Focus SB aim for growth following investment into planning tools

A Sussex-based manufacturer of electrical wiring accessories is looking to increase turnover after implementing a tailored Materials Requirement Planning & Enterprise Resource Planning (MRP/ERP) system.

Focus SB
Focus SB aims for growth with help from MGP

Focus SB accessed support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) to implement MRP/ERP at its factory in St Leonards-on-Sea.

The £200,000 investment has introduced a new way of working and given it the platform to build on an increase in turnover to £4.7m in 2018, with the plan to take it to £6m over the next twelve months.

One of the key drivers in this expansion will be a major push into China, supplying electrical accessories into the nation’s luxury marketplace.

“We manufacture thousands of different products and needed a way of understanding demand for each item and how we can then use that information to better plan and control production,” said Gary Stevens, managing director of Focus SB.

“As a busy SME it’s sometimes difficult to take yourself out of the business to gain a strategic view and that’s why we turned to experts from the Manufacturing Growth Programme. This assistance helped us sharpen our thinking and explore the finer details and this eventually led to a new way of working and a sizeable investment into a new MRP/ERP system.”

He added that Focus SB now has full visibility of materials, stock, demand and any processes that may need to be improved.

“It was important that we made this change, as we have some very exciting opportunities to explore, not least maximising the fact we are the only UK and European electrical supplier to hold China Quality Certification for the manufacture of electrical accessories in the UK for export into the Chinese market,” said Stevens.

“This means we can supply our luxury products direct and, along with our Chinese distribution partner, we have already invested in a showroom at the Jin Mau Tower [Shanghai] to support a marketing drive to treble existing sales in China to £1.5m.”

Focus SB has worked with the Manufacturing Growth Programme for nearly a year, using its experts and specialists to analyse ‘demand’ trends with a view to identifying the fastest moving and popular combinations.

This examination of a range of data sources recommended which sub-assemblies and finished goods would be best held in stock, reducing delivery lead times and increasing efficiency through batch production.

“Data, and importantly how you use it, is becoming a valuable currency for SMEs,” said Robin Simpson, MGP manufacturing growth manager. “The business has many international opportunities and it is vital that the right manufacturing platform is in place to make the most of them. This is now the case and the management team can concentrate on increasing revenues to £6m over the next year.”