Located in an 80,000ft² factory in Thornaby, North East England, Cotswold Manufacturing is a privately owned company that manufactures and supplies doors, doorsets and internal glazed screens for use across the commercial, residential, leisure and education sectors of the construction industry.
Although a relatively new company (established in 2005), it has built a reputation for reliability, quality and service amongst its strong client base. “Our business is built on quality and service,” claims Stuart Burnett, the company’s operations director.
He continues: “We had been having problems with the quality and service we were getting from other door suppliers and so in 2013 we decided to set up our own door manufacturing cell.
“We looked at a number of potential suppliers but, after visiting Homag’s Treff in Germany and discussing our requirements in detail with Homag UK, we settled on equipment from the Homag Group to supply the majority of the machinery for our new venture.
“Having had previous experience of Homag equipment, I was totally confident of the quality, reliability and afte-sales service they would supply. For the door manufacturing cell we specified a Homag KAL 310 edgebander, a Bütfering SWT 335 finishing sander, a Holzma HPP 250 beam saw and a Cefla Roller Application line.”
Installation went like clockwork. “From order to installation everything was meticulously planned to occur exactly when it should, and that’s precisely what happened on the project. The Cefla application line was scheduled to arrive in January 2013 and once that was safely installed we had a detailed delivery schedule for all the Homag Group equipment.
“This enabled me to organise all the services and cranes for precisely the time the machinery was delivered to the factory. To be honest, I was prepared for delays, but it all ran like clockwork and we were ready for operation on the predicted date of 2nd April 2013 which, given the complexity of the installation, it was pretty impressive.
Simple to operate
“As this door production cell was a completely new project, all but two of the staff were new to the business and came with no previous experience of operating woodworking machinery.
“The Homag engineers gave them the same training onsite as our two experienced employees and they were able to operate the machines from day one without any problems, such is the simple nature of Homag’s control software.
The machinery is performing far beyond our expectations and is providing us with consistently high levels of quality straight from the cell, all of which has had a huge impact on our efficiency.
Reliable, high volume performance
“We estimated that the door cell would enable us to make around 250-350 doors per week for the first year. At present we are easily achieving 450 doors per week, a fact that is reflected in our turnover increasing by £1.3m.
“In terms of return on investment, we had budgeted for five years but that looks like reducing down to three years for the Homag equipment which is a real bonus. The new facility has attracted the larger construction companies. And whereas before, no London companies had made the trip up to the North east to see our facility, since we installed the door cell, several major new London construction clients have visited to see for themselves what we are now capable of producing. They have gone away extremely impressed with our set up and subsequently placed business with us.”
A knowledgeable and helpful team
“One of the major benefits we like about dealing with Homag UK is that all the people there are so helpful and knowledgeable. From the sales and support staff to the service engineers, there is a genuine desire to help. They want a long-term relationship and always go out of their way to give the best advice for our business.
“John Shepherd, the Homag area sales manager, is a pleasure to work with. He understands our business and looks after us even when we are not in the market to buy. He has taken me over to Germany to see how manufacturers operate there and I have been able to bring back lots of ideas that have improved our manufacturing processes.
“Homag’s after-sales service too is excellent. When we do need an engineer Homag invariably has an engineer onsite the next day. We also get superb support over the phone from Kev Kaye who can dial into the machines remotely to help us with any issues. If Kev can’t help, the engineers in Germany can also connect remotely to help sort any issues, so we really are well looked after.
“We are proud of our door production cell and happy for Homag to bring customers in to see it in operation. With the quality, service and knowledge Homag bring to the party we view our relationship with them as a true partnership and with that comes real peace of mind,” concludes Stuart Burnett.