Covid-19: Latest Covid-19 statements and covid secure documentation

Case Study: Needham Group

“We’ve always had demand in this field but could only agree to a limited number of builds. These restrictions have been lifted and we are very excited to make the most of what could be a £multi-million opportunity.”

DAVID NEEDHAM, CHAIRMAN OF NEEDHAM GROUP

Laser Guided Expansion

Turning to the strategic manufacturing outsourcing expertise of PP Control & Automation could prove to be a pivotal decision for Needham Group as it aims to turn a £30m expansion blueprint into reality.

There are exciting expansion plans brewing at Needham Group in Whitchurch, one of the UK’s leading family-run technology companies.

The management team has unveiled a blueprint that will see it more than treble revenues to £30m between now and 2025, with the possibility of creating 30 new jobs in the process.

Founded by Roger Needham in 1962, the firm is looking to achieve this ambitious target by boosting export activity across its three divisions, increased investment in marketing, extending distribution networks and developing capacity to take on more bespoke projects.

Whilst its traditional coding and ink technology businesses will play an important role, it is laser marking – the newest addition to the portfolio – that is offering the fastest route to growth and the biggest global potential.

The scenario

Needham Group first ventured into manufacturing laser marking machines in 2019 and has spent the last two years fine tuning its existing range of products, which spans N-Lase Desktop, Desktop Pro, Benchtop, Handheld, Workstation and Integrated Solutions.

This is supplemented by a custom project offer, where the R&D and engineering teams will work with clients to develop new innovative uses for laser technology. It is widely accepted that this department is being hamstrung due to a lack of capacity, so the decision was taken to look for an outsourcing partner who could build its standard range.

The Group’s Head of Operations had worked with PP Control & Automation at a previous company and had seen for herself the multitude of benefits the right ‘choice’ could deliver.

A meeting between the two businesses was quickly set up and several visits to PP C&A’s world class manufacturing facility in Cheslyn Hay soon followed, with a project team set up to build the desktop laser machine from a kit of supplied parts

.

Needham Group » IMG 0557 » PP Control & Automation

The PP C&A solution

It didn’t take long for the strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialist to prove it could complete the build to the required standard.

This gave engineers at Needham Group the confidence to advance discussions around introducing low volume production – a decision that will allow it to free-up capacity at its Whitchurch base and also give it more surplus manufacturing capability to support the anticipated rise in laser sales from £3m to £10m over the next three years.

Aled Ellis, Managing Director, picked up the story: “Our ‘USP’ is not in building the machines, but in developing the innovative uses and applications for laser technology – that’s where we come into our own and where we anticipate the real growth to come from.

“Once PP C&A proved they could build the prototype machine successfully, it made complete sense to look at a more strategic arrangement, first starting with the Desktop and Desktop Pro models and then, over time, moving on to the rest of our range.

“We have handed over the complete assembly process, including management of the supply chain.”

PP Control & Automation has a dedicated manufacturing cell in place that will increase as volumes build.

This currently boasts four staff supporting the build, plus a wider support team covering the shared functions of Engineering, Supply Chain and Customer Services.

“The initial volumes will be between 8 to 10 laser systems per month, rising to 20 if initial projections are realised,”

explained Tony Hague, CEO of PP C&A.

“It’s all about making sure we fine tune the build and explore ways in which we can standardise processes to make assembly and customisation slightly easier than it is at the moment.”

He went on to add: “The longer-term picture is that we will need to be in a position to build over 300 laser marking machines every year, something we can comfortably do at our site in the West Midlands.”

The results

A few weeks into low volume production and the strategic partnership is already reaping dividends, with lead times halved to just two weeks from the bill of materials arriving in Cheslyn Hay.

Quality guidelines have been surpassed and a number of efficiency improvements have been identified that could speed assembly up even further or give Needham Group designers the opportunity to modify standard models to encompass additional features.

David Needham, Chairman of Needham Group, continued: “PP C&A’s technical knowledge and electrical/mechanical build capabilities are second to none and it has got to grips with our laser technology quicker than we originally envisaged.

“We have seen the early signs of a partnership that could deliver us 300-strong volumes every year and this gives us a fantastic platform to aggressively market and sell our products in the UK and, importantly, increase our export activity through a number of key distributors.

“The other benefit of outsourcing the standard model build is that we have more than trebled capacity in our special projects team, giving our R&D experts and engineers the chance to take on more custom machines.

.

“We’ve always had demand in this field but could only agree to a limited number of builds. These restrictions have been lifted and we are very excited to make the most of what could be a £multi-million opportunity.”

Tony Hague concluded:

“Our aim is to become a true partner in every sense of the word and to play an important role in Needham Group achieving its £30m blueprint, delivering capacity, efficiency and, as the relationship develops, innovation in design.

“In addition to the production build, we have also introduced Aled, David and their team to the marketing and PR companies we use – getting the firm’s name and technology out to the right people will make a massive difference.”


Explore all case studies

Hedinn

PP Control & Automation and Hedinn are now engaged in their 13th project together and the largest yet, the construction of a new plant for Sildarvinnslan.

Needham Group » Hedinn logo 02 mini cs » PP Control & Automation

Needham Group (Interactive Case Study)

Play an interactive video with hotpoints that delve into the story behind the manufacturing partnership with Needham Group and the assembly of its N-Lase range of products.

Needham Group » NTG logo design 2 01 mini » PP Control & Automation

Winbro Group Technologies

A strategic manufacturing outsourcing partnership – built on trust, integrity and maximising each other’s production expertise – is celebrating ten years together with the launch of the world’s most productive EDM drilling machine.

Needham Group » winbro group technologies vector logo » PP Control & Automation

Collected customer case studies (2021)

This collection of case studies examines some of the recent strategic outsourcing partnerships delivering against several business pains for machine builders and OEMs, and how those partners are benefiting from the PP C&A approach.

Needham Group

Turning to the strategic manufacturing outsourcing expertise of PP Control & Automation could prove to be a pivotal decision for Needham Group as it aims to turn a £30m expansion blueprint into reality.

Needham Group » NTG logo design 2 01 mini » PP Control & Automation

Inventor-e (iVendScale/iBinScale)

Inventor-e is accelerating disruption of inventory management with the help of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, a unique collective of sub-contract manufacturers and a world class engineering design consultancy.

Needham Group » Inventor e logo mini cs » PP Control & Automation

Jenton Group

A new manufacturing partnership between PP Control & Automation and Jenton Group has created the capacity to build new UV technology in volumes that could help protect us from Covid-19 in indoor spaces.

Needham Group » 4 by 6 Jenton Logo mini » PP Control & Automation

Mazak UK

As the years have gone by, the relationship between the two businesses has become more interlinked, with PP C&A increasingly being asked to be involved in the design stage of new machine builds.

Needham Group » mazak » PP Control & Automation

Ishida (Video Case Study)

Watch how Ishida realised their growth potential by making outsourcing part of their manufacturing strategy.

Needham Group » ishida cs mini logo » PP Control & Automation

Collected publications & case studies (2019-2020)

PP Control & Automation has had the opportunity to publish a variety of articles in the UK’s leading journals for the manufacturing industries.


Key PP C&A resources

Consult with the experts in strategic outsourcing

    Realise your growth potential by making outsourcing part of your manufacturing strategy.


    At PP C&A, we never assume that a solution for one customer will work for another, because every customer is unique. That is why we will never try to simply sell you an ‘off the shelf solution’.


    We believe in meeting you, listening and understanding your needs first. If you are considering outsourcing for the first time or you wish to review your current outsourcing strategies, we would welcome the opportunity for discussion





    1. Do you outsource?

    If yes
    Do you outsource to multiple suppliers?

    2. Are you considering outsourcing or considering changing supplier?
    3. Are you experiencing barriers to growth?


    4. Would you like to arrange a consultation (call or visit) with us?
    5. Would you like to receive more information on strategic outsourcing?
    6. If you have a more specific enquiry, question or pain point, please let us know: