Monday, January 6, 2014

News: Newburgh powers into 75th year

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Precision engineering company, Newburgh, has seen its turnover grow to over £11m as it moves into its 75th year.

Established by Isaac Middleton 75 years ago in the small Peak District village of Bradwell, Newburgh has grown into an internationally-renowned, award-winning business that specialises in manufacturing medium to large precision engineering components and assemblies.

In 1938 Isaac purchased the Newburgh Arms public house in Bradwell, where he lived, and ran Accumulator Services from his garage, making lead acid batteries which were delivered to customers from his BSA motorbike and sidecar.

Constant growth saw the site expand to include an iron foundry that then led to to Newburgh producing parts for the nuclear industry. The 1960s and 70s brought major expansion and growth in the company - Newburgh began to see real profits from its precision work, and expanded the Derbyshire factory several times.

Newburgh survived the harsh economic climate of the 1980s and under a new management team, the company created new customer-focused "cells" as the company focused on creating long-term partnerships, which developed a culture of complete transparency between the supplier and customer.

The cells include dedicated groups of resources operated by a team of multi-skilled individuals that are committed to producing a product or products for one customer.

After expanding as much as was possible on the rural Derbyshire site, and having experienced major problems recruiting, Newburgh needed to establish a new site. A purpose built, state-of-the-art factory at Templeborough in Rotherham was opened by HRH The Duke of York in 1995.

As well as investing in new premises, Newburgh invested in new staff and spearheaded a drive to develop its own apprentices. Led by Vince Middleton (then managing director and now chairman), other engineering company leaders were invited to join and devise a solution to their shared frustrations of not being able to find people people with the skills they required. The plan was to design a new kind of apprenticeship, based on the old style four-year programme. It was modernised and with the support of the action group, rolled out using Brinsworth Academy of Engineering as the training delivery provider.

Around 90% of Newburgh staff are apprentice-trained, including all management right up to the present managing director, David Greenan.

Newburgh's Bradwell site had supplied the power and defence markets since the company had formed, but the new site at Rotherham had focused almost entirely on the oil and gas industry, which was hit hard by the 2007 recession. Tough decisions had to be made which included redundancies - Newburgh needed to protect itself from any particular market decline and move into growing industries that were not as badly affected.

Now supplying a broader spread of sectors, the company has strategically balanced out the effects of the recession, enabling it to survive and grow.

Newburgh is a specialist contract manufacturer of component parts and assemblies for the nuclear, defence, oil and gas, petrochemical, aerospace and power generation industries. Contracts range from manufacturing engine components to work on the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) project. Newburgh was one of the first companies to secure Fit-4-Nuclear status, as accredited by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), underlining its credentials, culture, and experience to work within the new-build nuclear market and sub-sector.

Newburgh's strategy was a success and they doubled the size of its Rotherham factory in 2008. Today, the company employs 148 employees (20% of which are current apprentices) over the two facilities. Its turnover last year grew to over £11m - an impressive feat during a recession.

Newburgh Engineering website

Images: Newburgh Engineering

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