Two Yorkshire manufacturers have reaped the benefits of reshoring after a partnership has led to bringing new products to market and creating new jobs.
Kiravans, a campervan conversion specialist, was introduced to Sheffield-based PCT Metalmex two years ago in a bid to find a domestic manufacturing solution for its bench seat swivel base that allows seats to rotate from front to back.
The Otley-based company had developed and certified a design, but its overseas prototype manufacturer was unable to support production volume or manage sub-assembly processes.
The two firms were introduced courtesy of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and its supplier matching service.
James Terry, managing director of PCT Metalmex, said: “The relationship has grown significantly since that first meeting and we are now into our second year of production for the swivel base that is proving very popular with the campervan conversion market.
“Volumes have increased substantially and it’s worth about £300,000 per year to us. We have taken on new people to cope with demand, including three new engineering apprentices.”
Mr Terry added: “The overseas rival couldn’t match our hands-on approach and certainly couldn’t offer the ability to respond quickly to changes or volume increases.
PCT Metalmex, which offers pressed components, profiling and fabrication services, has taken on additional assembly work as part of the first contract and is now using its design skills to help Kiravans develop new products.
These are still in the early stages of specification, but are again intended to fill a gap in the campervan conversion market, with the potential to be exported across the world.
Robert McCandless, partner at Kiravans, said: “There is a real symmetry between both companies, with PCT’s automotive expertise helping them to understand requests quicker and add value to the designs.
“We are now manufacturing thousands of swivel bases every year and expect similar figures for the new products we are working on.”
Sales at PCT Metalmex are expected to exceed £5m with the workforce set to reach 70 people.
The company has continued to work with MAS on introducing new lean techniques such as 5S and continuous improvement teams and this has allowed it to achieve a 30% improvement in output without major expenditure to the bottom line.
Success is mirrored at its second business PCT Automotive. This division is recognised as one of Europe’s leading towbar and towing electrics manufacturers, supplying products that are suitable for all mainstream cars, light commercial vehicles and caravans.