Reshoring success brings record deal home to HT Brigham

A Coleshill-based metal pressworker is celebrating after landing one of the biggest contracts in its 68-year history.

HT Brigham, which employs 54 people at its Station Road factory, has re-engineered a bearing support bracket for a tier 1 automotive supplier in the US and will now be manufacturing 380,000 precision pressings every year.

Supported by the Business Growth Service’s Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the company estimates the contract will be worth £1.2m and is one of the first reshoring projects it has won in recent years.

“The client was having a few issues with a troublesome part, which at the time was being cast,” commented Barry Smith, Managing Director.

“We like a challenge and offered to use our design engineers to look at alternative processes. After six months, we put together a prototype bearing support bracket made by pressing and stamping, saving up to 60% on the price of the part whilst offering the same level of performance.”

He continued: “The component, which is being produced on our new 400 tonne Chinfong press from Worcester Presses, will be going into the Chrysler range of vehicles and has immediately created 7 new jobs…4 of those are young apprentices in the engineering department.”

HT Brigham, which supplies the automotive, construction and medical sectors, believes support provided by MAS was crucial to it effectively supplying the order to America.

Bosses at the firm have been working with Business Growth Manager Maxine Chapman on implementing a number of continuous improvement projects designed to increase workflow, increase efficiency and monitor quality levels.

KPIs, 5S and cross functional teams have been introduced to drive through these objectives and the company has already seen better product control and capacity planning, reduced changeover and a more structured approach to problem solving.

“There is little doubt that MAS has made us work smarter and this has helped us become more competitive,” continued Barry.

“It gave us the capacity to free up people to look at this work, whilst maintaining production levels for all our existing clients.

He went on to add: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to use British design and engineering excellence to come up with a solution for a troublesome part. The fact we’ve brought production back into the UK is even better!”

Business Growth Manager Maxine Chapman added her support: “One of our roles is to help companies identify and overcome any barriers to growth and we’re already enjoying success with HT Brigham.

“By making it more efficient, we have given it the platform to not only safeguard existing contracts, but actually go after new opportunities…something it has already started to do with the reshoring wins.”

HT Brigham is expecting turnover to increase by 30% in 2015, with sales estimated to reach £5.4m.

Nearly 70% of this is exported all over the world to countries, including Czech Republic, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico and Slovakia.

Now part of the Government’s Business Growth Service, MAS provides growing manufacturers in England with access to specialist support and guidance in helping them improve and grow.

It has a team of expert advisors on the ground working with management teams to plan long-term strategies, improve processes, bring new products to market and develop their supply chains.

MAS is joined in the Business Growth Service by GrowthAccelerator, Intellectual Property (IP) Audits and Design Council Design Mentoring.