Biz Growth Case Study Feb 24

Success Story: A & M EDM Ltd secure over £600,000 in grants to increase manufacturing, sales and jobs

“In 2002 my ambition was to become sustainable sub-contractors offering EDM (electronic discharge machining) manufacturing. The reduction of the Midlands toolmaking and automotive industries created opportunities to grow the business into other sectors such as aerospace. The advice I’d give to anyone starting today is to add value to every customer and continuously reinvest in equipment and employee training”

Mark Wingfield, Founder of A & M EDM Ltd.

“A&M is an example of the world-class engineering in our region”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Innovative Manufacturing Grows Success

From start-up beginnings in 2002 with two employees and one machine, A & M EDM Limited fast forwards to 2024 with 84 employees, 80 machines and an annual turnover over £8 million. A&M is an award winning business and the current Make UK Midlands and East region SME of the year.

How did A & M achieve this phenomenal growth? Since its launch by Arthur Watts and Mark Wingfield (hence the name), the business has had an entrepreneurial driving force behind the business’ growth. Success has been achieved through ambition, resilience and seizing opportunities.

Mark Wingfield now leads the business with his team, and together they have created an award-winning engineering solutions company in Smethwick which provides precision manufacturing services to sectors including aerospace, automotive, Formula 1 and motorsports, and deep sea and space exploration. A & M engineers complex precision components in varied materials from thermoplastics to aluminium, Inconel and titanium.

Investment and Business Support that Drives Innovation and Growth
Mark has worked tirelessly to ensure the company’s story is one of growth, powered by entrepreneurship, innovation, and skills development. By being open-minded to the support on offer from external organisations such as Business Growth West Midlands, he ensures that the business accesses opportunities that serve the values of the business.

Between 2014 and 2022 the business received grants totalling £607,000 from a variety of providers for activity such as investment in machinery, innovation projects and digital marketing, as well as invaluable tailored support from the region’s accredited Business Advisers.

The Growing Team and Importance of Apprenticeships

A & M is committed to training the next generation of engineers. The company currently has five apprentices, with nine other staff that have advanced from apprentice level including two section managers.
Working with Dudley College, A & M has delivered an Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship since 2014, focusing on both the technical aspects of the job but importantly soft skills too. Apprentices continue to be an integral part of the team and future planning of the company, with a focus on retaining these skilled workers through their careers.

Thrive at Work Programme Benefits for A & M

Thrive at Work is a workplace commitment that promotes employee health and wellbeing. The team at A&M was delighted in becoming one of the first small and medium manufacturing businesses to receive the Thrive at Work bronze award for workplace wellbeing in 2020.

Having accessed support from the team running the Thrive at Work programme at the West Midlands Combined Authority, it became the catalyst for A & M developing a healthier, more productive workforce. Policies were implemented including return to work interviews after absences, and a Staff Forum and a successful Cycle to Work scheme were introduced. Employees felt valued as individuals, with one becoming a Mental Health champion and sharing his own experiences with mental health challenges. This is a real example of how external business support can help businesses to grow not just financially but also from a personnel wellbeing perspective.

The future

The future of manufacturing represents an integral challenge and opportunity for the West Midlands, particularly to drive industrial decarbonisation, net zero and further modernisation of the economy. Manufacturing SMEs will continue to be at the heart of this drive and transition, as critical producers, innovators and providers of value across the economy and society. Yet they will only be able to achieve their best with the support of Business Advisers who can refer them to the full range of opportunities available.