BRIGHTON, England Remploy Electronics and pump manufacturers Grundfos, are to set up a manufacturing partnership which will improve efficiency and create jobs. Under the agreement, Remploy is to operate an independent, self-contained production unit at Grundfos’ Leighton Buzzard facility where it will make small to medium volume quantities of specialist pump systems.
Recruitment for the Remploy production unit at Grundfos begins this week and Leighton Buzzard is planned to start operation at the end of June 2005.
The two organisations have already been working on a collaboration centred on Remploy’s Medway site. An initial conventional contract manufacturing arrangement was extended to make Remploy responsible for the procurement of parts, testing and shipment of finished products direct to Grundfos customers. This provided Grundfos with a flexible manufacturing resource for its specialist, lower volume items and allowed the company to make more efficient use of its highly skilled development engineering team. These engineers could now hand off new products once they were easily ‘repeatable’ and move on to the design and development of other projects.
Grundfos and Remploy identified logistics as the key area of opportunity for enhancing the existing process as material had to be shipped between the two sites and day-to-day communication between the teams was necessarily remote. In order to address this issue, it was decided to create a Remploy unit within the Grundfos Leighton Buzzard site that is dedicated solely to Grundfos. The resulting reduction in both supply chain and communication channel lengths will cut transportation costs while improving communication between design and production teams.
With operations in over 50 countries, including an automated plant in Sunderland, Grundfos is a major manufacturer of pumping products and produces approximately 10 million units annually. But the company also addresses the low volume, specialist application sector, designing products at its Leighton Buzzard facility. These designs are intended to seed the market and many move into higher volumes. It is here that the Remploy team will provide an essential link between a handful of bespoke crafted products and the high volume, fully automated runs of Grundfos’ main factories.
Gerald Young, the Local Remploy Manager at the Medway site, who is directly responsible for the new undertaking, said, “This agreement breaks new ground and offers Remploy a significant business opportunity that could expand to create further jobs.”