Ministers visit to Oldbury UK caps off 150th Anniversary | Oldbury


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Ministers visit to Oldbury UK caps off 150th Anniversary

Ministers visit to Oldbury UK caps off 150th Anniversary

A third generation family owned West Midlands engineering company, which manufactures specialist equipment for the defence, aerospace and security sectors, today completed its 150th anniversary celebrations with a visit by Britain’s new Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne MP.

Oldbury UK, based in Wolverhampton, makes a wide range of land systems and ancillaries including enhanced mobility trailers, integrated platforms, heat shields and environmental shelters – some of which have been supplied to UK MoD as Urgent Operational Requirements for Afghanistan.  During the visit, the Minister met the company’s owners, senior management and employees, toured the plant and reviewed examples of equipment supplied to defence customers, including UK MoD.

Unveiling a plaque to commemorate the company’s 150 year milestone, Minister Philip Dunne said, “Oldbury UK has an illustrious history responding to the calls of our Armed Forces for the latest developments in military technology and I am honoured to be here in Wolverhampton to mark its 150th anniversary.  

“The Government is committed to ensuring that our Service personnel are provided with the very best equipment available. This can only be realised with the dedication and responsiveness of small and medium-sized companies like Oldbury UK, who play a vital role in the MOD’s supply chain right across the country.

 “From what I have seen here today, it is apparent that Oldbury UK has embraced the Government’s call for manufacturing firms to develop and diversify their businesses, invest in innovation and look confidently for new opportunities in world export markets. This matches my aspirations for the Defence industry more widely and I congratulate the company for leading by example. It is this agility, flexibility and responsiveness that will help drive our economy in the right direction.”

Thanking the Minister for his visit, Group Managing Director, Richard Skan said, “We are very proud of Oldbury’s heritage and achievements – from the components it made for carts and carriages in 1861 to the complex and innovative solutions it manufactures today for customers such as UK MoD. That capability has been highlighted this year in Oldbury UK successfully becoming an accredited member of FATS 4, the Framework Agreement for Technical Support. Minister, we take our custody and the future long term development of our businesses as seriously as we take delivering added value for the customers they serve – such as your department. We are also passionate about our people – many of whom have worked within the businesses over many years. Our success is in no small way due to them and your visit is both recognition and a great encouragement for them.

 “Here in Wolverhampton, with our now co-located businesses, Oldbury and Boughton Engineering, we have successfully brought together two of the longest established and most highly respected British engineering businesses – with combined histories which add up to over 250 years of experience and excellence. Their combined resources now provide us with the versatility and flexibility to be able to respond to a broad range of design and engineering requirements. Importantly, involving us as early as possible in the requirements capture process enables us to add value and then tailor the design and system componentry to precisely integrate with the platform. 

This approach has been proven already in real life practical delivery terms – where we have shortened important UOR lead times and deployment into theatre by months. Indeed, in one case, our partner Prime was awarded a special commendation by the Chief of Defence Materiel. It is that type of innovative, ‘can-do’ and ‘hands-on’ engineering – for which we British are famous, coupled with our focus, commitment and ambition, that has led, largely at the behest of our end-user, Prime, Tier1 and Tier2 customers, to our natural growth into full programme management and project integration – and we are delighted to have been able to show you examples of that work today”, said Richard Skan.

Group Chairman, Roger Skan added, “Our family still upholds the business style and culture with which my father founded the company ... we quietly get on with the job to the very best of our ability. Our businesses – Oldbury, Boughton Engineering and HV Skan, the original specialist glass business founded by my father in 1954, are all based here in the heartland of British manufacturing. I both endorse and thank you Minister for underlining the Government’s view that it is SME manufacturing businesses like ours, which will play an important role as our economy recovers from what has been a very difficult and challenging few years”. 

South Staffordshire MP, Gavin Williamson, who also attended part of the event said, ”This area has one of the highest skills bases in the country – and the education and training facilities to support that. It is companies like Oldbury, which attach such importance to investing in their people, which will help to rebuild Britain’s competitive manufacturing economy for the future”.