Henry Colbeck, a £45m turnover company employing 150 staff in Team Valley, is confidently forecasting £1m of new turnover, thanks to the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP).  

Henry Colbeck, a family-owned and managed manufacturing business that supplies to the fish and chip market in the UK, accessed expert support from the MGP to gain ISO accreditation and obtain the Environment Agency permits that are essential to turn used cooking oil into a source of green energy. It will be using these new permits to put in place a new used cooking oil processing plant.

Chairman, Bill Colbeck said: “We had built up a lot of knowledge regarding setting up a safe, efficient processing plant, but we needed advice on obtaining the necessary environmental permits.  We had hit a bottleneck, preventing us from developing the project into a successful commercial venture.”

Henry Colbeck Financial Director, Paul Holliday, contacted the MGP looking for advice on how to go about obtaining the necessary permits.  He worked closely with BE Group and Improvement Architecture, who are delivering the programme on behalf of the North East LEP, as Paul explains:

“We found the response we received extremely positive and helpful.  We were able to use the MGP to get the help we needed and were immediately connected with Improvement Architecture’s environmental specialist, Tamma Carel.”

The MGP links experienced manufacturing business advisers with senior management teams, working together using a holistic approach to business diagnostic and improvement, to identify how to improve performance across all areas of their operations.

Tamma carried out a full review of requirements and, in less than four weeks, produced a work plan to achieve ISO 14001 accreditation plus the necessary Environment Agency permit.

Bill Colbeck added: “The work didn’t stop at simply telling us how to get the permit and preparing the paperwork, the MGP also helped us with developing our new business process to gain ISO 14001. We are now preparing for the Environment Agency audit in the full expectation of a successful outcome.  Once the new processing plant is in place, we expect to generate a turnover of over £1m within 18 months.

“Without the help and positive support of BE Group, Improvement Architecture and everyone involved in the MGP, we would still be struggling to try to understand a very complex process.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP said: “The Manufacturing Growth Programme supports the goal set out in our Strategic Economic Plan; to create more and better jobs in key areas of growth for the region.  It’s great to see the positive impact that the programme has had on Henry Colbeck and we look forward to hearing from other companies who’d like to pursue growth.”

The MGP pilot programme will run until July 2017 and aims to work with more than 80 businesses to create 160 new manufacturing jobs.  It forms part of the North East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan to foster growth within key sectors of the economy to create more and better jobs.

If you are, or could be, a North East manufacturer and want help to grow, visit www.ne-mgp.co.uk.