Solihull-based Inventor-e, which has created ten new jobs over the past 12 months, has joined forces with PP Control & Automation to outsource the build of SmartStores Secure, an access-controlled cabinet that uses the SmartStores app for access and to issue, return and restock product.
A world class manufacturing cell has been created at the latter’s state-of-the-art factory in Cheslyn-Hay and has helped increase capacity to cope with new orders from high profile clients, such as Babcock International and Rexel.
The move has also been responsible for reducing lead times by 20%, whilst PP C&A’s design engineers have worked with Inventor-e specialists to explore new configurations to its systems.
“Strategic outsourcing with PP Control & Automation is allowing us to globally scale our business with a trusted partner, without the significant direct cost of setting up our own manufacturing facilities,” explained Andy Ingram, sales director at Inventor-E.
“The relationship has provided us with a lot of food for thought on future builds and we have already used its design and engineering expertise to improve our solutions and reduce costs.”
Inventor-e’s USP is through its ability to innovate industrial vending and, after significant discussions, it was decided to identify a strategic manufacturing partner that could manage the build of the systems.
An initial meeting with PP Control & Automation (PP C&A) originally took place back in 2013, but at that time, the type and style of the opportunity was not a good fit for either party. However, all lines of communication remained open and in 2018, further dialogue took place and a new partnership was duly formed.
In just a short space of time, strategic outsourcing has proven that it can offer the Solihull business a cost-effective way of building its growing range of point-of-use systems quickly, giving it peace of mind that rapid scale-up can be achieved.
This confidence has come at a very opportune moment for Inventor-e, who has completed an exclusive agreement with a global distributor on its current product range for industrial sectors (excluding aerospace and healthcare).
The volumes for this contract could be game-changing for the business and would not be possible to achieve without a strategic manufacturing partner in place to support with the ramp-up.
“This is an ideal example of how important ‘outsourcing’ can be for technology disruptors looking to scale-up quickly. Inventor-e is continually developing new solutions for point-of-use vending and that’s what it needs to do to concentrate on staying at the forefront of the market,” continued Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation.
“The company wants a manufacturing partner who can not only grow with it, but also contribute its own production knowledge to develop solutions that will improve the end service for the customer - something we have a proven track record of doing.
“It is a very exciting time for Inventor-e and we are looking forward to exploring the new opportunity and the introduction of new systems, including iVendScale.”
A meeting has already taken place at PP C&A’s state-of-the-art production facility and a number of initial actions have been agreed to look at strengthening the supply chain and sourcing new suppliers that can meet production volumes and are UL compliant.
A certification specialist has also been introduced to complete a full evaluation and design review to the relevant North American standard (UL62368).
Whilst the relationship between the three companies is at an early stage, there have already been discussions about PP C&A building products both in the UK and North America in order to support market demands.