It was our honour to welcome Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, to visit our Alma Street site in Smethwick, on Friday 4th February. In the last 10 years, this facility has increased its manufacturing capabilities and capacity significantly; specialising in perforating and forming metal to support continuous growth across our core business sectors including automotive, aerospace and construction.
With over £3 million of planned further investment from 2022, we were delighted to brief Andy and his team on our ambitious expansion and growth plans. These imminent plans will serve to create more jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for the local community as well as firmly establishing more sustainable practices in manufacturing and logistics.
Andy is renowned for his proactive commitment to ‘levelling up’ in the West Midlands, characterised by his latest ‘renewal plan’ that promises to deliver new jobs and apprenticeship schemes, better transport links and more quality housing focusing on unused brownfield sites in the region. He was encouraged to hear of our existing links with local colleges and universities, promoting internship and apprenticeship schemes to students and graduates in relevant fields such as design, engineering and manufacturing. We look forward to exploring additional opportunities to engage with local education centres in the near future, with more work placement and apprenticeship opportunities soon to become available at Ash & Lacy.
Accompanied by Ash & Lacy CEO Dr Jonathan Evans, Andy was also able to visit our brand-new automotive production facility on site. The move into a larger, purpose-built factory is now nearing completion and boasts major capital investments in new machinery to improve capacity and efficiency. Our ongoing contracts with major automotive OEM’s Jaguar Land Rover, Mini, McLaren and Bentley have been the catalyst for these investments which include a new state-of-the-art e-coating booth and chemical etching machinery.
But that’s not all we had to share. Just this year we are also making multi-million-pound investments in CNC panel bending, CNC roll-forming for load-bearing profiles, automated profiled sheeting lines for industrial envelopes and new press technology for fabrication processes. It’s a lot to cover during a short visit, but we were extremely grateful to the Mayor for his time and kind words of admiration and support for our contribution to manufacturing excellence and local employment during an exciting time for Ash & Lacy.