Family-owned precision engineering firm JJ Churchill of Leicestershire has secured more than £100 million in contracts, increased its headcount by 35% and its export forward order book from under £1 million to more than £37 million after five years on the Sharing in Growth productivity and competitiveness programme.
The Market Bosworth-based company was one of the first aerospace suppliers selected for Sharing in Growth in 2013 when its ambitions were to overcome risks caused by the oil crisis by expanding its aerospace export business.
Since then, with support from Sharing in Growth, it has redefined its strategy to focus on people, customers and new business development. As a result, JJ Churchill has increased turnover by almost 30% from 2015/16 and now has plans to hit more than £38 million and add around 20 new jobs by 2020. Consequently, the company has been able to make a £10 million investment in plant and equipment.
The Sharing in Growth programme at JJ Churchill’s represented a £1.1 million investment from the Regional Growth Fund with the company more than matching that, in time spend on business transformation. Sharing in Growth does not require any cash input from beneficiaries, just a commitment to dedicating time to improvement activities. JJ Churchill is now looking to continue its relationship with Sharing in Growth in order to maintain access to the programme’s unrivalled expertise.
Said executive chairman Andrew Churchill: “Sharing in Growth is an excellent example of the government and engineering working together to make our industry more effective, more efficient and future-proofed. This is increasing opportunity, sales and jobs.
“Working with Sharing in Growth, we have invested in our people, our efficiency and our technology so that we can delight customers by delivering quality products in full, on time and with world-beating competitiveness. Last year we signed one of our biggest ever long-term agreements worth around £70 million to supply precision machined blades to Rolls-Royce. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”
Examples of practical business transformation made at JJ Churchill include improvements to employee engagement, the visibility of mission, vision and values, business planning, the new product introduction process, supply chain management, cost-reduction, shop floor lay-out, processes and visual management, and staff were trained in Business Improvement Techniques NVQs.
Sharing in Growth has now helped aerospace suppliers across the UK secure more than £3.6 billion in contracts. This is equivalent to around 30,000 man years‘ work or securing almost 7,000 high-value jobs. The not-for-profit programme is so successful that it is providing a 60:1 return on public investment, with the majority of companies on the programme growing at five times the rate of their industry peers.
JJ Churchill was founded by Andrew’s grandfather Walter Churchill on Christmas Day 1937, as Churchill Components, to supply machined parts to Armstrong-Siddeley. When Walter was shot down during the air defence of Malta in 1942, the company was taken on by his young wife Joyce. Today, the business employs 164 people on a 16,000 sq. metre site with a further 5,000 sq. metres of workshops, manufacturing high precision aerospace gas turbine components as well as high horsepower diesel engine components and assemblies to global customers such as Rolls-Royce, Safran, Cummins and Siemens.
Said Sharing in Growth CEO Andy Page: “We are delighted to have made such a positive impact on a company with the proud engineering heritage of JJ Churchill. We know that tackling the UK’s lagging productivity is a multi-faceted challenge that requires a team like Sharing in Growth which boasts more than 2,000 man years of industrial expertise. We have the scale and intensity required by the advanced manufacturing sector as it faces the challenges of industrial digitalisation and Brexit.
“Investment in new technology or capital equipment per se will not improve productivity. Sharing in Growth is creating a virtuous growth cycle where improved productivity and competitiveness wins contracts which, in turn, provides the funds to invest in people, technology and growth to win even more business. Our exceptional results are testament to the learning capacity of ambitious supply chain companies like JJ Churchill.”
In 2018 Sharing in Growth delivered more than 700,000 training hours and continued to develop and innovate the programme in line with the demands of global competitiveness. This included adding an on-line hub to reinforce learning; a new directory of engineering innovation partners who can provide training in areas such as additive manufacturing and automation; and the introduction of a Lighthouse Team Leader Training Academy to develop the next generation of highly talented leadership.
There are more than 60 companies on the Sharing in Growth programme across the UK. Each company participates in a bespoke and intense training and business transformation programme which focuses on leadership, culture and operational capability delivered by SiG’s own 100 strong team of business coaches as well as a bank of world-leading experts including The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, Deloitte and the National Physical Laboratory.
Set up by industry in 2012, Sharing in Growth is endorsed by Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier, GE, GKN, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Thales because it is helping the UK advanced manufacturing supply chain to become more competitive and win a larger share of global aerospace contracts, typically by addressing a 20% cost gap and targeting 50% productivity improvement. In 2018 Sharing in Growth won the national Semta Innovation Award for improving the capability and productivity of over 10,000 people working in the aerospace supply chain.
There are limited places left on the government-supported Sharing in Growth programme. Companies interested in how the programme can improve their competitiveness and productivity should register at: www.sig-uk.org/apply.