Sleaford Engineering Ltd

Image of CNC machine

About the business

Having worked for Precision Turning & Milling for many years Peter Godwin and Michael Phillips decided to take the plunge and branch out on their own to launch Sleaford Engineering in 2010, a manufacturing business focusing on the manufacturing of components for industrial machinery and commercial vehicles.

Sadly their old employer went into receivership   Peter and Michael had already successfully re-established many of the relationships that they had nurtured whilst at Precision Turning & Milling, in time taking on their old customer base in its entirety. This, along with the addition of several new customers, created an order book that has already allowed them to take on an additional full time and part time member of staff and to consider investing further in their young business.

 

The Challenge

The manufacturing process relies on the business being able to shape billet metal into high specification components efficiently and to a consistently high quality threshold. To do this the business uses a turning and milling machine to trim the metal to the required measurements.

For Sleaford Engineering this is an effective yet time consuming process as being limited to one turning machine mean that the business is only able to work on one piece of metal at a time. As a result, Peter and Michael often find themselves having to put customers on hold or work overtime in order to meet delivery deadlines.

As the order book strengthens the bottleneck in the manufacturing process will only get worse, limiting their ability to take on more complex and more profitable jobs.

The Solution

The solution, agreed upon by Peter and Michael, was to purchase an additional turning machine so that more than one job could be worked on at any one time. This would increase production by around 25%, reduce bottlenecks and allow a quicker turnaround of jobs.

Peter started to investigate the support available to help young businesses looking to invest in capital equipment, but initially found this both time consuming and confusing.

Looking online for more locally based grand schemes that could offer quicker decisions Peter came across Grants4Growth, a European Funded Grant program run by a team from South Holland District Council based in Spalding.

A quick call allowed Peter to register an Expression of Interest and get the ball rolling. He was visited by a Business Advisor who guided him step by step through the application process.

"It was amazingly simple and took hardly anytime at all. We needed to be clear about why we were looking to buy the machinery and what impact it would have on our business". Said Peter. "It was actually a useful exercise for us to do as it forced us to quantify what cost savings we could expect and how much extra work we could deliver if we had the new machine"

"Because we'd made the decision that we needed to take the plunge and invest we didn't want to hang around and jump through lots of hoops!" "Getting a decision and a grant award of £7700 within just a couple of weeks allowed us to buy the machine we'd identified and get it installed really quickly"

Peter explained, "Having had the machine operating over the past 21 weeks we are already reaping the rewards. We are able to offer quicker job completion dates to our customers and at the same time provide cheaper quotes due to the fact that we are not having to pay overtime. In addition we are also able to take on more work which we were previously losing to our competitors."

What's next?

Asked about the future Peter said "Currently our order book is full and the future looks bright for Sleaford Engineering.  By taking on more and more challenging projects we hope to further build our reputation in the market place and so stay ahead of the competition."

"Being so busy we do not have time to sit through loads of paperwork, so the Grants 4 Growth was brilliant."