53FABER TECHNOLOGY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
BrianBancroft, managing
director
The factory
Faber Technology is a specialist plastic injection moulding
company providing high-quality and cost-effective
moulding solutions to a varied client base. The company is
based in Newtown, Mid Wales. Established as a partnership in
1997, it was incorporated in 2002. It is a family business with
a company ethos of providing a top-quality and flexible service
to all customers, viewing no job as too small. Brian Bancroft,
its managing director and Arburg-trained engineer with over
30 years of experience, has built the company up from a
2-machine mould shop to a busy 14-machine strong business,
operating 24/7.
Services
Through its many years of experience, Faber is able to offer outstanding services
and highly competitive moulding solutions to a wide range of business sectors,
including those related to IT components, automotive, electronics and the
environment. Faber has an enviable reputation for being able to accommodate
small batch runs and complex designs, and offer complex, specialist design
solutions. Utilising the latest Pro/ENGINEER CAD software, our company has an
in-house CAD-trained engineer who can help see a project from thoughts on paper
through to design and, ultimately, a manufactured product. We liaise directly and
daily with the tool makers on behalf of our customers. Our meticulous attention to
detail requires repetitive tool trials and fine-tuning of the mould, ensuring that the
end product is perfect with a near-zero margin of error.
FACTS ABOUT
FABER TECHNOLOGY
»Managing director:
BrianBancroft
»Established in 1997
»Based in Newtown, Mid Wales
»Services: Plastic injection
moulding
»No. of employees: 15
»Turnover: £1.3 million
»ISO 9000:2008, ISO 14001
»“No job is too small” policy
»www.fabertechnology.co.uk
Faber Technology
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
54 | FABER TECHNOLOGY
We have also been awarded
ISO 14001, demonstrating our
commitment to the environment. We
ensure that as much of our waste
plastic as possible can be reground
without compromising its quality.
Moreover, in 2003 we were awarded
ISO 9000:2008, and with regular
internal audits we ensure that the
rigorous quality control routines that
these standards require areupheld.
Faber also has a team of assembly
workers with the requisite tools and
expertise to assemble products into
their finished form. We have the
machines and knowledge to produce
twin shot moulded parts, whereby the
finished part is made of two forms of
plastic moulded into the final product.
This has enabled us to manufacture
a more diverse range of products for
oursuppliers.
My extensive experience has enabled
the company to develop a unique over-
moulding service, whereby plastic is
moulded over a separate component.
For example, one of our clients asked
us to come up with a solution for
encapsulating an impeller shaft with
magnets and rings. We successfully
achieved the required end result with
a 0.4mm margin of error, and now
manufacture these 24/7 – just one of
our many success stories.
What makes our business
model successful?
It’s not immediately clear how a small
company such as ours could survive
in the current climate, where so much
manufacturing is moving overseas. The
short answer is that we work tirelessly
and operate some basic but effective
management methods:
Hands-on management team – Idiscuss
the technical requirements directly
with the customer; with my technical
expertise I ensure the machines are
running with optimum efficiency while
keeping a constant eye on quality.
Lean overheads – Our staff are
flexible and are able to cover different
processes in the business. Our office
team consists of Sue (finance director),
Christine (office manager) and Hannah
(office administrator). Sue is part-time
but is also able to work from home
remotely and cover for Christine.
Hannah will operate machines at
weekends or help out in dispatch too.
A happy working environment – We
have a very low staff turnover. The
average length of service for the current
team is 9.5 years. Every Thursday the
company provides a free lunch from a
local sandwich bar. We accommodate
a flexible working environment,
working around school holidays and
school hours for those who have
responsibilities for children at school.
In return a responsible, committed
and punctual approach to work is the
minimum we expect from our staff.
Additionally, our wages are above
average for our area, and we reward
pay rises annually in line with inflation
and with recognition of contribution to
the business.
Operating these basic principles of
management has resulted in a work
force that is reliable and willing to work
extra hours at weekends or evenings
when required. We are able, therefore,
The mould shop
New machine press
ready to go
All very
positive,
service is
excellent
55FABER TECHNOLOGY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
to offer our customers complete
flexibility. We can continually adapt
our production schedules to meet
the constantly changing demands of
our customers. If they bring orders
forward, we shuffle things around
and put the hours in to meet the new
delivery date. Never a problem.
We welcome short runs too. If a client
requires just a few items, it’s not a
problem; we can accommodate it.
Managing cash
Investment – We regularly invest in
top-of-the-range injection moulding
machines, keeping our company in line
with the latest machine technology. We
don’t over-invest in systems that may
provide information overload; rather we
rely on off-the-shelf software that does
the job, backed up by in-house designed
systems and direct communication
with all members of staff.
No overly voracious shareholders – The
shareholders of the company are the
management team and we ensure that
remuneration is realistic and comes
second to investment.
Monitor cash on a daily basis – Our FD,
Sue, keeps an assiduously close eye on
the bank balance and ensures we live
within our means.
The challenges we face
Over the past five years there have
been challenges as a result of many
things. One example is increased
energy prices (35 per cent over
the last five years). Environmental
tariffs, too, are burdensome for our
sector. Another example is the extra
2 per cent cost regarding pension
costs, which has caused financial
and administrative difficulties. On
top of this, national minimum wage
changes have increased over and
above inflation. Finally, council taxes
are always on the rise, imposing yet
further costs.
All these rising costs have been
absorbed by us rather than passed on
to our customers. We have to remain
competitive so that our customers
choose us rather than overseas
suppliers. However, we will have to
react to these increased costs soon in
order to remain profitable.
Government policies that
helpus
Over the past two years we have
invested time and money in
developing our own products that
have been sold through Frenzee Ltd.
With the research and development
rebates we have been able to reduce
our corporation tax bill significantly,
which has helped us reinvest in
new machines and replacement
machineaccessories.
In any case, whatever comes our
way, we will survive. Optimism is
the prevailing sentiment at Faber
Technology.
Attention to detail right
through to despatch
Most of the team
I’ve worked with
Faber for a
number of years
now: they are a
UK moulder that
can compete
with low cost
sourcing options
from around the
world. We must
always take into
account total cost
when sourcing
products and
carbon footprint