Three Yorkshire manufacturers have received ringing endorsements after picking up an impressive five national awards at the EEF/Aldermore Future Manufacturing Awards held in London last week.
Biggest winner on the night was Steeton-based Acorn Stairlifts, which scooped two awards and was crowned Winner of Winners – a title awarded to the most outstanding and inspiring company out of all the national winners at the event on 27 January.
Acorn Stairlifts, which has been manufacturing and installing stairlifts for over 20 years and employs over 800 people in the UK, 1,400 worldwide, took gold in the Outstanding Export Award in recognition of its achievements in exporting into more than 80 different countries.
The company has invested heavily in overseas markets by setting up subsidiaries in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The company’s turnover in North America is now higher than in the UK and it is the market leader for stairlifts in the US.
Acorn Stairlifts was also named runner-up in the Business Growth Award with the trebling of its turnover in North America from £19.5m to £58.6m in the past four years. During this time, its worldwide exports have more than doubled from £35.7m to almost £80m and every nine minutes, an Acorn stairlift is installed somewhere in the world.
However, Acorn’s biggest award success on the night came when it was crowned Winner of Winners – further testament to its export and business growth success. Judges described the company as being truly inspirational and a great example of UK manufacturing success and growth through innovation in product, process and marketing, adding: “Acorn provides an inspirational story for other manufacturers and in a competitive market, the company has developed a unique and innovative product and process, which gives them quality, cost and above all, lead time advantages.”
Acorn was joined on the winner’s podium by another Yorkshire manufacturer, Lambert Engineering from Tadcaster, which makes and installs bespoke automation machinery for some of the world’s largest organisations and employs 185 people. Lambert Engineering won the Partnerships with Education Award which goes to the manufacturer that has made the biggest strides or found exciting new ways to work with education providers to promote engineering and manufacturing careers.
The final firm from this region to be recognised as a British manufacturing champion was Sheffield-based Birley Manufacturing, which employs 94 staff and makes interior fittings and rail carriage equipment. It was Highly Commended for the Smart Product Award for its design, production and launch of an innovative new rail carriage toilet unit.
All three companies were selected by a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts and academics and were up against tough competition from a range of dynamic businesses, small and large, from across the UK. Judges said the trio were inspirational and great examples of UK manufacturing success.
Dave Belmont, company secretary at Acorn Stairlifts, said: “Manufacturers are amongst the most prolific and successful exporters in the UK so to not only win the Outstanding Export Award, but also be named Winner of Winners, is a great accomplishment and compliment to our team.
“Acorn has spent the last 20 years focussed on carefully developing stylish, easy to use and affordable stairlifts designed to meet the mobility needs of people around the world. We are passionate about all aspects of our business and today this dedication and focus has paid off. We hope our success will inspire other manufacturers and encourage them to share their achievements too.”
Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director – Business Finance at Aldermore, said each Yorkshire company has proved that successful innovation goes beyond product and process.
“All three companies are inspirational – their ambitions have been driven through hard work, dedication and a high focus on what their respective business wants to achieve. They deserve this recognition and we wish them every success in the future,” he added.