GWR Fasteners: Diversifying Engineering with Star GB
As with any industry, the engineering supply chain takes many kinds of business to operate smoothly. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and vendors are all crucial elements of a bigger picture – so when a company changes its role, it can be a massive gamble. Shropshire-based fasteners distributor, GWR Fasteners, recently expanded their offering – which had previously relied on pure distribution – to also include manufacture of difficult-to-source components.
With the help of sliding head lathe specialists Star GB, the forward-thinking engineers dove headlong into a full production setup. As Commercial Director Jude Robinson explains, GWR had already found their niche. “Because we have online selling channels, we can produce products where we’ve identified gaps in the market, so we can put them on our shelves for sale.
So it could be the BA (British Association) range, it could be aluminium spacers, stainless spacers – and all of these are made on the Stars.” GWR Fasteners took delivery of their first sliding head lathe, a Star SB-20R Type G, in September 2014 and set to work manufacturing their own products. They immediately saw a surge in demand, and before long their orders had increased by a staggering 3000% – prompting them to install a second identical machine in June 2015.
Since then, they haven’t looked back. As well as the productivity and time savings afforded by the machine, the quality of the produced items has been a big hit with GWR’s customers and staff alike. Star’s machines have the capability to retain microns and repeatability to replicate the same high production quality even throughout extremely long batch runs. Managing Director Gary Robinson was more than happy to choose Star as the company’s machine provider.
“We wanted something that would give us the versatility to set up and run small quantities in a production environment, so that we could then produce large quantities. “The fact that you could run them overnight, lights out, means lean production times. We can run unmanned a lot of the time, so that obviously means we can be more competitive.” But it’s not all about the machines – GWR have a long-standing partnership with Star that pre-dates their move into manufacturing.
With Star’s support, GWR have made a great leap into a new area of industry and achieved impressive levels of success in their first years. Mark Anson, a sales manager at Star, has supported the enterprising GWR in their journey. “We’re very proud of the difference we’ve made to GWR Fasteners,” quotes Mark. “We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of success stories, but this one is particularly unusual. It’s not every day that companies make such drastic changes to how they operate, and we’re delighted t”o have been a part of that process.” “We always had the aim and the dream to become manufacturers, Jude concludes. “We’ve all worked together as a team with Mark and the finance company to help us realise our potential in manufacturing.”