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World leading aerospace business urges Yorkshire manufacturers to win export through productivity improvement

Some of the Produmax team at work

Shipley-based precision engineering company, Produmax, which is a global expert in flight control components and assemblies, will be giving the region’s manufacturers an insight into its transformation into to a £8.5m international business, employing a 75-strong team and with exports now accounting for 70% of turnover.

The award-winning manufacturer, which has embraced a ‘one team’ culture and incorporated state-of-the-art automation into its production facilities, will host the next ExportExchange ‘Live’ event which is being organised in association with Make UK. More than 50 manufacturers that are planning to start or grow their export activities are expected to attend the event on Tuesday 17th September which will include a tour of Produmax’s purpose-built, high tech factory.

Working in partnership with some of the most prestigious aerospace manufacturers worldwide including Boeing and Bombadier, Produmax produces high quality machined components and assemblies. The company’s global success follows an MBO in 1998 led by current managing director Jeremy Ridyard – at the time, Produmax had a £3m turnover, employed just 12 people and had no export contracts.

Over the last five years, the company has undergone a government-backed £1.2m SiG (Sharing in Growth) transformation programme, helping it to increase productivity, improve performance and reduce downtime.

Produmax recently opened an additional £3.1m facility at its Baildon headquarters to accommodate its increased workload and allow for further expansion. The company now exports its products to the Philippines, Morocco, Japan, Canada and North America as well as parts of Europe.

“Soon after our MBO, we won a major contract from China and it was this export opportunity which drove our mission to improve productivity,” explains Mandy Ridyard, finance director. “Since then, Produmax has undergone a huge transformation which not only has technology at its core, but also culture – it is our world class employee engagement which has been vital to us becoming competitive internationally.

“Our vision is for every member of our team to be an ‘engineering superhero’, solving problems, gaining skills and working more efficiently. By 2020, we aim to have a £10m-plus turnover and all our colleagues understand the valuable part they play in helping us to achieve our ambition.”

The event will also include presentations by Mike Maddock, managing director of Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) Ltd and visiting professor to The University of Sheffield, and Keith Jackson, CEO of Brandon Medical, as well as a panel discussion. Aimed at manufacturers in the Leeds City Region, the event will include the latest information from a number of DIT and LCR export support organisations who will be on hand to offer advice.

June Smith, regional director (North) for Make UK, adds: “We’re hoping that hearing the Produmax success story and seeing its world class facilities will inspire other manufacturers in the region to embark on their own export journey. It is crucial that the industry invests in improving productivity, both by increasing automation and also by implementing the latest efficiency processes – even a small step can have a significant impact. It tends to be the healthiest, fastest growing businesses which are successfully exporting and it is these companies which have also improved their productivity.”

Businesses interested in attending the free event, which runs from 9.30am to 12.30pm (seminar from 10.am to 11.00am) on Tuesday 17 September at Produmax in Baildon, Shipley, should register via the ExportExchange website.

The ExportExchange initiative, which launched in 2017 to bring together experts in overseas trade within firms from the Leeds City Region, has helped share exporting knowledge with many growing exporters who have registered to receive advice from experienced Yorkshire mentors or ‘patrons’.

The ExportExchange programme is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Department for International Trade (DIT), and a number of private sector export specialists.