Blackman & White, which employs 28 people at a state-of-the-art factory in Essex, grew 10% in 2018 after a surge of orders from UK and overseas customers involved in the aerospace, automotive, graphics, marine and print sectors.
‘Orion’, an entry-level ‘low cost’ CNC flatbed cutting machine (pictured) with quick and accurate low ply cutting/plotting system, was the star performer, outperforming other ranges in just seven months.
The company is now targeting greater production control, operational efficiencies and the opportunity to scale after it successfully commissioned a new Material Resource Planning system thanks to the support of the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP).
“Our cutting machines are easily identifiable for their robust and reliable build quality, which helps our clients quickly deliver a return on investment,” said Eiko White, Finance and Operations Director at Blackman & White.
“Innovation is another core theme for the company and this has helped us introduce the automated ‘Genesis-V multi-tool Router, Laser and Knife’ range into the marketplace and this has given us a real boost in sales. Interest has come from large throughput signage through to composite manufacturers, who benefit from high percentage material efficiency, as well as high accuracy and speed.
“There’s lots of opportunities for us to grow the business, both at home and abroad. However, to do this we needed to better understand our manufacturing operations and how we could put in place improved platforms and systems that would allow us to develop new products and scale-up quickly.”
She continued: “This is when we turned to the Manufacturing Growth Programme to provide a strategic review of our company and then external assistance to target key areas of improvement that will deliver a host of tangible benefits.”
Sarah Goodwin, MGP Manufacturing Growth Manager, added her support: “Blackman & White is a market leader in what it does, but every specialist sometimes needs a little help to take a holistic view of processes and material planning.
“This is exactly what we did, providing a clearly defined action plan that will eventually lead to the installation of a new MRP system that will give it real time data and a host of operational efficiency improvements.
“2019 is a massive year for the company and, with these foundations in place, we expect it to build on strong sales growth by securing new business in countries, such as Hungary, Romania, the Philippines and the US.”