"It is our sustained investment in R&D, personnel and facilities that enables us to introduce new products to the market while also providing the high level of service our clients have come to expect from the Meech brand," explains Chris Francis, CEO at Meech International, before elaborating on the substantial financial growth the company experienced in FY15-16. "We are extremely pleased with our performance this year. We have seen a global increase in sales of over 25%, which is very satisfying and reflects the hard work of everyone involved."
The first quarter of the financial year saw Meech's facilities in Oxfordshire go through significant restructuring to accommodate separate build areas for its AC and DC static control systems, with the aim to increase production capability, as well as improve process flow and productivity. Furthermore, in order to meet higher production demands, the company also increased production capacity, with the number of work stations rising by 66%.
"What we have done is to optimize our environment," explains Francis. "We have grown from being a successful family-owned business to a successful multinational business with interests in many markets. With the exception of some assembly that is done in the USA for the local market, all our manufacturing takes place in the UK, with 85% then exported around the world. Our production facilities need to adapt to reflect this increasing global demand. To achieve this, we had to look at making all areas as efficient and productive as possible."
The expansion has not been solely physical for Meech, with a number of appointments taking place throughout the year. The UK, USA, China and Belgium offices have all increased their number of sales engineers, while the marketing department has also grown with new members of the team in both the UK and China. A new business development coordinator has also joined Meech in the UK. A number of production operatives have also joined the team following the expansion of the Witney premises.
Furthermore, Meech continues to invest in its in-house engineering and R&D capabilities, with newly created roles in the engineering team, including project design engineer, research and development engineer and assistant project engineer. These additions allow the team to remain at the forefront of technology, developing both new and existing ranges and working with customers on specific projects. This investment highlights the importance Meech is placing on engineering and R&D in the future development of the company.
"We expect this growth to continue into 2017," Francis concludes. "Our aim is to double our sales in the next five years and, to achieve this, we need to ensure we have the right people, technologies and facilities to meet the challenge."