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

Armac Martin reignite sustainability drive with second collaborative project

“Working with WMG again has been really beneficial for us. This project will enable us to lower our carbon emissions, something critical for us from both a CSR perspective and in combating rising energy costs to remain competitive.”

Steven West, Head of Operations, Armac Martin Ltd


In 2021, following the introduction of the UK Government’s Net Zero strategy, luxury brass hardware manufacturer, Armac Martin was one of the first companies to join WMG’s Net Zero Innovation (NZIN) Progamme. They collaborated with us to implement sustainable packaging for key product lines in their business. After exploring recyclable, compostable, and returnable options, a cost effective and biodegradable paper-based material was selected which reduced packing time significantly, leading to productivity gains in the business.



With renewed drive to reduce emissions by 50% by 2025 and reach Net Zero by 2041, Armac Martin wanted to work with WMG again to see where they could best focus their attentions to achieve these goals. They joined the NZIN programme on a second cohort alongside Brandauer, Sarginsons, Modpods and McGeoch.


WMG examined how the company could reduce emissions across Scope 1,2 and 3[i] in the business, through a Greenhouse Gas Accounting project. We highlighted a range of opportunities for them to take onboard as part of a five-year roadmap for sustainable change aligned with business visions and priorities through a NZIN roadmap. Representatives from the company also participated in several workshops hosted by WMG.


· The company now have a clear vision of how they are going to reach their 2025 and 2041 targets with an action plan to reduce energy costs in the business, including using data to optimise energy usage, as well as voltage optimisation, insulation, and variable speed drives of machinery,

· They plan to install Solar PV Panels to reduce energy related emissions and susceptibility to grid price fluctuations

· They have the opportunity to access grant funding to install the Solar Panels of up to £100,000,

· They now have a robust sustainability strategy which they communicate to both internal and external stakeholders.


Armac Martin are a company committed to sustainability and it was great to work with them on a second project looking at energy usage in the business. They are a shining example of how businesses can work towards Net Zero targets while adding value to their clients’ customer experience.”

Archit Tamboli, Technology Transfer Engineer, WMG, University of Warwick

For more info on Armac Martin’s sustainability strategy visit:

[i] *Scope 1 emissions are the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions that a company makes directly — for example while running its boilers and vehicles.

Scope 2 emissions are the emissions it makes indirectly – like the electricity or energy it buys for heating and cooling buildings, which is being produced on its behalf.

Scope 3 emissions are all the emissions associated, not with the company itself, but those that the organisation is indirectly responsible for, up and down its value chain. For example, from buying products from its suppliers, and from its products when customers use them.

Fri 15 Mar 2024, 14:08 | Tags: SME SME-Growth SME-Leadership SME-Net Zero Success Story

Reaping the rewards of collaboration – further impact for Jaltek Systems as partnership with WMG goes from strength to strength.

Automation project leads to productivity gains and new opportunities to upskill valuable teams.


Founded in 1988, Jaltek Systems are a contract electronics manufacturer with full electronics design capability. They first worked with WMG in 2022 when we helped them with an expansion and new factory layout for new premises. Two years later, having landed new business worth almost £3 million and taken on Nayan the intern that helped them implement production line changes, they contacted WMG again for support with automation.

Jaltek has grown significantly in recent years with further ambitious plans, and they were looking to adopt digital technology, particularly in robotics and automation to facilitate this growth. Steve Blythe, at Jaltek had visited the Advanced Metal Research Centre in Wales and other SME businesses who had started using collaborative robots (cobots) and had identified that automation could:

· Provide productivity enhancement with the need to recruit less

· Offer extended working hours – machines could operate outside regular working hours

· Help with issues such as the UK’s restrictions on labour movement, which were making it difficult to find new employees with the right skills

· Provide the opportunity for skilled employees to do more interesting, higher value tasks

Already using machines for the surface mount placement process, Steve identified that cobots could also be implemented for post surface mount assembly activity and labelling.



Following the success of previous WMG internships at Jaltek, they decided that taking on another intern would help them direct the resource needed on this project while saving valuable management time. With WMG supervision, intern Kesava Viknesh was appointed. He initially undertook an automation feasibility study for the complete set of processes in the business, quantifying the benefits of automation for each one. He then conducted a comparison study of different automation solutions, resulting in a list of the top three opportunities. After creating and presenting the business case to the board of directors, Kesava then went on to create a simulation of the automated labelling process to de-risk the investment. Jaltek also benefitted from a pilot trial of automation to assemble one of their products using WMG’s UR5e cobot before investing in their first cobot.



The internship project led to a range of impacts including:

· Identifying significant productivity improvements;

· A new full-time position for Kesava as an automation engineer;

· The upskilling of existing staff to fulfil higher value skilled jobs now that the cobots can undertake other tasks;

· A change in proposition for new employees, with a focus on highlighting the business’s values;

· Improved precision and uniformity which in turn supports the sustainability credentials for Jaltek as there is less waste;

· The opportunity for extended operations (as robots can work outside regular working hours);

· The ability for Jaltek to keep pace with technological advancements;

· An additional Accelerated Knowledge Transfer (AKT) grant to enable another young engineer to join the firm on a 16-week project to continue with the integration of robotics technology into their processes.


Steve Blythe, at Jaltek Systems said:

“We are continually looking to improve productivity through training, improved processes, and automation. We saw good practice using cobots in other businesses and reached out to WMG to support our plans. We are very happy with the results of the second internship, and we are only at the beginning of this journey.”

Jack Davis, Technology Transfer Engineer at WMG who supervised Kesava said:

“This internship project enabled Jaltek to trial the use of cobots on one of their key processes before taking the plunge to invest themselves, reducing risk and ensuring that they got the exact technological solution for their requirements. Kesava did a fantastic job, so much so that he has now secured a position with Jaltek.”

Fri 15 Mar 2024, 14:00 | Tags: SME SME-Growth Success Story

WMG supports Goodfish on its sustainability journey

Goodfish Group have benefited from WMG’s Net Zero Innovation Network with a tailored project focused on helping them achieve their Net Zero goals.


Goodfish Group is the UK’s leading privately-owned contract manufacturer of plastic and composite components. Its expertise in injection-moulding, extrusion, vacuum-forming, and tooling has been developed through successive acquisitions of leading companies in each discipline.

The group has partnered with WMG at the University of Warwick over the last ten years to work on new product and process development and most recently were one of the first companies to benefit from a new Net Zero Innovation Network which was set up to support SME manufacturers achieve their Net Zero goals.


Goodfish were keen to map their current waste streams to identify opportunities where they could reduce emissions and increase their environmental, financial, and social sustainability. They recognised that the St Asaph site was the least mature in terms of sustainability, therefore asked the WMG team to focus on this site initially.


WMG undertook a Factory walk at St Asaph to identify the waste streams on site in terms of internal waste generation (extrusion and injection moulding) as well as external. They examined waste across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions*. Recommendations were then made via the 5R model which helps companies see where they can reduce waste, recycle, reuse, recover or ultimately refuse or prevent the waste happening in the first place.

Goodfish were advised to start making cultural changes within the organisation to encourage better monitoring of wasteful practices and to understand which machines were most energy intensive. WMG suggested using reusable packaging, finding more local recycling facilities, and reusing waste material for new products. They also suggested implementing thermal insulation jackets on injection moulding machines which on a 500T clamp force machine for example could offer a 13% energy saving over a 13-hour shift.



  • Since joining the WMG cohort, Goodfish have taken significant strides forward with their waste reduction activities.
  • They have invested approximately £70k in monitoring equipment to enable visibility of energy usage of all machinery across all three sites. With such granularity, they can make changes and updates to machines for optimal energy usage.
  • They implemented the insulation jackets on 70 injection moulding machines which has saved 20% on monthly energy consumption
  • They are now able to attribute the carbon footprint or CO2 equivalent for each product/part made, which has boosted their sustainability credentials with their clients
  • They are now implementing total preventative maintenance and staff training programmes across the group to make even more savings

Guy McDonald, Director and Business Transformation Manager at Goodfish said:

“The NZIN programme was useful to meet other business leaders on similar journeys and to understand the Net Zero requirements from an OEM’s perspective, in this case Polestar.

At Goodfish, data is the bedrock of all that do we in terms of energy efficiency. We pretty much know where all the energy hotspots are in the business now and can therefore make targeted changes to boost our Net Zero credentials going forward.”


WMG’s Net Zero Approach

WMG’s Net Zero Innovation programme brings businesses together to gain knowledge about sustainable manufacturing processes, implement change and grow. As well as offering events, workshops, and a best practice visit to a company already implementing sustainable approaches, participating companies also benefit from a tailored project, Net Zero assessment and roadmap report.

For more information about joining a cohort email:

*Scope 1 emissions are the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions that a company makes directly — for example while running its boilers and vehicles.

Scope 2 emissions are the emissions it makes indirectly – like the electricity or energy it buys for heating and cooling buildings, which is being produced on its behalf.

Scope 3 emissions are all the emissions associated, not with the company itself, but those that the organisation is indirectly responsible for, up and down its value chain. For example, from buying products from its suppliers, and from its products when customers use them.

Tue 30 Jan 2024, 15:54 | Tags: SME SME-Growth SME-Net Zero 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 

WMG Accelerator Programme helps Birmingham business bring authentic Oriental and Asian food manufacturing to the UK


Top Oriental is a niche-food manufacturer based in Birmingham that produces Oriental and Asian food products for the UK and European markets. They have a large facility in Coventry containing semi-automated food production lines. Given that the majority of Oriental and Asian food products have historically been imported into the UK with little customisation to UK consumers, Top Oriental saw an opportunity to re-shore manufacturing capability in this area back to the UK and make market-leading products designed with customer requirements in mind.


WMG has a longstanding relationship with Top Oriental. Previous to joining WMG Accelerator, WMG Professors in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Prof. Jay Bal and Prof. Xiao Ma advised the transformation of the business from a ‘manufacturer to wholesale’ model to ‘direct to customer’ model. Top Oriental were keen to improve their production capability and strengthen the commercial side of the business.

Finding out how the WMG Accelerator team could help tackle these challenges, Top Oriental wanted to grow their revenue and permanently move to a ‘direct to customer’ (D2C) business model in order to achieve their objectives.

As part of the preparation for entering the Accelerator, the team diagnosed a number of issues in Top Oriental’s production and commercial operations. In particular, there was reduced visibility across the stock management process and some production processes were avoidably manual. On the commercial side, there was no room for new product development, piloting was limited and there was limited resource to develop new sales channels and market research.

Top Oriental needed resource fast, and the knowledge and best practice to progress. To provide the best solutions, Top Oriental joined the WMG Accelerator Programme to help them overcome their challenges.Picture shows food manufacturing plant


Working in collaboration with WMG, Top Oriental were able to:

§ Identify gaps in between product development and customer taste profiles using quantitative social listening and qualitative customer research.

§ Gain the skills and knowledge of “lean start-up” methods in order to accelerate their product development cycles, so they could go from gathering market intelligence to real product testing and new product launches in shorter time frame.

§ Created new products based off identified market requirements, most notably a tofu-based snack given the growing demand for alternatives to poultry and red meat in the UK market.

§ Mapped their existing large production facility and created the first production “digital twin” to identify and diagnose bottlenecks and wastage points, in preparation for the rapid responsive reconfiguration of facilities to cater new product development.

§ Assessed a range of lightweight enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for manufacturing SMEs, and recommended a “best fit” solution to cater a lean start-up model of the rapid responsive reconfiguration of facilities. ERP software systems help organisations manage critical business operations, aligning and creating visibility across all key functions of the operation, including procurement, project management, risk management, compliance and supply-chain.


As a result of this collaboration, Top Oriental has successfully adopted a “lean start-up” model for its production from market validation to manufacturing and has managed to iterate on its production line and corresponding manufacturing reconfiguration on a quarterly basis. This core enabling ability has led to:

§ Launch of three new product groups, now widely distributed across the UK

§ Increased sales by 30%

§ Re-shoring niche food production back to the UK, given that many of its products were previously imported from the EU.

§ An increased order from the EU, though Brexit still hinders the actual export process. Top Oriental has an estimated £50k per month export value, under the assumption of a smooth export process to EU.

§ Implementation of the ERP system recommended and co-validated with the WMG Accelerator team

§ WMG assisted Top Oriental in securing a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) – who is now executing the newly defined strategy

§ The COO and the WMG Accelerator team are now exploring further project opportunities to ensure Top Oriental continue its innovation in both growing into niche markets, and manufacturing capability advancement.

Ming, CEO at Top Oriental, commented: “It is difficult for businesses to consider disruptive innovations when you’ve been working one way for so long. WMG Accelerator supported us in finding and materialising our new competitive advantages and rapidly responding to a new niche through dynamic reconfiguration of production ability.”

Xiao Ma, Project Lead at WMG, added, “WMG Accelerator team is trying to bring industry transformation to life. We help innovative businesses, such as Top Oriental, to adopt proven methodologies to challenge the current status quo in its industry. It is exciting to see a disruptor has pivoted from “playing” the existing game in its industry, to instead becoming a “game master” by creating new innovations and routes to market for its industry sector.”

For more information about joining the WMG Accelerator Programme, please email us on

Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:50 | Tags: Manufacturing SME SME-Growth Success Story

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