Car parts firm bucks auto trend thanks to IfM

By Jill Perez,2014-05-15 14:07
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Car parts firm bucks auto trend thanks to IfM

    Car parts firm bucks auto trend thanks

    to IfM

    For immediate release

While car giants Ford and Chrysler battle global economic recession, and GM, the

    world’s biggest motor maker is saved from extinction, a Suffolk firm is bucking the trend.

The collapse in demand for new cars has had a devastating impact on some of the

    leading global manufacturers, and has hit smaller supply firms hard.

But for Leiston-based company Newton Commercial, a world leader in manufacturing

    car trim for classic British and European cars, business is on the up.

The firm, which employs 50 people, has seen a rise in sales and has taken on additional

    staff to cope with demand.

Newton Commercial, set up in 1978, produces more than 13,000 lines for worldwide

    sales, predominantly to wholesalers.

The family-owned firm specialised in providing parts for cars like the Morris Minor and

    original Mini, but with a diminishing market, it knew it had to do more than just increase

    its product range to grow and secure its future for the next generation.

Operations Director Jonny Newton contacted the Institute for Manufacturing to help

    develop a long-term strategy for the firm.

A complete review using the IfM’s unique range of business tools and expertise enabled

    the company to produce a strategic plan of action focussed on beating the challenging

    economic climate

Mr Newton explained: “The number of cars we were manufacturing for was reducing and

    the client base was getting older, it was clear that for the long-term survival of the firm

    we needed more products.

“I needed someone with manufacturing experience who could help me realise my plans

    for the business.”

The IfM worked with the firm to examine all areas of its operations. One of the first

    recommendations from the IfM team was a move away from making stock to

    manufacture on demand. The result of this change of strategy in the last year alone -

    and set against the backdrop of the worst economic downturn since the Depression - led

    to more than ?70,000 in cash enhancements, and freed up an additional 20% of physical

    space which could be used for additional manufacturing capacity.

“We are an old style manufacturer, we cut things with scissors, we make things with our

    hands, we didn’t all go to university, but these guys at the IfM gave us validation of the

    things we were doing right and gave us direction.

    I feel that working in partnership with the IfM, I got a very clear pathway to help the business go forward.”

    With the help of the IfM, the company introduced new products and created additional revenue streams, which Mr Newton said has safeguarded the future of his business.

Notes for Editors

For further information contact:

Rob Halden Pratt

    Communications Officer

    Institute for Manufacturing

    01223 748266


Newton Commercial

    Newton Commercial was formed in 1979 by Richard and Vera Newton, in response to demand from classic car enthusiasts for hand crafted, original specification trim. Latterly, Jonathan their son, joined the Company and is carrying on their good work in running the Company in conjunction with Vera and Richard. The company celebrated its 30th year in 2009 and has grown to become one of the largest companies of its kind in the World. More information on the company

The Institute for Manufacturing

    The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in

    management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice.

    The IfM works closely with industry, at a regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive. This work brings benefits to both parties. Industry receives practical solutions based on the latest applied research. The university receives live feedback to help set the agenda for new research.

Funded help for small businesses from the IfM

The IfM has developed the Manufacturing Transformation Programme (MTP)

    specifically to help small and medium-sized manufacturers.

It helps develop sustainable financial performance improvements, by re-focussing their

    business strategy and strengthening key capabilities needed to execute it, such as

    quality, supply management, delivery performance and product innovation.

The programme is straightforward, efficient and results-oriented, requiring the minimum

    level of time and resources. A number of fully funded places are available for eligible

    manufacturing companies in the Eastern region. More details are available at

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