One of the UK’s longest established providers of engineering services and supplies is targeting further growth after it pressed the button on a £300,000 investment drive.
James Lister and Sons, which after 146 years is still in family ownership, is in the process of installing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system across its seven sites and has just taken delivery of a new CNC bending machine to support a 20% rise in its tube manipulation division.
The company has also agreed to become the 10th member of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), a unique collective of sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency that works together to win orders and share best practice.
Bosses at the firm believe strength in numbers and championing UK industry will help it overcome the current Covid-19 uncertainty and provide the foundations for future expansion following Brexit.
“We are very proud of our British heritage and this was a key driver in us targeting involvement in the MAN Group and we see membership potentially opening up £1m of new opportunities in the first twelve months,” explained Peter Davies, Chief Executive at Lister.
“A lot of members already use us for their engineering supplies and, now we are part of the collective, we will look at ways where our expertise in fluid power and tube manipulation can add real value to MAN. There’s a number of joint projects we’ve already got our eye on.”
He continued: “I’m also keen to learn from the experiences and knowledge of nine other Managing Directors in how we can make our business even better, whether that is sharing apprentices, entering new markets or looking at imaginative ways where we can save money on energy.”
Lister employs nearly 150 people across its HQ in Smethwick and six other sites in the West Midlands and South Wales and is best known for its fluid power business and engineering consumables division.
This includes supplying hand tools, cutting tools and lubricants, workwear, hygiene products, hydraulic/pneumatic components and assemblies and delivering specialist capabilities like laser etching, 3D printing and the manufacture of high-pressure valves and touring car air jacks.
The biggest growth area in 2020 promises to be its tube manipulation business, with the company able to bend tube in sizes ranging from 4mm up to 75mm and in metals such as steel, copper and aluminium.
Recent investment in a new Unison Breeze machine also gives it ‘left and right hand’ capacity to make components that can’t be produced via traditional bending.
“We’re setting our sights on growing turnover to £17m, which will represent a good performance with the current global uncertainty,” continued Peter, who is joined in the management team by Tim and Mike Cotterill, the great great grandchildren of the founder.
“Investing in making us more efficient and diversifying our manufacturing operations, combined with membership of MAN, will deliver the growth and hopefully lay the foundation for more ambitious expansion plans once we have some global stability.”
Adam Cunningham, Chairman of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, concluded: “Lister is a great addition to the group and we are all excited to be able to offer industry-leading tube manipulation.
“Peter and his team are also passionate about developing the engineers of the future and promoting UK manufacturing, two things at the heart of the MAN philosophy.”
MAN, which enjoys more than £150m sales and employs over 1600 people, can offer every engineering discipline imaginable, including aluminium castings, automation and control systems, forging, plastic injection moulding, PCB development, precision machining, high-volume pressing, tube manipulation and welded assemblies.
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