Our members have been hard at work during the current pandemic so we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to shout about some of the fantastic work and achievements our members have recently obtained.
Thus, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to share a fantastic achievement for Suffolk based Ant Group, trading as Antistate and Integrity Cleanroom, who was recently recognised with an esteemed Queen’s Award for Enterprise, International Trade. This included outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years.
Founded over thirty years ago with a £2000 loan from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust by Suffolk businessman John Hensley, Ant Group is now an award winning global enterprise forecasting £20m+ for 2020, trading in 60 countries with 55 full time staff employed in the UK, EU and the US. The group delivers innovative packaging, specialist ESD and cleanroom consumables to the electronics, healthcare, pharma, biotech, defence & automotive sectors as well as providing global service, supply chain management and procurement outsourcing to manufacturing companies worldwide.
Antistat began working with Marconi on radiation-hard Silicon on sapphire wafer projects for space defence and SATCOM before changing direction to support the boom in personal computers, mobile phones and tracker-ball technology and targeting blue chip electronics manufacturers. Before long Antistat became a well-respected pan European supplier of ESD production consumables with a strong portfolio of products, services and customers and a reputation for being a ‘safe pair of hands’ and incorporated in the US in 2016.
European Market Growth
Integrity Cleanroom was formed in 2014 as the company looked to European diversification into new markets with cleanroom consumables identified as a good fit. The company has long been an essential part of the supply chain and overall support needed for Health Services, PPE suppliers and the wider medical supply sector. It has remained open during lockdown working hard to boost capacity through its supply chain network and prioritise stock for healthcare workers as the world fights Covid-19. Having just launched in the US with a brand new ecommerce platform and a dedicated team of professionals in Texas, Integrity Cleanroom is well positioned to serve the massive influx of US med tech and semiconductor businesses relocating to the state providing a huge export opportunity throughout North America.
Catching up with ANT GROUP CEO
Commenting on the award, John Hensley, founder and CEO of Ant Group said: ‘This is global and national recognition of our success. To be able to acknowledge, celebrate and recognise the fantastic growth and success of our business is a huge morale boost for the whole team as we fight Covid-19. It illustrates that hard work and endeavour do not go unrecognised and will spur us on to even greater things.’
What’s Next for ANT GROUP?
Now in its 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. This year, 220 Queen’s Awards have been announced for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).
Ant Group are looking forward to celebrating its award with a presentation from the Queen’s representative at their HQ in Bury St Edmunds and during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners at Buckingham Palace.
The PCE GROUP of Companies, were recently announced winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, International Trade.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Quality Manager Steve Mortlock, curator and author of a victorious Queens Award for Enterprise application (International Trade) who gives us the lowdown on the application process and what it means to Team PCE.
PCE Group Background
Founded in 1961 by Ernest James Cook, Poolcraft took the first steps of what has become a family odyssey, in building the PCE GROUP of Companies. Poolcraft started life as builders of leisure boats; enjoyed by thousands of British Tourists and Holiday Makers, who visited the world-famous waterways of the Norfolk & Suffolk’s Broads National Park.
The PCE GROUP was formed in 2018; combining the skills, expertise and synergies of PCE Automation (Suffolk) and both db automation and Premier Bowl Feeders of Leicestershire; with a strategic foot at each end of the A14, one of the main export arteries of the UK.
The PCE GROUP operate within a number of sectors, producing cutting edge, world-class automation solutions within;
• Ocular, Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries
• Laboratory and Clean Room Environments
• Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
• Industrial Automation Sector.
Accredited in Quality Management (ISO 9001) and as a Safe Contractor, The PCE GROUP of Companies demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the highest standards of engineering excellence and to the environment.
Welcome Steve. How did PCE come to apply for a Queens Award?
During an informal discussion at a Norfolk Chamber of Commerce networking event in 2018, MD James Cook outlined his ambition to apply for a coveted Queens Award; a globally recognised award which would recognise where we have excelled as a business and underline our future growth ambitions, with a royal seal of approval.
How difficult was the application process and what recommendation would you make for others applying for the first time?
Instigating the application was a relatively straight forward process, as there are countless guidance notes each step of the way, as you would expect from a government portal process. The questions themselves however were rightfully more stringent and demanded pin point focus and articulate, well considered responses; covering the vast spectrum of selection criteria.
Some of our suppliers are previous winners of the award, so my first approaches were to these contacts and to reach out to the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for any valuable guidance they could provide. I would recommend reaching out in the same way where possible.
During these initial conversations, it was mentioned many times that a very low proportion of first-time applicants are ever successful at the first time of asking. This acted as a real catalyst for me to ensure that everything was on point and gave me a stronger focus. Accuracy is everything, so check, check and check again.
How did you find the communication from the award organisers?
Very clear, concise and to a strict timetable. There were very clear rules to follow and indications of when particular milestones of the application process would occur. We always felt safe in the process and knew what would be happening next.
What was the reaction to the news of PCE’s success?
An early morning text from MD James Cook, confirmed how thrilled he was, coupled with a socially distant nod to our victory on arrival at HQ.
I was initially stunned, which quickly gave way to pride and excitement for Team PCE, who have worked incredibly hard to drive company growth.
I have been with PCE a relatively short amount of time (3 years at time of writing) so am personally thrilled to have brought this one home for our formidable team.
What is next for the PCE GROUP?
We have capitalised on growth opportunities within the Ocular, Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries, which has helped us to enter new territories and add clean room automation to our range of skills.
Our strategy is to grow our involvement within these industries and to continue exploring new sectors to disrupt, with our world class automation.
We also intend to continue investing in our team and our infrastructure, to ensure we are in the best position to grasp the growth opportunities that arise from winning this prestigious Queens Award.
PCE, Your partner in automation….
With special thanks to Steve Mortlock for sharing this fantastic achievement with NAAME and all of its members. Keep up the fantastic work.
Berry M&H Plastics
Award-Winning Health and Safety
Berry M&H Plastics specialise in the production and decoration of high-quality plastic bottles, jars, flexible tubes and closures. The following message has been shared from M&H:
‘During late 2017 we embarked on a 5 year plan to achieve recognition for safety excellence, driving improvements at all levels of our business. In order to accomplish this we required a target to help change behaviours and drive advancements with our people, process and procedures. The British Safety Council’s Sword of Honour is one of the highest accolades achievable globally. In order to qualify you first need to attain a 5 star audit before consideration. After completion of our first audit we achieved 4 stars; a great start. Our second attempt fared better with full marks of 5. We are now delighted to have gained further recognition with this current International Safety Award and aim to follow up later this year with the Sword of Honour!’
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NAAME Engineering Success
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