The MAN Group is a network of ten West Midlands manufacturing companies that work together to deliver complete manufacturing and engineering solutions for customers in every aspect of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering. The collective, which employs over 650 people and records combined sales in excess of £65 million, provides access to precision pressings, castings, design, etching, injection moulding, wiring looms, toolmaking, PCB assembly, and electrical control systems. Member firms include Advanced Chemical Etching, Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, Muller Engineering, Grove Design, Mec Com, PP Electrical Systems, and SMT Developments.
The MAN Group invited WMG to collaborate in April, 2014 and we began exploring ways that the collective could be more efficient and effective through this new relationship.
We undertook Competence Profiling with each business to identify capabilities that could be extended to new market sectors. A number of key priorities were also identified including skills development, access to finance and access to new technology. PP Electrical Systems and Mec Com benefitted from some specialist internships to work on specific projects in digital marketing and operations management. SMT Developments, a MAN group member with specialisms in PCB prototyping and manufacture worked with WMG’s Dr Ben Wood on a “Growing Places” grant application to facilitate the expansion of their business through funding from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
A number of managers from other MAN Group companies registered on WMG’s Innovation Business Leadership programme, a one year postgraduate course directed primarily at fast moving SMEs who rely on innovation to gain competitive advantage.
The various projects that the MAN Group members worked on with us led to a longer term collaborative innovation plan which will lead to further sales and jobs within the group. To date the group has seen an increase in turnover of £1 million as a result of the collaboration and they plan to create ten new jobs.
Through the support that Dr Wood provided for the completion of the ‘Growing Places’ application form, SMT Developments were successful in securing a grant of £230,000, which allowed them to purchase their £1 million premises on the Heathcote Industrial Estate in Warwick and invest in new machinery.
We have very big ambitions for the future, with my company alone expecting to double turnover by 2015. Collaborating with an academic department like WMG gives us the ability to access the very latest technology and capability early on, so we can be first to market with new products and services.
Tony Hague, Chairman, MAN Group