The Watch Factory, Prescot

The Watch Factory, Prescot

Robinson Manufacturing (RML) is delighted to be working with Vistry, supplying a joint truss and joist package to the ongoing development of the Watch Factory development in Prescot.

First deliveries were in May 2021, and the site is expected to be completed in 2023.

All 88 plots (80 family homes and 8 bungalows) are all for partnership housing, delivered by Vistry to the Livv Housing Group, providing a mix of affordable rent, shared ownership, rent to buy and older peoples accommodation in Prescot near Liverpool.

The local area has a strong historic character set by the Grade II listed Watch Factory building located to the south of the site. Originally the home of the Lancashire Watch Company, the factory is a significant part of Prescot’s local history and was converted into an extra-care scheme in 2018.

The industrial language of the factory combined with the existing terraced streets has given the site a unique character which has been built on in Phase 2 to create a development that has a strong relationship with the existing neighbourhood and provides a mixed housing community.

The development, shortlisted for the Housing Design Awards, includes 3 apartment buildings and 88 houses. The new mixed tenure family housing brings a different vibrancy to the site to complete the regeneration of a former industrial area into a complete residential community.

If you’d like to talk to RML about developments on any scale, please email us or call our team on 01933 279597.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Introducing Joinery – the Planer Moulder

Introducing Joinery and the Planer Moulder

Didn’t know Robinson Manufacturing had its own joinery? Based at our East Midlands factory in Wellingborough, we operate a wide range of equipment, making anything from porch kits to gallows brackets. Over coming weeks we’ll give you an insight into some of the larger pieces of equipment we run as well as they type of work we undertake.

Head of Bespoke Timber Products, Mat Harbour, talking about RML’s joinery capabilities: “The equipment we use allows us to make a wide range of products to complement our joist, truss and timber frame operation, reducing the number of suppliers housebuilders need for timber products,” he explained.

One of the core pieces of machinery is the 5 Headed Planer Moulder, which does exactly what its name suggests.  It planes rough timber from the raw stock sizes, down to the required finished size.  It also has the facility to add a moulding to the timber before the motorised feed pushes it out of the end of the machine.  This gives us the ability to produce anything from window boards and fascia to skirting boards or picture rails!

How does it work?

The timber enters the machine and first runs over the cutter on the bottom edge, working at a maximum width of 230mm. Then to the fence side at a maximum depth of 120mm. The near side comes next with the top edge finishing the planing work.  The final pass over the cutters adds any moulding required.

At maximum speed, the planer can work through 24m/minute with the spindles rotating at 6000rpm.

Find our more

If you’d like to talk to RML about joinery products, just email us or call our team on 01933 279597.

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

The Impact of In-House Training

In-House Training – The Impact

When Matt Davies, Head of QESH, joined Robinson Manufacturing (RML) at the start of 2020, the company was spending a significant amount on third party training provision for essential skills and Health & Safety courses.

One of the skills Matt has brought to the business is his training qualifications and experience, which he has applied to a number of key programmes including:

Forklift Training

Adding fork truck ‘train the trainer’ qualifications to his PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) meant that he could deliver forklift training to anyone in the business and now runs an ongoing programme of training new starters at all levels, as well as regular refreshers designed to keep staff safe at work.

Initial training takes five days, with a further three to get staff to intermediate level. Refresher programmes last for a day.

All this can be worked around Matt’s other responsibilities, a much more flexible and effective way to ensure forlift training needs are kept up to date around the business.

Managing Safely

Matt is also accredited to run IOSH (The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) Managing Safely courses. When bought in externally, this can represent a significant cost, but in-house provision has allowed RML to roll this out to a much wider internal audience.

Other Benefits

Like all businesses, RML has a legal obligation to deliver training for tasks or associated tasks that are carried out on site, and the ability to run a significant amount of training in-house offers substantial benefits, including:

  • Detailed knowledge of RML’s processes allows Matt to tailor course delivery, in particular by giving examples that are specifically relevant to the business
  • Matt’s visibility across all sites gives him the opportunity to reinforce how tasks are carried out after training and put corrective measures in place if required to make sure everyone is working safely
  • The ongoing relationships Matt has built with employees across the business have allowed him to transform training from a dull necessity to an engaging and enjoyable process
  • A reduction in training costs without compromising on training delivery

A Commitment to Training

One of the things Matt has changed since he started at RML is in changing the culture around training. It is no longer perceived as something that is just a necessity; training has become recognised as an important – and enjoyable – part of all our colleagues’ working lives.

Branch Manager Tom Carter has recently completed the IOSH Managing Safely course: ““It was brilliant. I was very anxious, but Matt was spot on. It was very beneficial and really opened my eyes up to a lot.”

In Conclusion

Running this vital training in-house alongside his team’s other responsibilities in the business (HSE, Fire Safety, Quality, Maintenance and Facilities) can be challenging, but Matt also enjoys it: “It’s always rewarding to train people so they can carry out their roles to the best of their abilities and also gives them opportunity to progress in their roles,” He explained. “Having all this knowledge can help their personal development and change how they do and see things not just in work but in life too.”

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Capacity and Resource Planning

Capacity & Resource Planning

What do you do when orders are through the roof but raw materials and people are in short supply?

With exceptional demand continuing, supply chain allocations and covid-related staffing issues stalking the construction sector (and much of UK manufacturing) for nearly 2 years, Robinson Manufacturing’s Head of Production, Jamie Wilkins has had his work cut out.

RML has also grown rapidly – it is three times the size it was just 6 years ago! Making sure RML deploys its large-scale manufacturing capacity effectively in the face of these challenges has required a nimble and adaptive approach.

The resulting innovations have not just allowed RML to continue to service its customer base through difficult times but have improved how we operate across the board.  

  • Newly introduced Capacity Planners work closely with all departments to make sure capacity is being utilised across the country.
  • To allow us to service as many sites as possible each week, an individual site’s weekly floor call offs might be limited to what they can use

As the business has grown and the pandemic has thrown in additional challenges, weekly cross functional team meetings have been introduced – easily facilitated by the video call technology that few had even considered using 2 years ago:

  • Production Overview meetings across the business deal with the proactive measures needed to meet delivery targets around the UK, including our Scottish factory in Fife.
  • Transport Planning meetings to make sure our in-house fleet is fully utilised covering call offs for each factory.
  • Business Development and Operations joint meeting to continue to engage all areas of the business and ensure we are delivering effectively to customer and business needs.

“Some of the challenges are very much ongoing, so our teams continue to re-plan and review where required, particularly as we react to the supply allocations we are still experiencing,” explained Jamie, continuing: “However, I’m confident that the measures we have put in place as a leadership team, the exceptional commitment of our people and our proven ability to take a nimble approach have put RML in the best possible position moving forwards.”

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.

Kickstarters and All Rounders

Kickstarters and All Rounders

Robinson Manufacturing (RML) has been making good use of the Government’s Kickstart programme since it was launched as part of HM Treasury’s Plan for Jobs. Part of the launch of the scheme, with a virtual visit from Dr Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during an early lockdown, RML was also visited by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who met some of our Kickstart team at Wolverhampton last summer

We are currently advertising for a final batch of Kickstart recruits before the scheme is wound up later in the year. This time we have been approved to take on a further 20.

Our experience with the scheme has been greatly positive, as head of Production Oversight Darren Cross explains: “The Kickstart programme has allowed us to bring in new and younger talent, and we have found our recruits to be very committed – many of them from previous recruitment rounds are now in full time permanent jobs with us.” You can see the impact the scheme has had on our age profile here.

With this round, RML has taken the decision to advertise a single all rounder job description, giving Kickstarters the opportunity to explore roles in production as well as in supporting office roles. Darren again: “The business has discovered some exceptional talents in previous intakes, and we believe that giving recruits the chance to experience different ways of working gives them more change to find a longer term role that works form them as well as for us.”

Recruiting from the Kickstart scheme has not been without challenges; many have either never had a job, worked as part of a team or had an appraisal before, so we have found we’ve needed to help them understand work ethics and culture. Darren sums up: “Being in a position to give people a step on the ladder of a productive life is always a good thing to do, and reinforces RML’s late founder Tim Robinson’s approach to people. It also provides a development pathway for existing team leaders, who have had to develop their skills to provide the right level of support.”

For more information, call us on 01933 279597 or click below to request a quote any timber engineered products today.