New Balance has been honoured in a scheme that champions North West manufacturing.
The company, based in Flimby, was highly commended in the Business Improvement Award category of The Manufacturing Institute’s 2007 Business Awards, which celebrate the hard work, commitment and achievements of the region’s manufacturers during the past year.
New Balance has grown from a small US-based manufacturer of athletic shoes to a major force in the international footwear market. When its management team was challenged to increase turnover and meet growth objectives they originally planned a new factory. Instead, a new cellular layout and best practice manufacturing techniques were introduced into the existing works.
The impressive results include a 35 per cent productivity improvement and a 35 per cent reduction in space, which has saved the company the £1.5 million cost it had earmarked for the new building. In addition, improved process inspections have led to a matching improvement in ‘first time’ quality.
Says Dr Julie Madigan, chief executive of The Manufacturing Institute: “Winning these awards is a huge challenge for any company in what is the largest manufacturing base in the UK. There are companies with the drive and ambition to take on the world’s best and create a vibrant and successful manufacturing sector for this and future generations.”
Says Andy Okolowicz, New Balance’s general manager at Flimby: “New Balance remains steadfastly committed to domestic production. We are proud to receive this highly prized commendation and to fly the flag for the best of British manufacturing.”