Each day our CEO, Ben Reed will give a fresh perspective on HamiltonJet, the lockdown, or the world in general. Something to pass the time of day whilst in COVID-19 lockdown!
Whenever I look at one of our jets being crated up it always amazes me that just a few weeks earlier it was mostly raw materials. We make well over 90% of the jet by weight ourselves: casting it from steel, aluminium and AB2; machining it from wrought bars of metal; in some cases welding it from plate.
In the months prior to shut-down we had won several orders where our main competitors were both quoting excessive lead-times. In one case we heard it was over 10 months to ship product. Our experience shows that this is not acceptable to our customers and fortunately our process delivers much faster than this. But have you ever considered why?
We understand that our main competitors have a ‘light weight’ approach towards capital investment. One even says this much on their website! Rather than investing in the machinery to make their own product they favour buying parts from suppliers. This great at lowering capital costs, but it means they are much less in control of their quality, delivery and product costs.
On the other hand, we truly make our product. Our lean, cellular, make-to-order process ensures minimum inventories and also allows components to be easily class-approved at the point of manufacture. Can you imagine how many castings we would need on shelves if we did not have the capacity of cast in-house? In industry this is called ‘vertical integration’ and it is a key part of our success. We own the product from design through to manufacture and we have the power to step-up of wind-down output rate at our discretion and at fairly short notice.
This is never more an asset to us than right now. We are currently locked-down for 4 weeks, but we know that once we ‘wake’ the production-machine we will be back on stream fast. No need to wait for dozens of suppliers to get over their own COVID-19 troubles. Whilst we still have some suppliers, the reduced number and mostly local nature of them gives us great confidence. Like a coiled spring, we are ready to react the moment we get the go-ahead.