By Sarah Walker
Optimas Solutions, which has been on Aycliffe Business Park for almost two years, goes to the ends of the earth for its customers.
The firm, which manufactures and distributes fasteners and components used in the automotive sector, rail and agriculture, opened a facility near one of its major customers out in India.
It also has a manufacturing facility in the Midlands and just under 40 offices and distribution outlets across the world.
And far from simply making and delivering its goods, Optimas Solutions also takes responsibility for ensuring its customers have the right amount of the right components at the right time, helping them refine their manufacturing processes and reduce “part proliferation”.
Tom Bryan, the firm’s marketing manager, explains: “We have a number of very large key customers on Aycliffe Business Park and our ethos is to go where our customers are.
“When we relocated, it was based on a desire to be a bit more dynamic in terms of servicing our customers.
“The main distinction between us and our competitors is that we’re not just supplying components, we call our customers partners, because we partner with them to help them refine their processes.”
Taking the example of an automotive manufacturer, Tom says that within the business, you would have lots of different teams involved in engineering, designing and building the products.
Within these teams, individuals don’t necessarily understand the complexities of different fasteners and how many are required.
You then have separate teams using different fasteners which can lead to part proliferation – and the manufacturing process becomes more bloated and complicated than it needs to be.
That’s where Optimas Solutions comes in, introducing a kanban system and reducing the amount of different types of fasteners a company uses, helping to streamline, refine and reduce costs.
“We have an engineering team that will work with the company, looking at what they are using and finding areas of improvement,” Tom says.
“Our team almost becomes an extension of their team.
“For the much larger customers, we have a team of dedicated envoys, who go in daily, count their lineside stock, scan the plastic bins the stock all sits in and take responsibility for making sure they don’t run out of stock.
“The product that we sell is almost secondary to the service levels that we provide.”
As well as the high levels of service it provides, the firm’s sustainability credentials are also a huge selling point and it is winning contracts based on its willingness to “adapt to customers’ demands” in this area.
Optimas Solutions has the ability to supply “very rapidly” from its own manufacturing plant in the Midlands, with significant advantages in terms of sustainability, cost reduction and time saving when compared to “ordering from the Far East and having to wait 20+ weeks for stock to arrive”.
The drive towards Net Zero also presents significant opportunities for the firm, as it has become involved with many startup companies manufacturing electric vehicles.
“They are a very good example of where the part proliferation really comes into play,” Tom says.
“Perhaps they don’t have the level of experience of the more established automotive companies and need that extra guidance and support on what can be achieved if they refine their methods and what they are using.
“This obviously then lowers their costs.
“We are a key partner to those startups.”
Demonstrating that Optimas works with manufacturers of all sizes, he adds Optimas is well-placed to work with the “explosion of startups”, not just in the automotive sector but with truck manufacturers and those working in emerging new technologies.
“It’s no longer just about serving the more established companies,” he says.
That said, the firm, which is part of the North East Automotive Alliance, does have the capability to service much bigger industrial companies from its base in Newton Aycliffe.
For more information, visit optimas.com.