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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

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