The automotive supply chain has been busy meeting the needs of OEMs in 2015, and is set to do the same this year. UK moulders have been investing record sums in new machinery, software and tooling as they try to keep up with the return in demand for domestically manufactured vehicles.
At the same time they are competing for skilled workers in a shrinking market with an ageing workforce.
Paul Chippendale, director of moulding firm ICM, which is in the process of relocating its business from Hitchin in Hertfordshire to larger premises in Milton Keynes, believes it will be easier for his firm to recruit staff to an ‘MK postcode'. The move is expected to be completed this summer.
ICM, which won an accolade from General Motors as a preferred supplier in 2013, is a Tier Two supplier and produces parts for French automotive supplier Plastic Omnium, and Magna owner Grupo Antolin, a Spanish supplier with global operations.
The company, which employs a workforce of 23, invested in two 550 tonne Arburg injection moulding machines last year. It already had one 550t and one 150t Arburg unit. Chippendale says: “In the last 18 months we have invested a £750,000 in the business which is located in premises twice the size of our existing Hitchin facility.”