A trend for business being brought back to the West Mildands from abroad has continued after a foundry reshored £2.5 million worth of business.
Wednesbury-based Alucast, which specialises in sand, gravity and pressure casting, has won business back from India and Brazil, continuing a reshoring theme that has created 1,500 manufacturing jobs since 2011.
Managing director Tony Sartorius put it down to the biggest training scheme in the firm’s 47-year history, which saw everyone from directors down upskilling.
The company secured contracts for brake piston casting for Carlisle Brakes, previously carried out in India, and gravity die cast parts for Delphi Pumps, previously cast and machined in Brazil, as well as a new deal for a luxury car manufacturer which previously sourced from abroad.
Mr Sartorius said he had noticed more customers keen to have work carried out in the UK.
He said: “Customers want greater flexibility and control over logistics. Even being able to just jump in the car and be at a supplier within two hours is a major bonus.
“We must also not underestimate our technical innovation and ability to get involved in adding value through design. These are major selling points.”
The Post recently revealed that about 1,500 manufacturing jobs which moved offshore to cut production costs have been brought back to the UK since 2011, and more are expected to follow with costs, quality and reducing lead times cited as reasons.
Mr Sartorius said in Alucast’s instance the upskilling of staff had been key to elevating above foreign rivals.
The firm put 73 of its workers through a comprehensive programme that has delivered diplomas in Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) and a host of Adult Apprenticeships.
He said the work, with Lean Education and Development (LEAD), had delivered £232,000 of savings and cash flow benefits and boosted workflow through its factory.
He added: “We sat down in 2012 and decided to tackle the situation head on by engaging with LEAD to review our business and the type of training we could put in place.
He went on to add: “The organisation came up with an approach that focused on securing national qualifications for our staff by working on issues within the company.
“This ranged from energy management solutions and visual management to improvements in the core shop and the introduction of a dedicated cell for a new client.
“Increasing our technical capability was a big plus for us and the training around the Japanese lean manufacturing techniques of 5S and Kaizen has been instrumental in us winning the new work.”
UK Trade & Investment recently joined forces with the Manufacturing Advisory Service to launch Reshore UK, a push to encourage reshoring.
Competitive corporate tax rates and a strong regulatory environment are helping to secure more business.
Reshore UK will provide a matching and location service, access to advice and support and a named individual to help each company.
MAS’s role is to help support small and medium sized businesses to be globally competitive and to ensure there is capacity in the UK supply chain to take advantage of the reshoring opportunities. UKTI will use its global networks to attract foreign companies to invest.