A Black Country precision engineering specialist is reaping the benefits of a major investment programme after landing new contracts in automotive, aerospace, F1 and for parts for automation equipment.
A&M EDM, which employs 58 people across its two sites in Smethwick, is heading towards £5m turnover for the first time in its 15-year history after setting its sights on supplying high value, high performance components, including the development of engines for unmanned vehicles.
Support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) has also helped it to identify improvements in its marketing activity, strategy and the implementation of a new environmental system that is set to lead to ISO:14001 accreditation shortly.
“We’ve come a long way since I started the business a few doors down, with just two people and a few machines,” explained Mark Wingfield, Managing Director.
“Over the past 15 years we have grown into the UK’s largest commercial EDM wire and spark erosion specialist, an achievement that we have built on by adding CNC machining and toolmaking design and manufacturing services.”
He continued: “We invited MGP to come in and look at our business and how we could increase turnover and our manufacturing efficiency. The discussions were great and resulted in the creation of an action plan that focused on our approach to customer relationships, strategy and digital marketing.
“It also highlighted the need to secure the ISO:14001 environmental accreditation so that we could tender for larger contracts with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce and Marston Aerospace.”
The Manufacturing Growth Programme supported A&M EDM’s work with Enki-Environmental, who helped the management team develop systems that measured environmental impact and ensured all waste streams were minimised.
This led to a new recycling strategy, re-using scrap wire in production and the installation of LED lighted to reduce energy costs and improve the working environment.
Helen Fortune, Manufacturing Growth Manager at MGP, added her support: “A&M EDM is an innovative, cutting-edge business that is keen to seek external assistance to help it get even better and unlock growth.
“We have identified a number of areas it could improve on and the management team and workforce have embraced them, developing and rolling out a robust environmental management system in just a few months.”
She added: “The next stage is to develop a digital marketing strategy, working with A&M to visually communicate its precision engineering credentials to target customers and influencers.”
The MGP, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), is promising to fill the void left by MAS by providing access to specialist assistance to help manufacturers to grow and improve.
This will be achieved through a 19-strong network of experienced Manufacturing Growth Managers, access to industry specialists and the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £3,500.
Support can be used for leadership and management, R&D, lean manufacturing, productivity and capacity, quality systems, supply chain development and many other improvement projects.
Mark concluded: “The Manufacturing Growth Programme is a vital resource for manufacturing SMEs. It enabled us to invest in the expertise we needed to guide us through ISO:14001 and Helen has been an invaluable practical guide in supporting us to access funding to generate growth and create more jobs.”
A&M EDM, which is the Express and Star’s SME of the Year, currently employs six apprentices out of its 58-strong workforce, with two former apprentices continuing with their HNCs in Engineering.