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Fairgrieve Compression Moulding is looking to build on a profitable previous 12 months in 2023, with the foundations in place to ensure the business has a long and successful future ahead.
That is the summary of General Manager Barry Davidson, who ended 2022 by winning two ‘hugely important’ new contracts for the business – work he says the company would not have been in a position to secure 18 months ago.
“We’ve been on a journey for the past 18 months, and what we’ve had to do in that time is bring a business with more than 100 years’ history into modern times, and that has meant adopting a different way of working” he said.
“The business had reached a point a couple of years ago where it wasn’t profitable and was stagnating – everything needed to be looked at again from a fresh starting point.
“What was clearly evident was that the business had some excellent customer relationships, first-class expertise and the ability to design and manufacture products which are in high demand. It needed to become more efficient though, and look to break into new markets and find new customers.
“That we have done this year, winning contracts in the rail industry, construction sector and aviation market that I know we wouldn’t have been considered for two years ago, despite having the expertise required.”
Team effort to transform ways of working
Having firstly written off a significant amount of overproduced stock, Fairgrieves then went through a ‘5S’ blitz in their workplace to tidy up and re-organise all working areas.
This involved removing anything no longer in use and ensuring that everything was in its place, and that there was a place for everything – the foundation stone for any good 5S work programme in a manufacturing setting.
Business practices were reviewed, including the introduction of new marketing techniques, and new pricing and purchasing initiatives to identify ways of saving costs, but never neglecting the key aspect of product quality and customer service.
A full refurbishment of the factory floor followed – and now offices are being decorated too, by staff themselves, marking a real team effort which has driven good financial performance each and every month of 2022.
Securement of major contracts to supply thousands of firewall brackets to a major UK construction company, which will be used on one of the north-east’s largest projects in Sunderland, and parts for a British military aircraft parts supplier, have ensured the year has ended on a high.
“The two recent contracts were the icing on the cake rounding off a great year, and a great foundation to start for this year,” Mr Davidson added.
“The pleasing thing is that it has been a real team effort, from the owner to the staff in the offices and on the factory floor. We’ve undergone a huge transformation in almost every aspect of how we work, and the key has been how our team have bought into that.
“Financially 2022 was a solid year. We’ve cut back on unnecessary expenditure, ensuring we only order materials to meet customer orders, reducing stock by ensuring we never over-produce, and encouraging multi-skilling and flexibility with our workforce so we are able adapt and flex to multiple shift patterns, including 24 hour working if needed to satisfy customer demand and expectations.
“We’ve made ourselves the leading choice for compression moulding in the UK, and that is a great place to be as we look ahead to a new year.”