Mr Cameron visited the successful Sussex firm to view its assembly lines that were brought back to the UK from China. The new production lines create 35 new site jobs in a tough economic climate and increase the number of its assembly staff on site employed by 50 per cent compared to before the reshoring.
Vent-Axia completed the reshoring of the balance of its domestic fan manufacturing, from China back to the UK, in January 2013 with the launch of three new production lines at its Crawley site. The culmination of a two year project, the new assembly lines doubled the company’s on site manufacturing of its residential unitary fans. The company invested over £350,000 in tooling for the new production lines, as well as investing in building works to incorporate the new manufacturing.
On his visit Mr Cameron toured the production lines with Ronnie George CEO of Volution, Vent-Axia’s parent company, and spoke to new staff that had joined the company since the reshoring.
Prime Minister David Cameron said, ‘I was very pleased to visit Vent-Axia to see what a positive effect reshoring has had on the company and meet the people who work there. Vent-Axia is a great example of a company that has brought manufacturing back to the UK, creating jobs for hard working people. As part of our long term economic plan, we will continue to do all we can to make Britain the best place to start, grow and do business.’
While at Vent-Axia Mr Cameron was also very interested to see a cheque written to the company by the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which paid for fans installed in 10 Downing Street in 1945. Having never been banked, the cheque takes pride of place in Vent-Axia’s reception.
Ronnie George, CEO at Volution Holdings, the group that owns Vent-Axia, said, ‘We are delighted Mr Cameron was able to visit our headquarters at Crawley yesterday and view our production lines. Reshoring the balance of our residential fan production to the UK made sense due to a number of factors not just from a competitive position, but also customer service and responsiveness is substantially enhanced when manufacturing our products locally.’
Also present at the visit was Henry Smith MP for Crawley who opened the three new production lines last year. The new UK production lines have improved Vent-Axia’s service offering allowing the company to manage stock levels to help with stock availability. The UK location also makes it easier for Vent-Axia to undergo the continuous development of products and ongoing design enhancements to meet customer needs, with the lead time for introduction of product enhancements or improvements reduced.
Vent-Axia employs 270 staff at its headquarters in Fleming Way, Crawley, West Sussex. The addition of 35 jobs at its Sussex site, including 20 new production staff and six service support staff, has been a welcome boost to the local Crawley job market.
As well as investing in the local economy Vent-Axia’s commitment to British manufacturing has seen the company further investing in UK logistics which has helped lower the embodied energy of products by reducing carbon emissions. A reduction in international shipping and flights has resulted in a saving of up to 15 tonnes of CO2 a year.