The current factory floor at Boddingtons
The past six years at Kent-based injection and contract moulder, Boddingtons, have seen “quantum leaps” in growth. Here, the company’s Directors tell BP&R what has fuelled its success and what it takes for a company to succeed in the med-tech sector.
Boddingtons, based in the South East of England, offers a comprehensive service to all market sectors - from product design and development, tool design and production to moulding, assembly, testing and industrialisation. Turnover at the company has trebled - from £5m in 2010 to £15m at the beginning of this year. Growth of seven percent is forecast for 2016; and the management group is confident of meeting a £28m turnover target by the end of 2020. But what is fuelling this growth?
The company says its growing – and award-winning – reputation for medical and healthcare moulding is helping fuel the expansion. The foray into this sector over the last six years has meant the company requiring niche roles and recruitment – particularly for specialists in financial, regulatory and quality support.
“We needed to get a new reputation firmly established in med-tech and technical moulding,” explained Tibbs. “Most people realise that med-tech business generally provides opportunity for better margins. The real benefit, however, is that once established, med-tech provides a much more stable and sustainable future.”
So what are the secrets in winning that med-tech business? “Open-mindedness is key,” Tibbs continued. “No company is too small or too big for us to do business with. Right from the outset, we made a point of working with start-ups who specifically demonstrated both drive, initiative and strong intellectual property.”
And a number of these start-ups are now beginning to produce significant sales. This includes Arc Medical, on behalf of whom Boddingtons won the ‘Industrial Product Design of the Year’ Plastics Industry Award.
“Med-tech can be a very attritional,” said Tibbs, “which is why we were delighted, for example, at MTI EXPO 2015 to receive 14 enquiries – all projects of exceptional merit. We are still delighted and are now poised to take two of those to commercial success. The pass/fail ratio may seem harsh for some – but that’s what the sector demands for success.”
Boddingtons also makes it easier for clients by invariably handling legal responsibilities for the products it makes. “We do this for a variety of reasons,” explained Tibbs, adding that “and it also sharpens up our own business and manufacturing practices to a very competitive level.”
One physical manifestation of this growth can now be seen in building work at the Marden-based site. Plans were set in motion last year to double the size of the company’s production by building an additional facility at the rear of the current plant.
Planning permission was gained in in Q1 2015 and building work commenced in Q2 2015. It is expected that the new building will be operational in stages, beginning at the end of Q2 2016.
An approved investment of £4.6 million has been earmarked to cover the new fit-out and additional capacity. Within the new Boddingtons facility, 50 percent of the space will be cleanroom manufacturing. This will provide two facilities close to each other, which offers ‘Risk Mitigation’ for Boddingtons customers. The additional building will, other than the cleanroom, be a large whiteroom manufacturing facility, along with a specialised assembly area.
Following this investment, and given its success at the MTI EXPO last year, the company will return to the medical tradeshow in 2016 to increase its push into this market.
“Successful manufacturers today not only need to make a great product,” Tibbs said. “Increasingly they need to master the arts of marketing – to see and be seen – and to clearly communicate services, strengths and benefits to target markets. Boddingtons is walking this talk as part of our ambitious growth trajectory. EXPO 2016 will play an important part in helping us achieve our aims and our sales targets.”