Weymouth Precision 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 Weymouth Precision Engineers is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.wpe.ltd

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | WEYMOUTH PRECISION ENGINEERS
Managing director David Wilson
(right) shaking hands with local
MP Richard Drax
Weymouth Precision
workshop
Weymouth Precision Engineers (WPE) was formed in
1964, and acquired by David Wilson, now owner and
managing director, in 2013. The previous owners had
reached retirement age and seen two recessions. When David
arrived, he began, with a renewed focus, to grow the order
book, the turnover and the workforce. With a fresh cohort of
younger staff and 40 members of staff, the Dorset-based firm
now handles the specialised manufacture of vital components
for the maritime, nuclear and defence sectors.
We manufacture mechanical components to strict specificationsexcellence
is absolutely necessary. In the maritime sector, we make parts that ensure, for
instance, hull integrity and safety of life; in the nuclear sector, we deliver primarily
machined parts which aid the fuelling of both submarines and power plants.
Finally, we have recently won a two-year contract worth £3.5 million, which
handles the supply of mechanical components for a Ministry of Defence project.
Around 60 per cent of our workforce comprises strict manufacturing staff: they are
the lifeblood of everything we do at WPE.
Ensuring quality, excellence and high standards
We have a slogan on the wall inside our factory: “Exceeding our customers’
expectations through our commitment to quality, cost and delivery.” This ethos runs
alongside everything we do, present in all members of staff, be they managerial,
manufacturing or administrative. As we are AS9100-approved, we have a rigorous
quality manual we are held to, and it allows us absolutely no room for anything
FACTS ABOUT
WEYMOUTH PRECISION
ENGINEERS
»Owner and managing director:
David Wilson
»Established in 1964, bought
by David Wilson in 2013
»Based in Weymouth, Dorset
»Services: Manufacture
of mechanical precision
components
»No. of employees: Over 40
»AS9100 Rev D approved
»Turnover: £2.75 million
»Recently won £3.5 million
Ministry of Defence contract
Weymouth Precision
Engineers
39WEYMOUTH PRECISION ENGINEERS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
other than complete perfection. It’s
all about quality in our sector – we
are audited once a year to ensure we
conform to the latest standards.
The four main values which serve as
pillars holding up our business are
quality, versatility, teamwork and a
desire to remain cost-effective. We
constantly invest in high-quality modern
machinery to ensure we can deliver all
four criteria, and we take pride in what
we do, delivering lean manufacturing
services to achieve the standards our
clients both expect anddemand.
Expansion and financial growth
Our recent progress is best
displayed in our being awarded the
aforementioned Ministry of Defence
contract in March 2017. After a
two-year bidding process, competing
against six other firms, we finally
won it – and it really is a milestone
for all the growth we have seen since
taking over from two since-retirees.
To accommodate this, we have seen
a new 10,000 sq ft unit built, massive
growth in our team and the provision
of a night shift since September 2013.
We are open from 5.30am Monday to
Saturday, and, if necessary, we will be
operational on Sundays too – we have
the team, the resources, the facilities
and the machinery to support this.
Every year since our buyout, we have
seen turnover increase. In 2013, it
was £700,000 – increasing targets
year on year has seen us reach £2.75
million as of last financial year, and we
foresee that we will break £3 million
next year. Though our profitability has
not definitively increased over that
five-year period, we have seen massive
reinvestment, and are ready now to
start reaping the rewards of that.
The new contract
Our contract with the Ministry of
Defence has seen us forge a strong
partnership with BAE Systems.
Wearedelivering five kits of tailor-
made parts every month for two years;
though it took us five arduous months
to prepare the first delivery, we have
consistently delivered on time while
ensuring it has not affected other
clients. It has taken five years to amass
the resources and capability necessary
– we have invested in four new
machines, taken on five new members
of staff and are, in the future, hoping
to win further contracts.
We have reached this level of
capability by ensuring we only
promise a quick turnaround where
it is realistic and plausible. We don’t
David being presented
with a plaque wishing
him luck from local
machinery company
YMT
WPE’s new purpose-built
10,000 sq ft factory
Exceeding our
customers’
expectations
through quality
and cost
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | WEYMOUTH PRECISION ENGINEERS
take on work unless it’s achievable
within the requested time frame,
and shorter lead times and leaner
manufacturing processes have really
helped us deliver in this regard. We
have approached local companies to
develop partnerships, and received our
aforementioned AS9100 accreditation
in 2015, which has really opened a lot
of doors. Without that accreditation,
you simply can’t work in the
aerospacesector.
Recruitment challenges
It was never our ambition to end up
with 40 employees; however, with
greater amounts of work coming
in, we need more employees. With
more workshop staff, you need more
office staff, and it keeps snowballing
from there; we have, nonetheless,
been enjoying the challenge. New
management has brought renewed
enthusiasm to the company, however,
and our commitment to improvement
is the key to our future.
We do struggle to find skilled
machinists. They are out there, but
they’re difficult to find; though we
have been taking on apprentices, once
per year, it’s tough to fill the gap for
skilled personnel. We definitely believe
that all the best engineers are already
with us!
Brexit and the future
We haven’t seen any significant impact
as a result of Brexit. Prices of materials
and machinery have increased, and
though all of our suppliers are blaming
it on Brexit, I’m not sure its effects
have been fully realised yet. We buy
plant and machinery from Taiwan and
Europe, so import tax will naturally
affect us where it hasn’t before,
and customers looking for cheaper
products every year creates a natural
clash. Our attitude is very much to wait
and see.
With the construction of our new
company headquarters, we look to
continued improvement with regards
to our service and already-excellent
quality. We are looking at offering
further opportunities to our staff in a
positive working environment. Beyond
all else, however, we want to expand,
grow our order book further, take on
more staff, recruit apprentices and
keep ensuring the quality we have
become renowned for.
We look to
continued
improvement
with regards
to our service
and already-
excellent
delivery
At WPE, we believe it
takes a team to succeed

www.wpe.ltd

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