Manufacturing boss says he can see 'green shoots'

29 April 2013

The director of a South Yorkshire electronics firm which is taking on more staff says the industry is showing signs of “green shoots”.

Pat Cummins, managing director of VC Electronics, which manufactures circuit boards for anything from cars and boats to street lights and tracking devices, predicts turnover will more than double this year.

The company is in the process of merging with a former rival firm and has taken on ten of its staff, as well as a further five people, at its factory in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley, bringing the total number of staff to 33. And there are plans to take on another five in the next six months.

Turnover, at the company, which is backed by business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, is predicted to rise from £1.07m last year to £2.7m this year, based on firm orders and expected repeat business. This is in part due to the merger, but Pat said mainly due to new business.

The company is moving away from traditional markets like automotive to those connected with the environment, such as light sensors and smart meters.

Pat said: “We can manufacture printed circuit boards for any application and if you think about it these days just about everything has a circuit board in it.

“But the markets that are growing are particularly those with a green agenda and it is a very exciting time to be involved with those. If any one of a number of new areas takes off our turnover could be even higher than the £2.7m we are predicting.”

VC Electronics is involved in trials of LED streetlights, which use less electricity; daylight sensors that can adjust street lights, and electronic systems that reduce the energy used when a motor is started up. They are also trialling tracking devices for railway cabling to help reduce theft.

Pat, who set up the company in 1998, said he had spotted some recovery going on in the manufacturing industry.

“Components such as semi-conductors are getting harder to get because demand is picking up. I think that is evidence that there are some green shoots appearing, but who knows if it sustainable or whether it will dip.”

The free support from Enterprising Barnsley had also helped VC Electronics grow, said Pat.

“Their support has been invaluable. I have been in business for 15 years and during that time I have been approached by a lot of organisations that say they can help, but so often you get nothing out of it.

“There has been very little that has really worked until I came across Enterprising Barnsley. Their help is really practical and not just ticking boxes.”

Among areas Enterprising Barnsley has supported VC Electronics with are sales and marketing, website design and recruitment.

Shaun Higginbottom, of Enterprising Barnsley, said: “Successes like that of VC Electronics show that manufacturing does have a future in Britain and that there is some recovery going on.

“This is where many of the jobs of the future are and that is why it is vital we support such companies.”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

The programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC). 

 

Note to Editors

Attached photograph shows Pat Cummins in the factory.

Pat can be contacted on 01709 899025 or at pat@vcelectronics.com

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is part financed by the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/erdf-regional-guidance-yorkshire-and-the-humber

For more information about Enterprising Barnsley go to www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at martinbeasley@barnsley.gov.uk

Additional media contact: Kate Betts on kate@capitalbmedia.co.uk or 01226 766900/ 077927 64891 

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