Roger Philips, Commerical Manager at Agrihaul Engineering, explains how support from Construction Futures Wales has helped the company grow exponentially.

Agrihaul Engineering was established in 2010 in a bid to provide a complete steel fabrication service from its unit in Buckley, North Wales.

The company has since grown to employ 15 people and works with companies from across the UK and Ireland.

This growth has been aided by support from Construction Futures Wales (CFW), which has helped the company introduce lean construction methods and in turn increase productivity.

Commercial Manager Roger Philips, said: “We attended a meet the buyer event for the Welsh Prison in Wrexham which is where we met Dewi Williams. Dewi pointed us in all the right directions and still continues to do so.”

Through the Construction Futures Wales initiative, the Agrihaul team received 1-2-1 support from the staff at CFW which has been used to help the company introduce lean construction methods to company practices and procedures.

The advisor from CFW noticed that there were areas within the employee working environment that could be rearranged to improve efficiency. Following meetings with the team, they rearranged the tools and storage in the warehouse that the employees at Agrihaul use daily to reduce the amount of time taken to complete tasks.

Roger added: “Since receiving CFW support we have significantly increased our turnover which has resulted in increased staff numbers from 4 to 10.  One contract did take us up to 18 staff for over 4 months to achieve the successful completion of the project.  Since then another contract has taken our staff numbers back up to 20.”

Implementing lean construction methods into the daily working lives of the team at Agrihaul has substantially improved the productivity and efficiency of their warehouse, reducing wasted time and double handling of equipment and tools which Roger estimates has saved them over £50,000 annually and has also allowed his team to concentrate more of the services that the company offers to their clients rather than moving equipment around the warehouse.

They have also managed to secure two grants following the support from CFW which helped the company invest in new capital equipment. This included a new Kingsland metal worker, band saw, 10 tonne overhead gantry crane and a plasma profiling machine.

“The grants and purchase of equipment has facilitated in producing greater efficiencies and capabilities enabling us to secure project contracts that could have been placed elsewhere if we had not received CFW support,” Roger said.

So, what’s next for the company? Roger adds: “With a possible repeat order of twice the size we will need 30 staff to complete on time. This will be in association with an additional CAPEX investment of over £500,000 to automate the upstream part of the process with a robot due to be installed and commissioned January 2018.  The combination of extra staff, extra workshop space and extra equipment will enable Agrihaul Engineering to double its turnover in the next 12 months.”

His advice for companies who are eligble to receive support from CFW: “CFW are able to provide many different types of support. They organise many events where you can meet the buyer and or meet with other suppliers in the industry. It is a great way to stay up to date with opportunities from the construction industry.” 

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