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Erodex flying high with record sales and SC21 award
EDM specialist Erodex (UK) Ltd is flying high following a record year for turnover in 2011 with a 15% rise already in 2012. The firm has now set its sights on further expansion in the aerospace sector after completing the accreditation to SC21 (21st Century Supply Chains), a change programme designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace industry by raising supply chain performance.
“As a company committed to continuous improvement we are always looking for ways to enhance our internal systems and boost our commitment to best practice,” says Erodex director, John Rolinson. “The focus here is very customer-led, and with aerospace being a key sector, SC21 was the obvious choice as a vehicle to help improve further the effectiveness and competitiveness of our operations.”
The company’s track record of success in the aerospace industry is nothing short of impressive. Mr Rolinson says Erodex is “far and away” the UK’s leading supplier of EDM graphite tooling to the aerospace market, with a machine shop “second-to-none” for dedicated graphite solutions.
SC21 has become the benchmark for supply chain excellence as UK companies face up to the challenge of offering internationally-competitive solutions, while at the same time maintaining profitable business growth.
The commitment to continuous improvement at Erodex is complemented by the company’s on-going programme of investment. Recently, this has encompassed a £700k outlay on machinery, expansion of its Halesowen HQ, software and personnel across design and manufacturing disciplines. Ultimately such initiatives helped Erodex achieve a record year in 2011, with this year promising to be even better, particularly with SC21 under its belt.
“As a business serving the aerospace sector, SC21 proves we are committed to operational excellence, lean principles and increased competitiveness through the delivery of leadership, innovation, through-life solutions and ethical practices,” adds Mr Rolinson. “SC21 ensures we stay sharp and build on our exemplary quality and service levels. Within certain boundaries, SC21 allowed us to select our own priorities. This approach meant we could retain a degree of business flexibility, which is vital to our day-to-day operations.”
Erodex opted to focus on areas that included: a method of measuring and improving even further its supply chain operations based on customer feedback; implementing systems that deliver a right-first-time quality performance; and refining its “from concept and through design to completion” design and build service for all EDM and workholding solutions.
The 12-month process followed by rigorous audit – which included input from prime aerospace contractors confirming that required performance levels had been attained – resulted in Erodex receiving the prestigious SC21 Bronze award.
“While this initiative was designed to build on our existing excellence, I think we are all hoping it will open doors to more business,” says Mr Rolinson. “Greater numbers of aerospace customers are enquiring about SC21 and so it made sense for Erodex to join the programme.”
Aside from electrodes, Erodex also offers a complete tool-holding and workholding service through its design arm BWP, which gives the company a unique capability to offer aerospace customers a simultaneous design solution for electrodes and holders.
This is as well as a range of consumables and fast-hole EDM drilling tubes that are both unique and developed specifically for aerospace customers. In fact, the Erodex portfolio now contains a far greater design element than ever before. In support of this statement, the company has doubled the turnover of its design arm – BWP – in the past 18 months.
“It’s our goal to build partnerships that make us an extension of our customers’ own design teams,” explains Mr Rolinson. “All aspects of a project are designed simultaneously by one team to provide a streamlined process, optimum technical solutions and shorter lead-times. A unique situation.”