Improvement Focus Helps Kilrea Company Grow Business

Kilrea-based Hutchinson Engineering, a precision metal fabrication business, has doubled its turnover and increased profits with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The family-owned and managed company, which employs 20 people in the Co Londonderry town, has been assisted by Invest NI’s North West Local Office (NWLO) and its Business Improvement Service (BIS) to identify and implement a programme of measures that have strengthened its capability and overall competitiveness in the precision engineering sector.

Among the measures taken by the company is a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) programme, a business development technique implemented with advice and guidance from Quality Improvement Network (QIN), a leading Co Antrim consultancy.

Mark Hutchinson, Hutchinson Engineering general manager, says: “TPM is helping us to ensure continuously high levels of efficiency and productivity from a £1.5 million investment that we’ve undertaken in state-of-the-art laser cutting machinery and Computer-Aided Design systems, as well as a 16,000 sq ft extension to our manufacturing facility.

“In addition to support to develop an efficient workflow system throughout the factory, TPM is producing tangible benefits from the added responsibility that it gives to employees at all levels. While we’ve always had a good team, the structured training and overall greater engagement of the workforce are enabling us to achieve consistently high levels of quality and productivity for all our customers.

“By continuously seeking to improve our competitiveness we are helping our customers compete and thereby strengthening our business,” he adds.

Kevin Helferty, NWLO manager, says:  “Hutchinson Engineering is an excellent example of Invest NI’s team approach. We’ve been able to draw on expertise across Invest NI that is helping this ambitious company to grow its turnover and profits.

“As well as improving production floor efficiencies, we are helping the company to implement a structured marketing strategy to further strengthen the company’s customer base,” he adds.