, from any sector.
TMMX Awards 2016 are supported by headline sponsor NatWest; co-sponsor Meggitt; category sponsors Autodesk; EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services; Grant Thornton UK LLP; ILX Skills; Industry Forum; Warwick Manufacturing Group; University of Warwick, judging sponsor University of Birmingham; partner Durham University Business School, and supporters the Aerospace Technology Institute, Confederation of Business Industry, Department for Business Innovation & Skills.
Previous winners of include: McLaren Automotive; Accolade Wines; Rolls-Royce; Xtrac Ltd; Vaillant Group, and many more. See the full list of previous winners here.
Warren Limbert heads up the operation, which was founded in 1975 by Chris Lambert and Peter Wainman. Since the mid-seventies, the company has grown from four people to a team of 185, divided across the firm’s three business arms: automation systems, equipment engineering, and precision components.
Seven months on from dominating at TMMX Awards 2015, how has the business developed as a result?
Since winning the Awards, there have been a number of developments at Lambert. By the end of 2015, not only had we won four TMMX Awards, but we achieved a record sales year, which was up 35% over the previous three-year average.
Lambert has also set up a new standalone after sales and service department. This provides support for customers’ ongoing needs to secure high productivity levels from the equipment Lambert designs and installs. The department delivers servitization provision for equipment.
With this new autonomous department, we have a true business model, where we can support our customers from early-stage product and process development, through to sustaining high OEE output of our automation for years to come; this is key to the success of our customer.
There have been multiple benefits from our TMMX Awards success. Looking externally, it is amazing how far-reaching the news of the awards was. Messages of congratulation came flooding in from our international customer base, including North America; China; Europe; South America, and many other countries across Asia.
It has been interesting to discover how many of our customers recognise success in industry awards when making decisions to award contracts.
For me though, the greatest impact has been internally at Lambert. Our team has taken great pride in its achievement, to be recognised by our industry peers and to be so successful has truly empowered nearly 200 people to realise how good they are.
Every member of the team has taken away something from the awards success, realising what they do every day makes a difference to the business and our stakeholders.
What was key to Lambert’s success and how is the firm building on that achievement?
Our success is down to having a clear vision and business strategy that ultimately has a core focus on two factors: the success of our people and our customers.
The key to the success is to ensure everyone in the business understands the vision and strategy, buys into it and knows how what they do makes a difference. It sounds simple, but it has to be within the culture of a company top to bottom, and that journey is not simple; it takes time, patience, investment and hard work.
How has it affected staff morale?
Staff morale has always been high at Lambert, positive feedback from all of the award judges during their visits, which comprised six visits and more than 20 judges, was about our staff. While touring the facility and offices, they were amazed by how friendly and engaging everyone was, with a number of the judges showing concern as to how we were going to recreate that “wow” factor when we came down to Leicester City FC for the second round judging sessions.
Oh, I must also say, great vision by The Manufacturer to hold the second judging session at the premiership winners stadium in September last year – who could have predicted that!
How has it raised the profile of the firm?
As a business you can almost say over the years Lambert has been publicity shy. This is related to the nature of our product and the customer base being so confidential. The awards have been a tremendous opportunity for us to promote our company without the need to talk about product or customers. The result has been amazing with many people not believing that we are still a privately owned SME.
Will you be entering TMMX Awards this year?
We have taken the decision not to enter this year, we have so many changes happening across the business that we felt 2017 would be the right time to enter again and show how the business has transformed over the two years.
Good luck to the companies that are entering!
Would you recommend entering TMMX Awards 2016?
There are a number of reasons to enter; you may just want to benchmark yourself against the best manufacturing companies in the UK. This in itself is a good enough reason to enter, the great thing about the awards is that winning is a bonus, you get so much out of the awards just by being part of them.
While going through the judging process, you naturally audit yourself and start to formulate improvement initiatives. You also get high level feedback from the judging panel who themselves are leaders in industry, so essentially that is free consultancy from experts at this level – why wouldn’t you enter??
What is the best advice you could give a company writing its award entry right now?
I have two pieces of advice:
- Include as many people as you can in your entry process. It is great to see senior people involved, but the power of your entry only comes out when you include staff from across your business.
- Look at the category, focus on what you are good at in relation to the heading and then sell yourself. We found it all too easy to identify where we still needed to improve, switch that part of your brain off and be positive, you wouldn’t be entering if you didn’t have a great story to tell.
What’s the short-term and long-term plan for the future at Lambert?
There are many things we are currently working on, a simple answer to this question is to ensure we are listening to our customers and staff, then deliver to exceed expectations.
To focus on something more tangible for your readers, we see our business, products and service developing at a rapid pace over the next five years. The short-term plan is to embed our technology strategy across the company to ensure our product, service and people are aligned to the changes Industry 4.0 will bring.
The long-term plan is then to ensure we are delivering a world class, industry leading product and service that will change the face of manufacturing forever – exciting times.