The Great British Business Update August/September 2021

Now, we’re no strangers to supporting British-made companies - or anything British for that matter. That's why last month we started our monthly instalment of The Great British Business Update for June and July and it’s been a hit! 

Our aim? For those who also live and breathe (like us!) everything British to keep up to date with all news surrounding the manufacturing industry in the UK.  This month we’re back again to bring you the biggest manufacturing updates that happened over August and September.

The Great British Business Update August/September 2021

JUICE EXECUTIVE INVEST £1.1M 

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. So, when we saw that British manufacturer, Juice Executive, had invested £1.1m into a new extension at its Chatham factory we were thrilled! They have moved into heat recovery and an efficient cooling workspace. Working with specialist contractors to ensure the heat generated from its refrigeration units is used to reheat office and welfare areas. Pretty cool, right?

On top of this, a biodigester will turn an impressive 100% of their food waste into a water bi-product and electrical vehicle charging, while green travel plans for all employees are being put in place.

“Designing a new office in the middle of a pandemic was an interesting one. It gave us a chance to really think about what it means for people,” said Alexandra Auger, who formed the business seven years again from her garage. That’s the kind of growth we love to see happening in Britain.

Great British Products Manufacturing Update

SCREWFIX ANNOUNCE 600 NEW JOBS

Screwfix have announced 600 new jobs for Staffordshire between two centres in Stafford and Lichfield. The recruitment drive has been launched after Screwfix saw online sales increase by huge 146% during the DIY and home improvement boom – and as warehouse volumes hit record levels for the first time in decades.

QUAVERS FACTORY GETS £24M UPGRADE FROM PEPSI CO 

PepsiCo has announced big plans to invest a huge £24 million into upgrading its factory in Lincoln. Home of Quavers, one of Britain’s most well-known and loved cheesy snacks. The cash injection will secure the listed building’s future, seeing that existing machinery will be replaced with new, upgraded equipment. On top of this, it's bringing training opportunities for employees, some of whom will be upskilled in using the new state-of-the-art technology.

Quavers have become one of Britain’s most iconic snacks over the years. The investment will increase capacity at the factory, enabling its team to produce more Quavers to help satisfy this demand, as well as make space for new production lines. Which is good news for the one in three households in Britain that buy the cheesy snack regularly.

MANUFACTURER GIANT, JCB, CREATES 100 JOBS 

JCB announced early this month that they were on the hunt for 100 new welders for the Staffordshire factories. As demand for the products has continued to soar, they’re recruiting for both Cheadle and Uttoxeter plants. 

The news comes as demand for the iconic black and yellow JCB machines reached a historical peak with most products now sold out in Britain until next year. The company had also recently announced that they’d recruited 1,350 new shop floor employees and handed permanent contracts to 1,000 agency employees too!

The last five years have been especially hard on welders in the UK, with the numbers shrinking year by year. JCB has been working especially hard in Britain to tackle the shortages with their introduction of the apprenticeship schemes and training programmes - proving to be extremely successful.

HOPE FOR UK STEEL AS LIBERTY OWNER ENTERS TALKS WITH LENDERS

The owner of Liberty Steel is in talks with a US lender named White Oak Global Advisors to refinance a deal which could potentially put an end to the repetitive stop and start operations at UK steel plants. After talks earlier this year in which their key lender, Greensill Capital, sadly collapsed into administration, the metals company GFG has been on the hunt ever since. 

The collection of GFG companies employs about 35,000 people, including 3,000 steelworkers in the UK. San Francisco-based White Oak has already stepped in to lend to GFG’s steel and coal operations overseas. 

Great British Products Manufacturing Update

UK ENTERS RACE TO BUILD BATTERIES FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Start your engines, the race is on. Manufacturers in the UK believe that Britain can win the race to become a significant player and exporter of solid-state batteries. These could truly pave the way to a greener future. Not just for Britain, but for the whole world. A group of UK-based companies has teamed up to drive further developments of their original prototypes.

The battery startup, Britishvolt - which is backed by Glencore, the FTSE 100 chemicals company Johnson Matthey and Oxford University are among the key player institutions that have signed a memorandum of understanding, promising to work together on this groundbreaking technology. 

Solid-state batteries are considered by many to be the most likely technology to offer significant improvements in range and charging times for electric vehicles, as nearly every current electric vehicle in production uses variations on lithium-ion batteries. 

The solid-state batteries they’re trying to create would improve on the existing technology by swapping a liquid electrolyte, in which lithium ions carry a current, for solid ceramic metal. Meaning they could raise the energy of the battery density and make them not just lighter, but smaller too. While some prototypes have been made already and do exist, companies have struggled to commercialise a durable version. 

And there you have it, our August and September edition of The Great British Update. We’ve seen a number of positive stories and can’t wait to share them with you in our next edition. In the meantime, if you want to support British-made products you can head to our site here, or you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram