Open all hours for £1m investment
A specialist laser cutting business has unveiled a state-of-the-art online system that will enable customers to get quotes and place orders 24/7.
Cannock-based Laser Process have spent the last year working with laser cutting IT specialists ipLaser to develop the new system that will bring an extra dimension to their customer service.
The Australian system – which the company has christened LaserQuote24/7 - will allow both existing and potential customers to obtain a quote within minutes any time of the day or night.
Laser Process managing director Dave Lindsey told Business Report: “There are a number of benefits to the new system. First of all it means that when our sales guys are on the road they can give customers a price almost immediately.
“For our customers it’s about us helping them manage their business more efficiently. A lot of people on our database are small companies in which the principals of the company spend their working days in overalls working on machinery and do their admin in the evening or at weekends.
“In the past, it’s been difficult for these kind of customers to get quotations but now they can go online and get a price virtually immediately. It’s about us fitting into our customers’ work schedules.
All the easy-to-use system requires is for customers to register and upload their specifications before receiving an online quote minutes later. Then, if they wish, they can make an order immediately.
Dave added: “We’ve already tried the system out with a few of our customers and they all really like it.”
These are exciting times for the business which operates from Upper Keys at Keys Park. They have also just installed two brand new, top-of-the-range laser cutting machines made by German manufacturer Trumpf at a cost of almost £1m.
The L3030 model has a cutting area of 3 metres by 1.5 metres with a 4 kilowatt laser and the L3040 has a cutting area of 4 metres by 2 metres with a 5 kilowatt laser capable of cutting up to 20mm in steel.
“We believe they are the Rolls Royce of cutting machines,” said Dave, “like everybody else we suffered through the recession. Before it we were buying a new machine every 18 to 24 months to increase what we’d got or to replace old stock. But due to the downturn we hadn’t had any new equipment for about four years so this is playing catch up really but we estimate that it’s an investment that should result in around a 35 per cent increase in capacity for us.”
Laser Process was established in 1990 and has always been based in Cannock, moving to its present purpose-built premises in 2002. Serving predominantly the automotive, architectural, mobility and motor sport industries, the company employs 40 people and last year had an annual turnover of £5m.
Dave said: “I firmly believe that we built our reputation on offering service and quality. It might sound a cliché but we genuinely try and treat our customers as our friends. We have built a large part of this business up on recommendation and reputation.”
New machinery installation - update
New machinery installation - update
Friday 15th July
All five machines now fully operational. We now have more capacity than we have ever had and it gives us the opportunity to catch up and then push forward with our sales guys chomping at the bit!
Thursday 14th July
Both new machines now up and running, problem is one of our older machines has been down for three days with an unknown problem. Engineers are trying to establish fault.
Monday 11th July
The 3040 is now up and running and it, hopefully, will not be long now until the 3030 is running too. By that time we will have more capacity than we have ever had, that should keep the sales guys quiet for a while. David Cave (photography) has been in to take some photos before the machines start to show signs of use.
Friday 1st July
All pieces of equipment have now been placed in their final positions, levelled and bolted down. Visually everything is now as it will be on completion. All that is required now is to complete the myriad of connections for power, water, gases and controls. we are hoping to have both machines up and running by next Friday.
Thursday 30th June
All equipment in place and ready for connections. Trumpf personnel and electricians in attendance. the whole installation is starting to look something special. It is amazing how much space the mezzanine floor is going to save. it looks as though, ultimately, we will be able to get six machines where we presently have five, and still have more free floor space.
Wednesday 29th June
10.00hrs The two new machines have arrived and are being unwrapped on the lorries. Engineers are in attendance to begin installation. The worst part of the whole process, for me, is about to happen - seeing half a million pounds worth of equipment swinging about on the end of a crane is not nice!
Monday 27th June.
Transport on site to remove older 3050. Everything back on schedule now and we have the rest of the day and all day Tuesday to have a clean up before the new machinery arrives on Wednesday.
Saturday 25th June.
Traditional Structures Ltd on site to install mezzanine floor. Slight issue concerning position of ladder but other than that all went well - a great job.
Friday 24th June.
Still encountering delays with moving middle 3050 but, by lunchtime, couldn't wait any longer to begin decommissioning of older one. by evening machine is decommissioned and moved far enough to enable installation of mezzanine floor.
Thursday 23rd June
Should be decommissioning old L3050 but delays in moving second L3050 mean we cannot lose another machine just yet. A lot of rescheduling going on and we should be back on target by Friday night. One bonus with not completing move of 2nd 3050 until tonight is that we have the other available overnight. That means Simon can sleep a little easier and Marcus, after the day he has had, will probably get drunk!
Wednesday 22nd June
Engineers in to move L3050 cabinets, a day later than expected. Fortunately we have left a buffer between the time allowed to remove old equipment and the delivery of the new. It looks as though we may need it! We are desperately trying to hold on to schedule but not helped by unexpected outside influences.
Monday 20th June
Engineers in attendance to sort out ventilation issues on L3050 prior to moving its ancillary equipment to a new configuration. This is to create sufficient space for new L3030.
Subcon 2011, NEC Birmingham
Subcon over for another year. it was a difficult show to judge as it was very busy in patches and quiet in others but the level of enquiries overall was pretty good. We have received orders already, so that can't be bad.
The new online quoting system was very well received, by buyers and the trade press. Give it a go on the Laser Process website
Best ever month for turnover
Business just keeps getting better and better at the moment and we’re absolutely delighted to reveal that March was a record breaking month for trade for us.
Turnover for the month was 10 per cent higher than our best ever previous month, which was way back in early 2008 before the economic downturn.
We’ve had increasing levels of sales for several months now and the March figures come on the back of the largest ever order for a single delivery recently which was worth more than £100,000.
All of which proves that the recovery is well and truly underway.
Laser Process managing director Dave Lindsey said: “This really is great news as the figures just keep getting better and better. It certainly does put a spring in everyone’s step knowing that trade really is on the up.
“But we will continue to work hard to make sure the upturn continues,” he said.
Largest ever order shows recovery is a reality
It’s great to announce that we’ve just won our largest ever order for a single delivery, which demonstrates there are definite green shoots of recovery in the market place.
The order has been placed for £104,000 of steel decking plates. There’s a tight turnaround for the job which will be a challenge but we’re sure we’ll be able to put everything in to the job to make sure it’s done on time.
Laser Process managing director Dave Lindsey said: “It really does give everyone a boost when we get a record breaking order like this and everyone is working hard to make sure we deliver on time, as usual.
“But it does show the recovery is an actual reality, it’s not just hopes or signs but actual orders, which is all very good news for the future,” he said.
New North West rep offers big boost
We’re hoping to open up new lines of business in the North West with the appointment of our first ever sales rep specifically dedicated to the area.
Craig Dwyer will be covering Cheshire, North Wales and Lancashire and takes up his post from the beginning of April.
Craig has worked in the steel industry for more than 18 years and joins Laser Process after being part of the sales team at ASD Steel Stockholders, based in their offices in Stoke-on-Trent.
Craig, 34, lives in Stoke-on-Trent with his partner Hannah and their four-year-old son.
Laser Process managing director Dave Lindsey said: “We’ve always wanted to have a dedicated rep for the North West. So appointing Craig to the post is a fantastic first for us and one that’ll be a great boost to company.”
Farnborough show proves a success
A big thanks to everyone who came along to see us at the The two-day show is the UK’s largest regional exhibition for manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting with more than 6,000 visitors this year.
With so many visitors and exhibitors there was a real buzz about the conference hall. We had lots of interest at the Laser Process stand and have already taken an order directly as a result of the exhibition – great result.
You can also come and find us at these exhibitions over the coming months -
- Made in the Midlands Expo, Bescot Stadium, Walsall, April 14, 9am-1pm.
- Subcon 2011 exhibition, at the NEC, Birmingham, from Tuesday June 7 to Thursday June 9.
Steel art works hit top gear
Our collaboration with national sustainable transport charity Sustrans is moving into top gear with a series of distinctive steel sculptures recognising both celebrities and unsung heroes.
We are set to make more than 200 steel art works, called Portrait Benches, for the charity placed alongside more than 70 new walk and cycle routes across the UK, celebrating well-known figures and community champions from each area.
A further three sculptures have been installed since the first portrait bench was put in place in the Afan Valley, for more see the June edition of We’ve also made a series of small gifts given to charity volunteers as a thank you. The mementoes featured small replicas of the portrait benches design, portraying a walker and a cyclist. They were presented to just a handful of the charity’s 3,000 volunteers who were each specially nominated for their exceptional dedication, top picture.
Catch our video on YouTube
Dave got his three minutes of fame in front of the cameras explaining the success of Laser Process over the last 20 years and giving a very positive assessment of the state of manufacturing.
In the interview for the exhibition audience Dave explains our success has been built on updating technology, to make sure we use the best equipment available, and on great customer service, with staff seeing customers as friends and treating them as such.
He also emphasised that manufacturing is on the resurgence with the sector being talked about in a positive manner.
He said that barring some areas of uncertainty the future for us and the sector generally looks very promising.
Portrait Bench art works scheme marches on
Laser Process's link-up with national transport charity Sustrans to produce more than 200 steel art works has another successful sculpture in place with two more Portrait Benches being unveiled in Havering (left) and Broxbourne.
The characters represented by the statues have all been chosen by the local communities and are part of an ongoing project funded by Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity.
The chosen characters for the London Borough of Havering are Harry Eccleston OBE, artist and bank note designer, Dick Bouchard MBE, founder of Romford Drums and Trumpets Corps and King Henry VIII.
For their Portrait Bench, voters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, selected US airman Lieutenant Ellis, who sacrificed a chance to bale out of his stricken aircraft in order to avoid a built up area. He, along with his crew of nine, perished in the crash. Two symbols of the local community, a canoeist and a badger, were also chosen.