Torkington Engineers

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Torkington Engineers is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Nathan Bluer, managing director
Our premises, Trafford
Park, Manchester
Founded in 1949, Torkington Engineers is a market-leading
precision engineering company that produces high-
quality machined parts and equipment for the oil and
gas, nuclear, chemical, petrochemical, power generation and
process industries. Torkington Engineers are proud to have
an unrivalled reputation for their quality, customer service
and on-time delivery. From their modern, fully equipped CNC
and conventional machine shop in the northwest of England,
their dedicated team of highly skilled engineers specialise in
the precision machining of single parts and batch orders in all
metallic and non-metallic materials, including the entire range
of exotic nickel and heat-resistant alloys. Nathan Bluer, their
managing director, offers in the following Review article a more
comprehensive overview of the company and its success.
What, where and how
For the lay person, it’s worth explaining who we are and what we do. We
manufacture precision engineered parts and equipment that are used in a variety of
industrial applications and sectors – these parts, in the case of the oil and gas pumping
sector for example, are supplied to our many clients, the pump OEMs, who themselves
supply to the main operating platforms, both in the North Sea and worldwide. Of
course, our business is not limited to the oil and gas sector or the pumping sector,
and we have an unrivalled reputation built up over many decades for making parts
and equipment for a whole array of industrial applications across the UK.
»Managing director:
»Established in 1949
»Based in Trafford Park,
»Services: Precision engineering
»No. of employees: 34
»Family business – 3rd generation
Torkington Engineers Ltd
Highlighting best practice
We’re quite unusual as a manufacturer
in that we don’t have our own product;
instead we make parts and equipment
for our extensive client-base across
many leading sectors. We are in many
cases our clients’ preferred supplier for
subcontract machining, and by offering
our clients a long-term and sustainable
precision engineering service, we’re
able to allow them to concentrate on
their own key business objectives.
Central to our business success
is our long-term commitment to
the training and development of
the very best youth talent. Our
apprenticeship training programme
has over the past 25 years produced
many of our key valued employees,
allowing our business to evolve
organically, while maintaining our
all-importantbusinessDNA. Addedto
this, we’ve invested in the very latest
versatile CNC (computer numerical
control) machine technology,
modern and robust systems and
procedures and a formal IMS
(integrated management system).
With certification to ISO 9001:2015
and ISO 14001:2015 and BS OHSAS
18001:2007 standards, our formula
has worked, providing our clients
across all sectors with peace of
mind as they increasingly rely on our
Changes in the marketplace
So long as our commitment to
high-quality manufacturing remains
at the fore in our business, our
reputation will continue to grow and
our relationships within the industry
will become stronger. Being able to
expand our business while maintaining
exceptional standards in quality is a
challenge we continue to overcome.
This, together with increased
productivity by the use of technology
and advances in skills-sets within
the business, means the market will
increasingly be open to us.
This is not to say, however, that
marketing and business development
is not an activity we need to engage
in. On the contrary, business
development is a critical function of
the business. Relationship building is
work that’s never completed, but we
are proud of the work we’ve done and
continue to do in this area, something
our clients also value.
Our opportunities for business
development have increased
particularly over the past five to ten
years. This is because many clients,
in an array of sectors, either reduce
or remove their in-house machining
functions, instead engaging with
ourselves, enabling them to reduce
costs and procure higher-quality parts
and equipment through us.
CNC precision turning –
a speciality
Measurement accuracy
By offering our
clients a long-
term and
service, they can
concentrate on
their key business
Clients are increasingly shying away
from sourcing machined parts
and equipment from low-cost and
emerging economies, particularly
for their high-quality requirements,
and there’s certainly a return to UK
sourcing of precision machining
services (which we’re very pleased to
support). Our clients seem to want
to “bring it back home”, which we
salute as the way forward, but we
must have the skills ready for this
major opportunity – both in terms of
the quality and quantity ofengineers
From our own experience, we know it
takes many years to train and develop
high-class engineers, and this process
does not start at Torkington’s. It starts
instead in homes and classrooms
across the country, where there needs
to be a championing of technical
subjects and careers by parents and
teachers alike.
That’s not to say support is absent; it
is to say more is needed, particularly
for SMEs. A visit by Sir Martin
Donnelly, then permanent secretary
for the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills a couple of
years ago, witnessed the work we’ve
done and are doing in the training
and development of the youth talent
in our field. This was taken as an
endorsement of the standards we
set ourselves and an example of the
commitment there is at government
level to make this happen (which we
wholeheartedly applaud).
The future and its challenges
Although the government has
demonstrated a renewed emphasis on
the value of technical and vocational
skills, we believe much more needs
to be done. The skills shortage in the
manufacturing sector is serious and
longstanding; it will require high-
profile, long-term solutions, working
with all business sizes. Moreover,there
needs to be much more funding,
which must reach the SMEs who are
able to demonstrate a proven track
record of success.
In previous decades the UK economy
became more service-orientated, with
less emphasis on vocational skills. The
obvious result of this is a skills shortage
for the manufacturing sector, and this
is something we at Torkington’s have
also felt the effects of, even though
we’ve had our apprentice training
programme to mitigate much of this
serious problem.
Other challenges are typical – the
sort all businesses face, for example,
knowing where to scale the business
in terms of infrastructure and
machinery. These, however, are the
sort of challenges we have successfully
wrestled with before. For us, the main
goal is to keep on manufacturing
exceptionally high-quality precision
machined parts and equipment to our
clients’ exacting specifications, as well
as organically growing the business
and maintaining our strong values and
ethos. Remaining firmly on this path –
as we have done for nearly 70 years –
will yield continued success.
There needs
to be a
of technical
subjects and
careers by
parents and
teachers alike
Apprentice training

This article was sponsored by Torkington Engineers. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.