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Consolidation at AWS plans ahead for growth

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AWS Group – an independent electronic manufacturing solutions (EMS) provider – has recently consolidated its two Staffordshire operations at its Newcastle under Lyme site, and in the process, has created a new facility designed for growth incorporating a centre of excellence for the production of electronic assemblies for a range of sectors  including military and aerospace.

AWS claims always to have focussed on customer service, resulting in a loyal customer base. However, in order to plan for future growth within the group as a whole and at Newcastle, the company needed to reorganise. It became clear to the project team, including operations site director Mike Allen, Jamie Maughan, operations site director at AWS Cemgraft, and Mike Berridge, group director of business improvement, that this was a management challenge as well as a capacity challenge.

The plan had several objectives:
• Consolidation of two sites into one;
• Introduction of more control to both management and systems
• Removal of waste in all processes leading to cost reductions in direct and overheads.
• Lead time reductions

The program also established a Centre of Excellence for Aerospace & Defence, rolling out the company's SC21 manufacturing model across the site and supplementing AS9100 approval with NADCAP accreditation.

Explains Mike Berridge: "We have built on the success of the Silver Award we received from the SBAC last year for our wiring and cable section, and we are using the SC21 manufacturing model, plus a further management commitment model as the tools for change across the whole site. The site consolidation was a trigger for a wholesale change programme."

CEO Paul Deehan (pictured) adds: "We constantly review the horizon so we can plan ahead for any fall or increase in demand. We are fortunate that we have a wide customer base operating in several sectors that  have performed well during the recession – such as Mil/Aero, mass transport, medical and oil and gas exploration – where the products and services are often complex using leading edge technologies. We have a clear strategic plan to grow our turnover through organic and acquisitive means , and the work done by the teams at Newcastle-under-Lyme and Newbury (AWS Cemgraft) means we have effectively developed the 'AWS way' of working. Our future development, including more acquisitions, will follow this model."

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