Growth strategy creates 60 jobs at Hydram Sheet Metalwork

A County Durham manufacturer has created 60 jobs in 18 months thanks to an ambitious growth strategy founded on sustainability and world-class production

Cameron Ross, Andrew Robertson, Lynn Thompson and Marek Bidwell
Cameron Ross, Andrew Robertson, Lynn Thompson and Marek Bidwell

A County Durham manufacturer has created 60 jobs in 18 months thanks to an ambitious growth strategy founded on sustainability and world-class production.

Hydram Sheet Metalwork, which supplies metal products and components to blue chip companies including Alexander Dennis, Caterpillar, JCB and Thorn Lighting, also increased turnover by 60% during the same period.

As part of its desire to win new contracts in the earth moving, transport and white goods markets, the firm invested significant amounts of time and money into securing the ISO14001 environmental accreditation and ISO18001 health and safety standard.

Backed by strategic assistance from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the management team has also committed to Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) training for a number of its workers, enabling them to meet the performance standards expected by high profile clients.

“The management team made the conscious decision to continue to invest even during the recession and this has helped us to capitalise on the upturn,” explained Andrew Robertson, Safety, Health & Environment Manager at Hydram.

“Our aim is to become a long-term manufacturing partner and our customers expect the very best in terms of quality and environmental performance, something that we achieve by implementing proactive management systems and leading from the front.

“It’s an approach that is working for us as turnover has increased significantly over the course of the last eighteen months and, with future prospects looking equally promising, we’re expecting further growth.”

Hydram, which now employs 180 people at its 100,000 sq ft site on Chilton Industrial Estate, raised its turnover from £5.6m in 2010/11 to £7m in 2012/13. Its forecast turnover for 2013/14 is around £10m.

The company has been working with MAS since 2009, accessing grants in order to attain the ISO14001 and ISO18001 accreditations.

As a result, it has reduced energy usage and cut general waste by over 60%. No environmental incidents have been reported at the firm since 2009, which supports its aim of being a sustainable manufacturer.

“Being able to tap into external expertise speeded up the process and gave us the additional support that allowed us to work towards attaining the standards without compromising our core business,” Robertson said. “The APQP training was delivered at a crucial time for us and ensured we could pursue contracts with new clients.”

MAS Advisor Lynn Thompson said: “Hydram is a great North East manufacturing success story and is a perfect example of what you can achieve with long-term planning and sustained financial backing. It also received fantastic external support from Marek Bidwell at Bidwell Management Services.

“The creation of 60 jobs is a real local boost and all of these positions have been filled with the potential of more to come.”

Hydram is currently in the midst of a £4m investment drive that has seen a gradual move towards more automation.

Recent additions to the company’s plant include a Salvagnini panel bender, a Panasonic robot welder, an Adige tube cutting laser machine and an ELECT-52 tube bender.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer