Manufacturing Assembly Network leads industrial fightback with £10m sales boost

08th Jul

A leading UK manufacturing collective is setting its sights on a £10 million sales boost after seven of its nine members reported being back to or above pre-Covid levels.

The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), which works together to win new contracts and share best practice, has secured a string of contracts across automotive, electronics, medical and renewables following the easing of lockdown.

Some 40 jobs are now expected to be created, with plans in place to invest £2.5 million on increasing 3D printing capability, robotics and high-speed presses.

MAN has also announced the appointment of new co-chairmen to oversee the continued recovery and to expand the capabilities of the group even further.

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Peter Davies, CEO of James Lister & Sons, and Grove Design’s Austin Owens (pictured left) have jointly taken over at the helm, with the duo keen to look at how they maximise the different engineering disciplines of members.

“The majority of our companies have recovered from the economic shock of Covid-19 – quicker than many of us expected,” said Peter.

“We have adapted the way we work, and it has been a learning curve, but I think it shows the resilience of industry and how we can pivot to continue to supply our customers while also keeping our staff safe.

“This included our members producing wiring harnesses for ventilators, nose clips for face masks and the development of the manKIND visor to support the NHS, healthcare and charities.

“Our focus now is on supporting members who are still below pre-pandemic volumes and looking at how we can harness the power of MAN to achieve new efficiencies and, importantly, target new opportunities.

“There have been a lot of early successes in electrification and this is one area we feel plays perfectly to our design and manufacturing skills. This extends to working with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) to look at developing an e-mobility demonstrator concept.”

The Manufacturing Assembly Network, which employs more than 1,750 people across 13 factories, can offer every engineering discipline imaginable, including aluminium casting, automation and control systems, forging, plastic injection moulding, PCB development, precision machining, high-volume pressing, tube manipulation and welded assemblies.

Its membership includes Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, Kimbermills International, Muller Holdings and PP Control & Automation.

Austin Owens, founder of Grove Design, went on to add: “Disruption from the pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues is driving a shift in procurement and there does seem to be a greater appetite to use a cohesive group of companies that offer a single-source solution…something MAN are perfectly set-up for.

“Other priorities for this year will be leveraging strong relationships with academia to push the R&D conversation further and the option of bringing in new members, but only if there is a good strategic fit.”

He concluded: “I’m personally very keen to increase the diversity of talent we have in engineering and MAN will continue to run our Design & Make Day to encourage young people to consider a career in industry.”

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