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Investing in people
23 01 18


Yorkshire aerospace engineering specialist Produmax has won a new national award which recognises how its staff and management have worked together and developed their skills to grow the business.

The Sharing in Growth Ikigai trophy was handed over on Thursday (10th January) in front of Produmax’s 70-strong Baildon workforce as well as customers, local councillors, engineering trade organisations and educational representatives.

The Ikigai trophy was presented to Produmax managing director Jeremy Ridyard by Dr Bryan Jackson CBE, chairman of Sharing in Growth (SiG), the intensive government-backed programme designed by industry to raise the competitiveness of the UK aerospace supply chain.

Produmax, whose plant is in Sapper Jordan Rossi Park, Baildon, was selected for the Sharing in Growth transformation programme in 2014. Since then, with the support of Sharing in Growth, Produmax has developed its business significantly, opened new headquarters, changed its culture, created a farsighted strategy and delivered operational performance in line with world-class practices. The company is a supplier to world-leading aerospace companies such as Boeing, Bombardier, Moog and Meggitt, exporting 80% of the flight control components it manufactures overseas to countries including USA, Canada, China, Morocco, the Philippines, and Mexico.

As a result, the family-run firm has secured almost £20 million in contracts, won three new customers and grown its workforce by 40%. Having already consolidated two older factories into one new specially designed plant, Produmax has invested in a second factory which will open later in 2018 , supporting further growth and more jobs.

The award event was attended by VIP guests including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Safran Nacelles, BAE Systems and Senior Aerospace as well as Bradford City Council, Keighley College and the EEF.

 Produmax employees led a shopfloor tour that featured the many advances implemented with the support of Sharing in Growth. These included business improvement techniques, lean manufacturing cells, single flow process, lights out automation, new product introduction, new communications processes, manpower planning and problem solving. 

The event also celebrated the award of national qualifications to 14 Produmax staff as part of the Sharing in Growth programme.  They were presented with a range of qualifications including Level 3 NVQ extended diplomas in mechanical manufacturing engineering, Level 2 and 3 certificates in business improvement techniques, HNDs and HNCs in mechanical engineering.

Presenting the Ikigai award, SiG chairman Bryan Jackson explained that Ikigai was a Japanese word which meant doing something you love, are good at and the world needs. “Produmax are the embodiment of Ikigai in that they are good at producing something the world needs, they have grown the business and created a team culture where people are passionate about raising their skills to contribute to such a successful business.”

Accepting the award, Jeremy Ridyard said that Produmax’s growth and success relied on the capability and skills of its workforce and the support of Sharing in Growth as well as investment in a new factory and the latest engineering technology.

Finance director Mandy Ridyard said: “Our strategy is to grow our factory, grow our people and grow our business. We managed to consolidate two factories into one new one, introduce new levels of automation and improve our culture and brand exposure all at the same time. We know employee engagement is key to cracking the productivity puzzle and we have increased our employee engagement by 25% and increased our productivity by 32%. We are very proud of our achievements and will keep applying continuous improvement for continued growth.”

Luke Copsey started working as an apprentice at Produmax in 2012, having enjoyed a Saturday job at the company. He achieved an NVQ Level 3 in mechanical manufacturing engineering, a NVQ Level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques and an HNC in mechanical engineering. Luke, from Guiseley, said: “I love the culture at Produmax and the learning opportunities offered. And, having worked at the two old factories, I have enjoyed being part of Produmax’s development into a world-class company.”

 Said Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, who is responsible for regeneration at Bradford Council, “We are really pleased to see how Produmax is investing in its staff as we know well-skilled staff are key to productivity and business growth. We are pleased to see the business doing so well in Bradford.”

Satnam Khela, who is responsible for economic development at Bradford Council added:” We have been working with Produmax for 20 years and supported grant funding for their new building. We are delighted to see jobs growth come from that funding. Produmax is one of the brightest stars locally, regionally and nationally.” 

Said Councillor Val Townend of Baildon: “I am delighted to see business growth at Produmax and to hear about their activities and charity work in the local community. I am impressed at how they involve everyone in the company and take their views into account. They have invested to create a high quality workforce and I hope they continue to go from strength to strength.”

Denzil Lawrence, who is responsible for UK supplier development at Boeing told the Produmax team: “This is a very exciting time to be in aerospace as 41,000 aircraft are going to be built in the next 20 years.  Companies like Boeing rely on the skills of companies in their supply chain to be competitive.  Produmax has been constantly learning and adapting to meet the changing needs of the market, training its people to rise to the challenge. You represent the best of British so please keep going, and you will stay as world-beaters.”

The SiG programme is supporting 63 companies across the UK and is endorsed by Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier, GE, GKN, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Thales. It is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and more than £150 million in private investment.

With SiG support, the first 43 companies on the programme have secured around £2 billion in contracts to date – almost 20% of which is for direct export. Consequently, having secured more than 3,000 jobs, SiG is well on target to hit its ultimate objective of safeguarding 10,000 UK jobs by 2022.