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Specialist manufacturer invests for growth

By James Pugh | Ludlow | Business | Published:

A family-owned manufacturing business in Ludlow has expanded its base so that it can improve on meeting customer demand and create new jobs.

Catherine Bray, manufacturing growth manager, Andy Styles, of Heelman, and Caroline Cattle, MBIG programme manager

Heelman, a specialist CNC machine shop that focuses on small and medium batch manufacturing for customers across the automotive, aerospace and pneumatic fittings sectors, has expanded in to a fourth adjoining unit on Ludlow Business Park thanks to a grant worth just under £10,000.

Part of the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the scheme is intended to support businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin that need to finance extensions, renovations or reconfigurations of commercial premises.

For Heelman, it has meant that physical expansion can be achieved without a move to new premises.

Andy Styles, general manager, said: “Increasing demand from both existing and new customers meant that we needed to review and improve how we managed our production so that we could manage this increased workload.

“Whilst a move to another, larger, unit on the business park was a consideration, this would have entailed moving all the machinery, as well as carrying out reparations to the existing units that we’d vacate and simply that was not financially viable. When we found out, therefore, about the MBIG programme, it quickly became apparent that it could provide a way for us to realise our growth potential.”

Andy and the team had already secured £2,625 worth of funding from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) to design and support the implementation of a new production control software solution and it was Catherine Bray, manufacturing growth manager, who introduced them to the MBIG team.

Andy added: “When Catherine introduced us to Caroline Cattle at MBIG, our vision for growth soon became a reality.

“I’m so glad we pursued this as it makes a big difference to us as a company. The new, additional, unit is allowing us to consolidate all non-production functions in to a single space and leave room for additional pieces of equipment that will enable us to improve our overall service to new and existing customers alike.

“The high level of hands-on support provided by the grants team was very welcome and there was always someone available to ask questions to. I’d urge anyone who has considered applying to not hold back as it’s a really straightforward process.”

Heelman’s growth is also expected to lead to a potential 10 per cent increase in turnover.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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