Continuing their ambitious growth plans, North Shields based Clavis, is celebrating two years this month since company directors Andrew Punton and Mark Errington took over the business.

Leading British technology manufacturer, Clavis, established almost 40 years ago, has gained an enviable reputation across the globe. Recognised as the industry leader for designing and manufacturing belt tension measurement equipment and automotive handbrake setting equipment worldwide, their innovative tech assists customers through an array of bespoke production line solutions.

The last two years have seen large investments in capital assets including machinery and tooling, plus growth in their R&D department to facilitate their ongoing research and development into product innovation and new technologies.

2019 saw the business expand into new designed-for-purpose premises on the Cobalt Business Park in North Shields. The move enabled directors to streamline efficiencies in a larger, modern building and further enhance their high-quality product offering with their growing teams working collaboratively under one roof.

Innovation and product development

The company has continuously improved and evolved over the last four decades to design and manufacture a wide range of products, from automated industrial refrigerator doors to bomb disposal robots for police forces and the military. The past two years have born further innovations with three brand new products joining their varied portfolio:

  • New and enhanced version of their well-known Gusto tool
  • Laser pulley alignment systems
  • Closed loop belt tension systems

Their expanding product range speaks volumes about their capabilities in the automotive sector, their established place in this industry is just one area in which Clavis is highly respected.

Staying ahead of new trends and industry needs, Clavis has successfully diversified and created new opportunities across a range of sub sectors including electric vehicle producers, transport refrigeration unit manufacturers and industrial marine engine manufacturers. Wherever a manufacturer in any sector with a conveyor pulley system that requires laser alignment, Clavis has a solution to improve efficiency, reliability and accuracy on that production line.

Digital transformation and R&D

Digital transformation has also been a key highlight of the last two years. One of the first tasks when re-positioning the business back in 2018, was to launch a new website. Improving product pages with added technical details, demo videos and extra information in the form of e-brochures all added up to greater value and heightened accuracy on this first step of the customer’s journey.

Research and Development has been fundamental over the last two years to keep Clavis at the forefront of product development. Prior to Andrew and Mark taking over the business, R&D wasn’t a dedicated department. Clavis now has a dedicated team of three, focused solely on R&D and innovative product development. Two team members hold master’s degrees – from Coventry and Herriot Watt universities, whilst another team member has a PhD from Newcastle University. Clavis has grown partnerships with these universities, which underpins their educationally driven ethos.

Valuing our people

Clavis’ talented pool of expertise underpins the business now and into the future. Everyone in the business, from those who have been with the company for a long time, or new recruits, every individual has an important role to play in the future of the business.

This marks another distinct difference looking at the business today versus in 2018 – the business’ new senior leaders were passionate about instilling the desire to innovate and continuously improve. Knowing that being open and adaptable to change would build resilience and agility across the business, Andrew and Mark allowed staff to evolve – moving away from a micromanaged environment to one in which the development of all team members is embraced instead of hindered.

With the implementation of a more official structure, with clear responsibilities, the whole team are now seeing the benefits as individuals can clearly relate their role to the business’ growth and feel confident that their own development is aligned to that.

Andrew Punton, director at Clavis, states: “We are a technology-driven organisation and as such we know that the key to broadening horizons is embracing new skills and applications that our people bring to the business.

“Empowering our people and encouraging self-sufficiency has unearthed many ideas and solutions that otherwise may not so easily have been found.”

Mark Errington, director at Clavis, adds: “The existing team were very welcoming of our new approach and direction for the business. People were very keen to be part of the process – to grow and drive it. The improvement in working conditions was recognised and because Andrew and I both came from the shop floor and had worked our way up within the business; we had a thorough understanding of what was and wasn’t liked, as well as what needed to change and why.

“This insight, coupled with a desire to succeed, was instrumental in shaping the direction for the business and the necessary changes we have made over the last two years.”

Mark started at Clavis as an apprentice in 1995 and has been part of the business for 25 years. Andrew started in 2011, adding another cumulative 9 years to the duo’s experience. Having worked closely for over six years, it quickly became apparent that they worked very well as a team and although stepping up to manage the business back in 2018 was going to be a challenge, it was one which Andrew and Mark were ready and able to take on.

A bright and exciting future

As the team continue to look for new and innovative ways to develop their products, the future looks bright for this forward-thinking business. In parallel with continuing to satisfy and nurture relationships with their existing customer base, the management team have identified huge potential to expand their reach to new customers who would benefit from using their cutting-edge solutions.

Mark adds: “We are very solutions oriented. Most of our products are built specifically to suit a client’s need and each tooling changes according to specific requirements from the client.

This bespoke approach is indicative of our mindset – typified by our collective pride in what we do and what we produce, the whole team is committed to product and service quality, both of which are real competitive advantages of ours.”

Andrew adds: “This ethos extends into our organisational structure and the way we treat our people. We have created a great working environment where people want to come to work and strive to be part of something both innovative and forward thinking.

“The team recognise that we truly value their own progress and development, just as much as that of the business.”

Having totally modernised the company; not just materially by way of fixtures and fittings, but in process and mindset. Andrew and Mark have clearly given the business a new lease of life and want to keep taking the business to the next level to see how much more they can achieve.

Ever-evolving to meet the demands of today’s global markets, expanding the business and product portfolio offers major opportunities for Clavis to continue to diversify and grow as a business.

If you are an assembly maker looking for a bespoke solution, find out more about Clavis and explore their innovative product portfolio online.