Two years ago news of H.T.Brigham was presented on this site. Since 1947 this company has supplied metal presswork and metal stamping to home and global markets in several sectors, including the automotive, construction, medical and gas industries.
We read on the Made in the Midlands website that as part of an on-going investment programme they have just installed a fully reconditioned Cincinnati HME 150 ton power press to assist with an increasing number of orders requiring finishing/secondary operations.
There is an interesting blog on their website. One post is about manufacturing and engineering sector’s growing skills gap. HT Brigham particularly needs young toolmakers.to augment their ‘aging and decreasing skills pool’. Apprenticeship schemes have long been an effective method of recruiting and nurturing engineering talent but there are risks, especially for smaller businesses. The low minimum wage of £2.68 per hour (though like HT Brigham, many companies will choose to pay more) apprenticeship grants and local jobs fund initiatives, can make this an appealing option financially.
However, with most apprenticeship programmes combining shop-floor and college based training for an average of 3 years, there is a significant long-term commitment on the employer’s part. Colleagues will need commitment and patience to nurture the individual through the process which may take them away from their regular duties to some degree. And after all this investment there is no guarantee that they will stay. Setting out a clear career path, continual appraisals and pay scale increments for apprentices, encourage commitment. Contractual tie-ins are another way for a company to protect its investment for a given period of time.
HT Brigham Director, Simone Thomas, wrote about the role women have to play in the manufacturing environment
“It is crucial that we continue to nurture and inspire the next generation of women astronauts, prime ministers, athletes, board directors and more and I shall carry on in my matriarchal role of trying to lead a group of dedicated females to further success in manufacturing”.
H.T. Brigham was founded by a husband and wife team in a garden shed, utilising one hand press and delivering the components locally in the sidecar of their motorbike.
Following Hugh Brigham’s untimely death, Margaret Brigham successfully took the business forward at a time when female business leaders were few and far between, especially in the manufacturing sector. She continued to do this up until her death in 1997. Ms Thomas values female colleagues at H.T. Brigham – ‘an invaluable asset to a company with loyal input and meticulous attention to detail’. She points out that though this market sector may not have an obvious appeal for women it can provide a challenging and stimulating career path for young female recruits down a variety of avenues within manufacturing.
HTB’s blog advised: Think Global Act Local…
H.T. Brigham has the option of competitively sourcing many products and services on a national and international scale, but has certain requirements which will always be better satisfied by a local supplier.
The trend for sourcing from the Far East appears to be reversing. ‘Supplier response’ can be crucial, with a focus on time to market, quick turnarounds and short lead-times. A local company will take less time to deliver, at a lower logistical cost than a company which is further away. They can be more reactive to changing demands and urgent requirements, more flexible with batch sizes and delivery schedules and can quickly address any problems.
The benefits of having a localised supply chain, competitive on price or quality, can be considerable and with over 70% of its suppliers based in the West Midlands area, HTB is taking full advantage of the region’s skill base.