Innovation helps East Yorkshire manufacturer grow significantly

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Aug 2017

A COMPANY with a keen eye for innovation has doubled in size over the past four years thanks to on-going investment, innovation and a commitment to quality. 

Following a huge surge in demand, Bankside Patterson in Catwick Lane, Brandesburton, has ramped up its operations, with production doubling since 2013.

This has also led to a sizeable growth in its workforce, which now comprises 170 people – up from about 100 three years ago.

The company, which predominantly manufactures chassis for the caravan and holiday home industry, has over the past 18 months invested more than £2m in its plant and operations.

Now it is poised for further growth as it seeks to capitalise on new opportunities in the  sector.

Sales director Shaun Gadsby said: “Since January 2016, when we started the investment programme, we have invested in excess of £2m in the business.

“The first significant investment was a rollform machine to enable us to produce our Fusion Protech chassis, which is our flagship product.

“This year, we have bought a CNC laser cutter, which will give us significantly improved efficiency and quality. 

“We have also invested in new CNC punches to increase capacity and remove downtime.

“Meanwhile, our latest investment has been a major IT overhaul, to future-proof this part of the business.”

One of the catalysts for the company’s success was the launch of its Fusion Chassis range in 2010, which changed the holiday home market and it became market leader in under a year. 

The success of Fusion has been further advanced in its latest iteration – ProTech. Launched in 2015, ProTech has provided additional site and function advantages while also providing benefits to the manufactures from a build perspective.

While many people assume a move towards automation spells the end of jobs on the production line, Bankside Patterson has embraced new technology while growing its employee base.

Mr Gadsby said: “We do have a very strong family ethos in the business, so we have a duty of care to our employees. 

“Our philosophy is if we automate a certain job then we redeploy the person who was doing that job somewhere else.”

The company has been supplying the caravan and holiday home industry since 1959 and has worked hard to earn an enviable reputation for innovation and secure a large percentage share of the market, forging relationships with the majority of the large manufacturers in the holiday and park home sector – most of which also operate out of the East Yorkshire region.

However, this left it exposed to the downturn that began in 2008 and saw thousands of workers in the industry lose their jobs.

Mr Gadsby said: “It was painful at the time. We did suffer, but we had a responsibility to our staff and our customers to stay in business and come out of the other side.

“So, we took the opportunity to adopt a leaner manufacturing process and improve efficiency, as well as focusing on new product innovation.

“If that were to happen again, we would be better placed to cope with it because we are now better structured as a business.”

As well as providing chassis to the likes of Willerby Holiday Homes, Swift and ABI, the company also makes steel structures for modular buildings that are employed in the construction of fast-food outlets and petrol stations.

Mr Gadsby said: “The market is expanding. Traditionally, the caravan industry has been very holiday home- led. 

“Now, the industry has seen quite a change. A lot more parks are setting up, and people use the new products – park homes – as a full-time house.

“That sector is increasing quite dramatically year on year and so, for us as a business, there is a big growth opportunity in that area.”

In yet another investment, Bankside Patterson has expanded its delivery fleet with the addition of two new  
articulated trucks. 

“The new trucks are just a small part of our strategic investment at Bankside Patterson, but hugely significant,” said Mr Gadsby. 

“Our customers are of prime importance to us and offering them exceptional service is something we pride ourselves on and will always strive to enhance.”

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