Stand by the MAN

A unique manufacturing collaboration is embarking on a major expansion drive that could secure £7.5m of new work and create in excess of 150 jobs.

MAN Mec ComThe Midlands Assembly Network – a nine-strong collective of world class manufacturing businesses – believes 2013 will be a year of expansion as new projects come online in the automotive, electronics and renewables sectors.

It is expecting the growth to come from domestic customers and overseas clients, with the launch of a new website set to support the concerted marketing drive.

The group has also appointed a dedicated Business Development Manager to go out and sell ‘the MAN difference’.

“There’s a lot of negative talk about manufacturing output slowing down and if we’re not careful we’ll talk ourselves into another recession,” explained Tony Hague, Chairman and MD of PP Electrical Systems.

“We recognise how tough it is out there, but we prefer to be positive and look at what we can do to seek out and exploit new opportunities. Talking across the nine firms in the group, there is definitely a sense of new projects starting after months of prep work.”

He continued: “With what we’ve got planned, I would expect us to add £7.5m of sales in 2013 and this should lead to nearly 150 jobs – some of whom will be apprentices. It’s important we create that pipeline of future engineers.

“We’ll also be looking to invest over £2m to aid this expansion. This will involve new machinery, training programmes and the continued introduction of lean processes.”

First established in 2006, the Midlands Assembly Network is made up of nine members including Advanced Chemical Etching, Alucast, Brandauer, Barkley Plastics, FW Cables, Mec-Com, PP Electrical Systems, SMT Developments and Westley Engineering.

Each company offers a different engineering solution, ranging from high volume precision pressings, electrical control systems and tooling to PCB assembly, wire harnesses, specialist fabrication and injection moulding.

Together, they boast ten world class manufacturing facilities, employ nearly 550 highly skilled professionals and hold industry quality accreditations, such as TS16949, AS9100, UL508 and SC21.

“In order to support our expansion, we have invested heavily in the new website (, which provides everything you need to know about MAN, the companies involved and what we do. This provides us with a global platform when pitching for new work,” added Tony.

“The appointment of Steve Gaston as our first ever dedicated Business Development Manager is another major step forward. He has been involved in manufacturing for more than 40 years and with the Group since it first started.

“He will be charged with sourcing new leads, building relationships with strategic partners and making in-roads into key sectors, including automotive, aerospace and energy.”

Steve, who started his career as a commercial Apprentice at Jaguar in 1969, picked up the story:

“Traditionally, most of our leads have come through existing relationships or attending events – we’ve never had a dedicated resource and strategic approach to generating sales before.

“We’ve already identified the first three sectors we’re going after and we have a number of new clients visits already in the diary. 2013 is going to be an exciting year.”

MAN will be attending three exhibitions this year, starting with Southern Manufacturing in February.

For further information, please contact 0845 034 6676, visit, or follow MAN on twitter @man_group_