A “can do” culture and a practical knowledge of the capabilities of lasers has helped Cutting Technologies to build up an impressive client list that includes a wide range of businesses from across the country.
“We all worked with lasers back in the days when they were run by technicians,” says Jane Robinson, who, only last week, was named Manufacturing Business Woman of the year at the Barclays-Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards.
“We have grown up knowing a lot about how the process works and what is possible – plus the fact that we all have a “What happens if I press this” sort of attitude,
“I don’t think anyone here ever reads the instructions. We just want to make the machine work and love the challenge of being able to do things that others can’t.
“It’s about using the equipment, the people and the processes in the best possible way – and that doesn’t mean using the equipment in the way the manufacturer says for what you might traditionally think it should be used for.
“Machine manufacturers have told us “You can’t do that with a laser” when we were doing it 15 years ago. The machines’ specifications are written so that people don’t break them and then sue the manufacturer.”
The company also puts some of its success down to its open door policy, which encourages existing and potential clients to visit, and its willingness to collaborate closely with clients over design.
“A job could involve a couple of hours of programming and be cut in three minutes or 40 minutes of programming and take three hours to cut,” says Jane Robinson.
Either way, Cutting Technologies doesn’t mind and that willingness to collaborate and the firm’s focus on quality is helping it to regain business that previously went to China.
“Years ago, we might make a prototype and a few product batches and then the business would go to China, but more work is staying in the UK now,” continues Jane Robinson.
“People have been getting samples done in China which are beautiful, but the same isn’t true of the production runs.
“They don’t have control of the quality and some of it is so poor that they are having to throw 20 per cent of it away. Lead times can’t be guaranteed and with shipping costs on top of the labour costs, it has got to the point where they are saving nothing and it is causing them heartache and grief.”