Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Success Story Assetbank

Select tags to filter on

Flexing their operational muscles – Goodflex Rubber Ltd set to expand with new ERP system

“Our involvement with the Made Smarter programme gave us the confidence to move forward with one of biggest changes to the company in its 22-year history. This investment will not only allow us to improve our efficiencies but also provide us with the security to continue to grow in the future, aiding us to deliver even better products and services to our customers and ensure we remain a leader in the industry.”

Natalie Benwell, Commercial Manager, Goodflex Rubber Ltd

Warwickshire based Goodflex Rubber Ltd are world renowned manufacturers of high quality, bespoke-design silicone hoses, serving a range of industries including automotive, pharmaceutical, renewable energy, and food.


Goodflex had plans to double their turnover over the next three years but were concerned that their Factory Management System was holding them back from achieving this growth. They had been using their current bespoke ERP system since the business was started and it had evolved over time to be used for multiple areas within the business, including material resource planning, accounts, stock management, work order management, invoicing, and delivery notes.

But they needed to move to software which would enable their day-to-day operations to be more efficient, allow them to respond more quickly to their customers and futureproof their processes.


Commercial manager Natalie Benwell got in touch with the Made Smarter West Midlands programme and was introduced to WMG’s Denis Pelych who quickly set about understanding the company’s specific requirements. It was clear that Goodflex needed an enhanced, futureproof, digital system to drive efficiencies and maintain control of some of their more complex product builds, but they were unsure what specific system to invest in.

Denis conducted a two-stage MRP and ERP* vendor selection process, with Made Smarter support and helped Goodflex select an ERP system that offered the capability they needed today, with a degree of futureproofing. The investment required was approximately £100k but Goodflex were able to access £20k with the help of a Made Smarter grant.

Natalie said:

“Denis understood and identified our needs better than we understood them ourselves and then successfully translated them into an RFP (Request for Proposal) that was such a true reflection of our business. His knowledge in the industry, not only opened our eyes to what was possible, but also took us down a route we never knew existed.”


  • The new system will help Goodflex increase the speed of response to their customers
  • The new system will help Goodflex double their revenue to £10m in three years, with the potential to reach £15-20m in five years, whilst maintaining margins and investment
  • The system will lead to a 20-30% efficiency improvement from the automation of business processes
  • The company expect to see a 15-20% improvement in material supply and stock efficiencies
  • Efficiencies gained through the system will lead to higher levels of profitability
  • The new system provides better management information with the ability to set KPIs and have greater operational insight in order to make data driven business decisions
  • The new system will also improve Goodflex’s business development strategy enabled by greater insight into costs and opportunities
  • The new system has improved workplace motivation and will help to retain and develop highly skilled staff

*ERP vs MRP: What’s The Difference? – Forbes Advisor

Read the full story on the Made Smarter website here.Link opens in a new window

Heating up for expansion with Eskimo Products

“WMG have been great to work with, they digested the brief, stuck to it, and delivered a great factory optimisation project. I was really impressed with the level of detail within the report and really enjoyed working alongside their engineers.”

Phil Ward, Managing Director, Eskimo Products Ltd


Luxury radiator and towel rail design firm, Eskimo ProductsLink opens in a new window designs and manufactures a range of top end products with a focus on creating beautiful aesthetics within homes as well as being highly energy efficient. With a design office in Bristol and manufacturing space in Birmingham close to the international airport, the firm were setting their sights on growth and expansion.


The company had plans to move into a new factory in 2025 to scale up production following an increase in demand. They were looking for support to maximise the productivity potential of the layout in the new space and in the existing facility. They also needed support to digitise their manufacturing process.


Phil Ward, founder of the firm worked with WMG SME group’s Manikanta Ravi and Gun Gokmen to set up a project using Innovate UK Business GrowthLink opens in a new window (previously Innovate UK EDGE) funding with objectives to:

  • Measure the current state of the factory to understand what was inhibiting target productivity
  • Recommend improvements to increase capacity and reduce wastes on two key product lines (Column and Gordon) using lean methods and automation

The project would allow for a seamless transition and the opportunity to scope any new investments and potential changes before the move - essentially minimising any risks and to avoid any downtime.

Mani and Gun compared current capacity against the required capacity to meet the forecasted demand and identified that there was a shortfall. They performed bottleneck analysis for the overall process flow from customer order to raw materials, and manufacturing to customer delivery.

The extensive study allowed them to identify bottlenecks and areas for lean improvement, as well as make recommendations for where capacity could be enhanced such as an additional spindle tool to reduce CNC Machine setup time, standardising the setup of the powder coating process, improving lighting to reduce the number of re-works, introducing a new cell for assembling, testing and packing, adopting 5S workplace organisation methods and more advanced techniques such as automated welding with a suggested cycle time to meet demand. They recommended a phased approach for improving different areas overall, including welding, machining, and treatment.


  • Once implemented, WMG’s recommendations will reduce current bottleneck times by 72% per product on the Column product line and 43% on the Gordon line. So, for every 100 units made, 33 hours can be saved on the Column product line and 20 hours on the Gordon;
  • As a result of the project, with the addition of robot welding and a pre-treatment plant, production capacity for the Column line will increase by 360% and for the Gordon line 37%;
  • The improvements suggested will lead to estimated additional turnover of up to £365k per year;
  • The company is now in a more informed position to make the move to the new space with automation and factory layout proposals that will help them meet capacity and grow the business.

Eskimo are currently working with other WMG colleagues through the Made Smarter West Midlands programme to implement the robotic welding process and will benefit from a grant to make this a reality. They are also embarking on a new WMG project for advice on the best manufacturing techniques and layout to take a new thermal energy storage product to market.

“It was great to work with the team at Eskimo to help them realise some of their growth ambitions through an improved factory layout. With the added digital capabilities proposed through Made Smarter West Midlands, there are even more opportunities for expansion. Innovate UK's Edge programme (Innovate UK Business Growth) helps businesses connect with the right expertise at whatever stage of growth they are at. We are excited to see where Eskimo goes next.”

Engineer Manikanta RaviLink opens in a new window and Industrial Engineer Gun GokmenLink opens in a new window, WMG University of Warwick

Mon 08 Apr 2024, 14:27 | Tags: SME SME-Digital SME-Growth SME-Supply Chain Success Story

Investing in Digital leads to Brighter Future for ECAM Engineering

“Business has been amazing and last year we had our best year ever. Turnover was up 20% on the previous year.”

Phil Arme, Managing Director, ECAM Engineering Ltd


ECAM Engineering began life in 1968 based on the Derbyshire/ Staffordshire border before moving to Cheadle in the Staffordshire Moorlands, near Stoke on Trent.They specialise in laser cutting, metal fabrication, CNC machining, welding, and painting. They worked with WMG recently through the Made Smarter West Midlands programme.


Phil Arme, Managing Director at ECAM Engineering has been investing in the company’s digital transformation since he bought it ten years ago. Having already implemented one robotic welder in the business he wanted to explore automation further to increase productivity and to allow staff to develop skills in other areas.

We recognised we needed to go down the road of having a second robot. I had read about the Made Smarter programme, and I thought it could help us make a decision about which robot would be best for us since we are not experts in that field.”


Through Tim Kirby at Made Smarter West Midlands, ECAM were introduced to WMG’s Ioan Lutas who set out a digital roadmap for ECAM with advice about how best to set in place a new Panasonic welding robot to help produce parts for key clients such as JCB.



The benefits of the second robot were noted immediately.

Overtime is no longer needed to complete jobs and the level of productivity is up

The robot has sped up processes and shift patterns have been changed to reflect this with staff now able to diversify their skills and work on other activities

ECAM went on to invest even further in digital technologies including a fully automated laser cutting machine

To read the full story visit:

And to see the video case study visit: opens in a new window

Tue 30 Jan 2024, 15:35 | Tags: SME SME-Digital Success Story

MyWorkwear - Looking good for the future

“In the last couple of months, we have almost doubled our output compared to 18-24 months ago and we can all see the benefits of the new system compared to our old processes. Our turnaround time has been reduced significantly and there are fewer mistakes to be corrected which is another bonus.”

Ben Simpson, Co-Managing Director, MyWorkwearLink opens in a new window


Under the leadership of Managing Directors Ben Simpson and James Worthington, MyWorkwearLink opens in a new window, which was started in 1976, produces thousands of garments every week for companies large and small across the UK. Using state-of-the-art embroidery and print machines, the company adds logos, names and designs onto uniforms, workwear, teamwear, promotional items and other garments. The business also supplies PPE and non-personalised clothing from its 6,500 sq ft premises to its customers predominantly in the Midlands and nationwide.

MyWorkwear was growing rapidly and needed its internal systems to reflect the upsurge in orders.

Ben Simpson, Co-Managing Director, said: “Our systems were starting to struggle because we still had processes in place from a long time ago.”


Working with partners at Made Smarter West Midlands, colleagues at WMG undertook a digital roadmap which led MyWorkwear to buy a specialist ERP system and software that involves the embroidery machines – which embroider many garments simultaneously – ‘talking’ to a central piece of software. It also enables staff to complete the colourisation and bar code scanning on the garments.

“The comprehensive digital roadmap that we carried out for the business highlighted areas which we felt would improve their productivity. We are delighted to have played a part in improving the digitalisation of MyWorkwear which is already leading to efficiencies, and they are a great example for other West Midlands businesses to follow.”

Onur Eren, Chief Engineer, WMGLink opens in a new window


Read more here about the project and the results here.Link opens in a new window

For more information about working with WMG's SME Group email 

Woodwork company nails success with more than £70k yearly savings with WMG


Gordon Ellis & Co is a UK manufacturer of precision woodworking and rotational moulding. With more than 150 years of experience, the company has moved from horse and hand tools to today’s CNC precision woodworking machinery. Products include hospital bed frames, commodes, trolleys, high end audio equipment casings, and automotive wooden internal components. Their rota moulding products have a wide range of durable and weather resistant applications.


Gordon Ellis & Co has been making quality wooden and rotational moulded products for many years. Although they’ve progressed massively from manual manufacturing practices to industrial machinery, they are now interested in stepping into the digital age.

Having met the WMG SME Group at a networking event, they were interested in getting their perspective for moving forward and building better. This would mean investigating a way of analysing the factory to discover how ‘digital manufacturing’ can create improvements. They hoped this would help them to make more products faster to meet their increasing customer demand.

Picture of WMG's SME Team


Digital manufacturing is often a thrown around buzz-phrase, but at WMG we aim to promote and explain just how much digital manufacturing can improve efficiency, productivity, and data collection. First things first, we wanted to make sure Gordon Ellis’s factory was prepared for the transition.

Rich Savidge, Technology Transfer Engineer at WMG, and Onur Eren, Innovation Manager, undertook a detailed investigation of the key facilities ‘current-state’, reviewing existing equipment, productivity, efficiency, and data outputs. Working with Gordon Ellis & Co, the team were able to propose a ‘future-state’, recognising equipment suitable for upgrade, targeting challenge areas and developing the businesses core capabilities.

The core impacts of the project saw reduced costs by eliminating material waste and promoting operational excellence methodologies. The team also recognised ways to introduce useful methods to gather data from their factory.

During this preliminary optimisation project, it was clear that digitisation would have a major improvement to Gordon Ellis & Co’s turnover while increasing their capability to stay competitive and enter luxury markets. The team worked hard to submit a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) bid that will gain them the funding they’d need to complete a two-year project to source an associate engineer to implement sensors and data collection devices around the factory. The beauty of a KTP is that it works in partnership with the externally employed graduate (the associate), and WMG utilising the facilities, expertise, and resources to see the project through to the end.


  • The preliminary project ‘quick-wins’ saved the company £70k a year through waste elimination and the streamlining of internal procedures.
  • More substantial gains will be had after the installation of state-of-the-art CNC equipment yielding an estimated gain in production capacity of x 4, de-risked by the team’s involvement.
  • The Innovate UK KTP bid funding was successful and the project aims to increase the turnover of Gordon Ellis & Co by £540k over the next five years.
  • Their savings will allow them to invest in the newly defined strategy, targeting industry 4.0 technologies that will enable sustainable growth

Rich Savidge, Technology Transfer Engineer, WMG, commented; “Working together, we were able to objectively define bottlenecks and target real production waste, preparing a journey for Gordon Ellis and their digitalisation journey. I am very pleased that they have won their KTP bid, and I can’t wait to see what they achieve in the next five years.”

Onur Eren, Innovation Manager, WMG, said: “I really enjoy projects like these because the team at Gordon Ellis were so open to our suggestions and were passionate about taking on the latest innovations before others in industry. I’m looking forward to supporting the digitalisation KTP over the next two years and beyond.”

Daniel Robinson, Financial Controller & Company Secretary, Gordon Ellis, added; “We’ve spent over 150 years in the industry, and we know it well, however, we are also looking to the future and seeing that we need to become more digital to continue to be innovative and competitive. WMG know digital and smart factories so well and we got support for the KTP that I wouldn’t have got anywhere else.”

Picture of WMG's SME Team

Thu 16 Dec 2021, 15:10 | Tags: Manufacturing SME SME-Digital SME-Growth Success Story