A hot air balloon maker has been helped to reach new heights after linking up with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (West Midlands).
Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons, based near Oswestry, Shropshire, is one of the firms which have benefited from £11.6 million of savings and new business after receiving advice from MAS-WM.
New figures have revealed the service in the Midlands has responded to more than 4,600 initial inquiries from firms seeking advice and has visited over 2,000 companies to carry out initial diagnostic 'health checks'.
Its range of advisors and experts have also held more than 80 events designed to educate and train Midland businesses, which have attracted more than 2,000 people and carried out completed 818 in depth consultations.
Experts from MAS-WM helped Lindstrand, which employs 36 people, was helped to reduce wastage when its material supplier changed the diameter of fabric it supplied.
The work, which involved producing new pattern designs, resulted in an eight per cent saving in production costs and saved Lindstrand around £20,000. MAS has also helped the company examine lean manufacturing techniques and improve its senior management team, as well as improve lead times.
Simon Forse, managing director of Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons, said: "MAS-WM helped to identify a number of areas for improvement within the manufacturing process and opportunities relating to skills and expertise that are now being addressed."
Meanwhile MAS advisors have also helped a Black Country firm increase sales by £2 million. Compliance with the EU's Electromagnetic Compatibility directive meant that Netherton-based GNT had to include quality standard CE marking in its manufacture of punch tape readers --better known as Telex machines. West Midlands MAS enlisted the expertise of Staffordshire University whose representative worked for five days with the company to successfully introduce CE marking.
GNT managing director, Bill Hall said: "MAS-WM helped me to make our product better and, whilst the competition is global, we found the help we needed to beat it right on our doorstep."
Nationally, MAS has exceeded its original targets by more than 50 per cent, generating £155 million of added value for UK manufacturing in its first three years.
The service, delivered through ten regional centres of manufacturing excellence across England and Wales, comfortably exceeded an original target of £93 million set at the launch in April 2002. Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said: "These latest figures show the Government's firm commitment to support British companies, and to help secure the future success of UK manufacturing."