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Easter Ross firm set to double its workforce

20 June 2016

An Easter Ross precision engineering firm is expected to more than double its workforce over four years as part of a £650,000 expansion programme.

Evanton based Shandwick Supply Company (SSC) has expanded its premises and began recruiting after securing a £210,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to accelerate growth.

The company has already increased its workforce from 11 to 17, including the recruitment of a young trainee. Staff numbers are expected to reach 23 by the end of the four years.
Established in 1995, SSC has a reputation for capability, accuracy and speed of response. It has a good long term client base with a high level of repeat business.

The company has seen steady growth, particularly in the past three years, from a diverse range of sectors. The main growth has come from clients requiring complex and intricate work, often at short notice. By expanding its premises, introducing new cutting edge processes and employing more people it will be able to continue meeting this growing demand.

The investment is enabling SSC to reorganise existing machining capacity, invest in additional heavy computer controlled machining capacity while also introducing highly specialised Electro Discharge machining (EDM). This will enable it to expand its services for existing and future markets.

In particular it will enhance the company’s capacity to take on large component machining for clients across the energy sector. It will also be able to accommodate more orders at the other end of the scale for very small components.

The plans were welcomed by Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, who said: “This is excellent news for Shandwick and for Easter Ross. Shandwick is a valuable local employer of skilled jobs with innovation at the heart of its future growth plans. This level of investment by the company demonstrates real commitment to the area and its workforce and will put it in good stead to service expanding global markets in future. The public sector investment by HIE in this development will accelerate the company’s growth and bring forward the opportunities for the company and for its current and future workforce. I very much welcome that.”

Commenting on the HIE investment, Susan Addison HIE’s head of business growth in the area, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the expansion of Shandwick Supply Company.

Energy is one of our priority growth sectors. Shandwick has grown steadily over the years and is in an ideal position to meet the increasing demands of the industry. Quality jobs, such as those supported by the firm, help attract more people to the area and contribute to the local economy.”

Shandwick Supply Company’s managing director, David McLaughlin, said: “With demand for our services continuing to grow we reached a pinch point through lack of workshop space. Our site had room to expand, but despite being in good financial shape, we could not achieve the funding level required to make the ambitious plan work. We approached HIE, who liked our plan, and very quickly and professionally got us the extra funding to allow the plan to proceed. Extending our computer controlled capacity for heavy machining and adding the new EDM processes is a major step forward. However the most critical factor is having a highly trained and motivated workforce. We are investing heavily in training and have a good balance of experienced personnel working with trainees. These are high tech jobs requiring real skill and commitment with good rewards.”

The new facility covers an area of 540m2 and is one of the very few workshops in the area with a heated floor, essential for the hi-tech machines. With a 7m square door and 10 Tonne overhead crane there is no problem handling large workpieces. The building incorporates some of the highest specification insulation available to ensure running costs and CO2 footprint are as low as possible.

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