British exporter calls manufacturers to pull together & stop losing work

Simon Woods, managing director of TecQuipment, a specialist manufacturer of educational equipment, says his firm has a good order book but urgently needs help.
His company is working at full capacity, with some of his 67 employees working shifts and overtime to meet demand.
But he says his company needs more help with components and, despite a history of engineering and manufacturing in the area, a search for assistance has not been successful.
Now he wants manufacturers to band together and co-operate for all their benefit, rather than lose orders and work to foreign firms.
TecQuipment makes 700 different products, ranging from simple mechanisms to supersonic wind tunnels, gas turbines and power system simulators all used in engineering education.
These products range from the type of equipment used by A-level physics students to that used by engineering under and post-graduates at universities in the UK and across the world.
The company sells to around 70 countries, had its highest ever number of export orders in June made up from 65 different customers. In the last four months alone it has won orders worth £1.5m from 34 different countries following an investment in new product development.
Woods says that despite they are working with all hands at the pump TecQuipment needs additional machining capacity, particularly in traditional milling and turning. He has even supplied materials to contractors for working on to make the sub-contract task easier.
“If we can’t supply these orders on time we risk losing future business to overseas competitors,” he said.
“Finding quality sub-contractors to supply precision small batch turned and milled components has proved extremely difficult.
“I want to keep the work in the UK and as locally as possible,” he said, “but I can understand why so much work goes overseas.”
Woods is also the chairman of the enterprise agency the Erewash Partnership and believes manufacturing is important to regenerate both the local economy and also the UK in general.
Woods is so keen to encourage local manufacturers to join the Erewash Partnership which is supported by more than 400 businesses – many of them in the service industries – so that sharing work locally, particularly among Partnership associates, could be easier.
“If we can have small firms working together and supporting each other we can have a brighter future for ourselves and our employees,” Woods added.
“I just wish that there were similar partnerships up and down the country” Woods concluded
Ian Viles, chief executive of the Erewash Partnership, said: “I am very supportive of Simon Woods initiative to source products and services locally and would encourage local engineering and manufacturing businesses to register their details with the Partnership if they are based in and around Derbyshire, or to seek out or create similar local partnerships up and down the country”.