Brompton Bicycle Company are close to completing the first stage of a massive investment programme in the Brentford facilities. The restructuring, valued at approximately £1 million, will provide staff with new offices, staff facilities and engineering and testing rooms. A shop floor refit is also planned, with the addition of further CNC machines and the switch to cell manufacturing. The move comes as a precursor to an overhaul of the companys entire manufacturing process. New machinery is already in place to ease bottlenecks experienced in the past in the machining of critical frame hinges.
Emerson Roberts of Brompton told BikeBiz: "Over the next few months, we will implement further changes designed to turn our factory into a world-class manufacturing facility."
The company has also reported strong sales figures, reporting that sales volumes are up by a whopping 24 per cent. Additionally, turnover rose by 27 per cent, with end of year revenue at £6.7m, up from £5.27m
Roberts said of the performance: "Both increases would be greater still but for the effective loss of a month’s production, as both our paint suppliers simultaneously went through a re-organisation."
To bolster future potential further, Brompton has doubled its staff numbers in just two years, an achievement, which suggests that UK bicycle manufacturing may infact be seeing a resurgence. In the financial year 2005-06, it stood at 43, rising to 81 in financial year 2007-08, and now, one month into the 08-09 year, the company has 86 employees.
To top this sterling employment progress off, Andrew Ritchie, inventor and founder of Brompton Bicycle, has announced that he will stepping down as managing director, making way for his chosen successor Will Butler-Adams, who has been with the company for six years, most recently serving as engineering director.
The announcement was made to a meeting of all staff in the company’s factory and HQ in Brentford, West London. Reflecting on the long and at times very difficult road that he and Brompton had travelled over the past 33 years, Andrew expressed his gratitude to the early backers of the business who had made it all possible and who had believed in both the concept and the future of manufacturing in the UK.
Roberts added: "Doubling our staff in two years, and the huge investment we are making in our manufacturing processes, show we’re confident about the future. The sales figures prove that it is possible to be a London-based bike manufacturer; you just have to be prepared to focus on quality above anything else and to offer consumers something they can’t find elsewhere, like genuine customisation."