Trailer company saves £500,000 with Invest NI support

Invest Northern Ireland has helped Dungannon company Chieftain Trailers to save £500,000 through a cost reduction programme.

Chieftain designs and manufactures a range of trailers, low-loaders and forklift machinery for various sectors including agriculture, commercial transport, materials handling and rail freight throughout the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe.

As part of the initiative, a Business Improvement Agent (BIA) was employed by the company for a three year period, with support from Invest NI, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The BIA assessed a variety of processes throughout the business and identified a number of areas for improvement. The agent then introduced new procedures in those areas and as a result, the level of savings achieved during the programme was significantly higher than the BIA’s target of over three times his total salary for the duration of the project.

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Business Improvement Services, said: “This initiative has proven to be highly successful in helping Chieftain to reduce unnecessary costs throughout the business. By maintaining the improved measures, the company can continue to benefit from considerable savings in the months and years ahead.

“All local businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, can operate more effectively during the economic downturn, improve their profit margins and boost output by operating more efficiently.”

“Northern Ireland companies can also increase the quality of their products and services and gain an advantage in highly competitive export markets by continuously refining their processes,” added Mr Casey.

John Quinn, Managing Director of Chieftain Trailers, said: “Thanks to this Invest NI backed programme, our company has made some valuable changes to how we work and we now have a much leaner and more effective overall operation in place.

“Our forecasting and purchasing function has been improved and there is less excess stock on our premises as a direct result, leaving more space on the shop floor for other value added operations. Manufacturing techniques have also been enhanced, leading to more effective use of raw materials whilst ensuring even higher standards of workmanship.”

“In addition, waste management procedures at our factory have been improved, helping to reduce costs associated with rubbish disposal. Greater energy awareness amongst our staff has cut our fuel bill considerably, and better continuous maintenance methods are helping us to avoid unnecessary expenditure relating to machinery repairs and replacement,” added Mr Quinn.