Washington manufacturing firm gets six-figure boost

(l-r) Mark Irving of Irving Ramsay, Michael Cook of Orwin and Jane Siddle of NEL.

(l-r) Mark Irving of Irving Ramsay, Michael Cook of Orwin and Jane Siddle of NEL.

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A WEARSIDE firm has been handed a “six-figure” funding boost.

Orwin, in Washington, is one of the UK’s largest automation and special-purpose machine manufacturers, working with a range of clients around the world.

Last year, the company, which has almost 100 employees, secured investment from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, who administer the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, to help introduce a range of system changes and improvements.

The move has proved so successful in boosting its number of contracts that NEL has now provided a second undisclosed “six-figure” investment.

The latest funding will support the management team in further improvements to working methods.

Finance director Michael Cook said: “Securing our first Growth Fund investment gave us both the capital and the confidence to implement a lot of the ideas that we’d long been talking about, especially around improving our business control and IT systems, and it’s helped us really change the face of the business.”

Founded in the mid-1980s, Orwin was primarily established to be a supplier to Nissan, but grew over time to service much of the region’s manufacturing industry, and subsequently expanded its operations both across the UK and into Europe and the U.S.

The company operates across the aerospace, automotive and electronics through to food and drink, healthcare and plastics industries.

It provides a “one-stop shop” service for customers, from initial ideas through to final delivery.

Mr Cook added: “Our focus is now on securing smaller numbers of higher value projects, which naturally requires greater flexibility in terms of working capital, and on ensuring we develop the strongest possible relationships with clients by demonstrating a forensic understanding of their requirements.

“Introducing the process and development team has made a big difference in this respect, and identifying early in the development process how projects can be taken forward with maximum efficiency is obviously beneficial for both us and our clients in terms of time and money.

“Our growing number of younger recruits are very comfortable with using the new technologies that are central to our operations, and our aim is to bring in even more graduates and apprentices as their predecessors develop their skills and move up the business.”

The £23million Growth Fund sert up to help ambitious companies that are looking to expand and create new jobs across the North East to achieve their goals.

The money comes from the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund and a regional development agency.