Innovation drives new markets for Fairway Products
Growth in new markets
Fairway Products have designed and manufactured golf course equipment and greenkeeping tools from their Bury factory for over 20 years. The business employs five people and supplies hundreds of UK golf courses and facilities with technical golf related equipment, tools and a range of course furniture. Customers include Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), Royal Portrush and Royal St Georges Golf clubs, venues which are all frequently selected to host The Open, one of the four major international golfing tournaments which is held in the UK each year.
The business launched an e-Commerce website which has enabled them to diversify and export their golf equipment range to international markets. The business approached the Hub hoping to expand and improve its operations with a view to exploring these markets further.
International Market Opportunities
Jason Straccia, Managing Director at Fairway Products was keen to reach new international markets for their new range of technical golf equipment. He said:
“Our new designs are targeted at golf clubs who want to buy durable, high quality products that are the perfect solution to their needs. The new design improves performance, reduces cost and improves the products’ aesthetic appearance.
“Our in-house manufacturing process ensures that the highest standards of quality control are in place to cope with the most demanding of conditions on the world’s most prestigious golf courses.”
Jason approached the GC Business Growth Hub for support, and met with one of the specialist Manufacturing Advisors to discuss their challenges and business opportunities. Jason said:
“Our Advisor came on site to meet with me and the team and got to know the business. From this he produced a comprehensive Productivity in Practice audit report which identified some of the challenges we were facing and made a set of recommendations which would help us to achieve our growth ambitions.”
Developing Manufacturing Solutions
The business applied for a grant from the Manufacturing Growth Fund to procure the services of a design engineer to develop the tooling for the new products. The business was awarded a grant for 30% of the project value, and began work on the project.
The Hub provided advice on potential market developments and recommended that a new injection moulding tool should be sourced to cover both the UK (22mm centre hole) and USA (28mm centre hole) sizes - enabling access to global markets in countries adopting either standard, by engaging the services of a suitably qualified design and manufacturing consultant for the design and manufacture of a Universal Ferrule and Ball Cup Tray tool which would be able to be used for the manufacture of the two different sizes.
After originally planning a single tool for both Ferrule and Ball Cup Tray, during the development process the tool designer/manufacturer advised that the most cost-effective way forwards would be to create two new tools. The new tools have resulted in both new to the firm and new to the market products with a stronger design than anything else currently on the market.
In addition, the team received fully funded support from their specialist Manufacturing Advisor to develop standard operating procedures, intended to eliminate rework from production and made some changes to their supply chains which would reduce customer lead times.
“The support we have received from the GC Business Growth Hub has been invaluable for Fairway Products. Our Advisor has helped us to work smarter by implementing new processes on our production line and in our supply chains. This will serve to reduce waste across our operation and achieve additional capacity which will be essential. On completion of the tooling project we will be in a position to launch four new products, and start exporting more of our equipment to new markets.”
Martin Hyman, Specialist Manufacturing Advisor at the GC Business Growth Hub said:
“It’s fantastic to see such innovation from an established busines like Fairway Products. By identifying opportunities in new markets and products, they can expect to continue to grow. The next financial year should be very positive for the business, and they also expect to increase headcount in the near future.”
Having provided Fairway Products with advice through the 12 hour Manufacturing Assist, the business has been utilising the advice provided during the assist, right through to the present day. Improving its operational efficiency, introducing standard operating procedures for the work they assemble and continuing to develop its product offering - including the introduction of a new MiniRake™. An ingenious personalised alternative to using a course provided rake (important during the pandemic, to minimise the risk of transmission).
As a result of the support provided, turnover grew from £400,000 to £650,000. The development and growth of the business has resulted in the need to recruit an additional Full Time Member of Staff in a Manufacturing Operative role to handle the increased manufacturing activity, with 5 FTE Staff now employed by the business.
Additional Grant secured with continued support
Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the way businesses operate. Golf Courses and leisure related facilities have been closed and have seen sales significantly diminished. Some staff are now working from home, which is increasingly difficult (and in some cases impossible) due to the challenge of outdated IT equipment.
The Hub continued to support the client, scoping requirements for improved IT Equipment to improve efficiency in the office and enable home working - helping the business secure a small business grant to pay for the necessary updates. To facilitate the continued running of the day to activities, the business required new IT Hardware to support home working (whilst adhering to Government guidelines on 'working from home'). This has allowed the business to fully utilise its existing business Specific Software, and enabled secure communications and data sharing which in turn has improved productivity. The project has also allowed the business to reach out to a wider audience in recognition that face to face conferences and meetings have been (and will continue to be) significantly reduced.
The hardware provided by the grant will help to maintain and gain sales, initially safeguarding jobs, and then as business builds up, providing opportunities for additional employment within the business, to help fulfil an anticipated increase in orders.
It worked for Fairway Products - it could work for you too.
Our specialist manufacturing advisors are here to make your manufacturing business better. Book a free Productivity Audit for your site, develop your improvement plan and start accessing fully funded support to help you achieve your growth ambitions.
Martin Hyman, Manufacturing Advisor
Martin leverages the skills and knowledge gained from over 38 years’ experience working in and supporting aerospace, aviation, engineering and manufacturing companies, to now assist Business to Business (B2B) manufacturers across a broad range of Sectors, to achieve their development and growth ambitions.
He works with Company Owners, Directors and Senior Management teams, to understand their needs and ambitions, diagnosing and identifying areas for improvement across the areas of Finance, Manufacturing Strategy, Marketing, New Product/New Process Introduction, Operational Efficiency (KPIs/Lean/5S Principles etc), and Supply Chains, as appropriate.
To view Martin's full profile including technical capabilities and industry experience, please click here.