Wind power gives North East fabricator CFS a 300% sales boost

The rapidly expanding wind market has seen sales rocket at South Shields-based CFS

Complete Fabrication Services (CFS) in South Shields
Complete Fabrication Services (CFS) in South Shields

The growth in the UK offshore wind market has helped a North East manufacturer triple its turnover in just twelve months.

South Shields-based Complete Fabrication Services (CFS), which has been supported by the GROW:OffshoreWind programme delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), has seen sales rocket from £1.1m in mid 2013 to an anticipated £3.5m haul by the end of this year, creating an additional ten jobs in the process.

The growth has been driven by the company’s ability to take on larger products and successfully securing full class welding approval, two enhancements to its service that resulted in a string of new contracts to supply cable carousels, cable reel and deck grillages.

It is now turning its attention to creating a centralised 10,000 sq ft factory through a £1m investment programme which will give it the necessary capacity to grow and take on even bigger fabrication structures.

Should the firm’s business model be realised it expects to grow turnover to £5m by 2016, when it will also have a workforce of almost 50 people in South Shields.

The investment has been made possible by a grant worth more than £300,000 from GROW:OffshoreWind’s Flexible Enabling Funding.

“A significant amount of our work is bespoke and this suits companies supplying or working in the offshore wind sector,” said Darren Carlisle, managing director.

“We took a long hard look at our business two years ago and decided to invest in people and in automation, blending the two together to provide a range of solutions that are cost effective, offer excellent quality and can be adapted to different market requirements.”

“Currently we are based over three units and need to bring it all together in one dedicated facility to increase our capacity and productivity. The good news is we’ve found the ideal location and are currently in legal discussions with view to making the move in September.”

Complete Fabrication Services, which currently employs 26 people, has received extensive support from MAS, receiving strategic and financial assistance on managing growth and improving processes.

The latest help has seen Manufacturing Advisors Alan Whittaker and Chris Hylton work with the management team on preparing an application for Flexible Enabling Funding from the GROW:OffshoreWind programme.

This work included preparing the submission to demonstrate justification for expansion, business benefits and how the money will be spent.

In addition to this, supporting information in the form of an updated and segmented business plan – showing projected growth in the offshore renewables sector – was submitted.

“The £300,000 grant is going to be absolutely critical for us and is speeding up the relocation by at least six months…if not longer, “ continued Carlisle, who bought the business nine years ago as a one-man operation.

“When we are in the new place we should be able to take care of anything from a small £50 bracket to projects such as the £450,000 order for frames that host Remote Operated Vehicles for checking pipelines and underwater systems.”

MAS’ Alan Whittaker, how is heading up the GROW:OffshoreWind offer in the North East, added: “The growth in opportunities to supply into the offshore renewables sector has transformed the fortunes of Complete Fabrication Services and, encouragingly, Darren and his team are seizing the opportunity with both hands.

“They’ve recognised where the potential is and what they need to do to get there and I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure funding to make the relocation possible. At over £300,000 this is one of the biggest grants given out so far by GROW.

“We’ll be continuing to work with the firm on other projects, which will assist it to make continued business improvements to be more competitive and further impact the offshore renewables sector.”

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