Posted On: 21st June 2012
The old adage of ‘strength in numbers’ couldn’t be closer to the truth for the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN), a group of nine world class sub-contract manufacturers.
Back in 2005, the UK was under siege from a combination of low cost, low labour emerging nations arriving on the scene and a lot of our manufacturing heavyweights were slipping into liquidation or closing plants and moving elsewhere. MG Rover, Peugeot Ryton and ACGO being the most noticeable casualties.
As relatively small component suppliers we needed a new approach to tackling these threats and used support from Advantage West Midlands and Accelerate to create a network of like-minded companies who could work together to retain and win work.
The next seven years has seen MAN evolve more than we could ever have expected.
Now funded entirely by the businesses, the collective is nine-strong and can offer clients a single source manufacturing solution to any enquiry imaginable. And this is no idle boast.
The member companies currently include:
Advanced Chemical Etching
Alucast (Auminium castings)
Barkley Plastics (Injection moulding)
Brandauer (High volume precision pressings)
FW Cables (Cables and harnesses)
Lightning Aerospace (Fabrication)
PP Electrical Systems (Electrical and electronic assemblies)
SMT Developments (Electronic contract manufacturer)
Westley Engineering (Press tools, presswork and stampings)
Clients can use one, two or all nine of the MAN companies and are given a dedicated point of contact - usually the lead member - to manage the enquiry from start to finish.
There are currently four projects that involve multiple members and this will lead to world firsts in renewables and the automotive industry, not to mention high profile contracts in aerospace, white goods and medical.
So why does it work and why hasn’t it been copied? Well we know others have tried, but failed and the reason behind this is we have found nine member companies who all have different competencies and do not compete.
Furthermore, we all share a commitment to world class manufacturing, promoting the UK overseas and innovation.
The latter has already seen us develop a brand for the Midlands Assembly Network, develop our own website, appoint a dedicated PR resource and attend more exhibitions due to being able to split the cost ten ways.
We’ve even embraced social media, with one of the companies securing a regular £25k tooling order.
Does it work? Well I’ll leave you with a few facts and figures from the last year to digest...
As a direct result of involvement in MAN, the Group has secured new sales worth more than £10m, helped to safeguard and create in excess of 200 jobs, repatriated £2m of contracts back to the UK and secured £6m of media coverage.
And finally, through our nine factories - employing in excess of 650 people – we export £28m of parts across the world…all manufactured in the UK.
Yeah I’d say it’s working and we’d be quite keen to add a tenth member to the group. So if you can add something different to MAN and want to benefit from the collaboration get in touch!
Gerry Dunne, Chairman of the Midlands Assembly Network
T: 0845 034 6676