Wesley Osborne, managing director of TRS Engineering Services has revealed the secret of prospering in times of economic depression: planning to take advantage of the economic cycle and employing first class staff to realise the market potential.
Established in 1993, the Bloxwich-based tool making and manufacturing firm has survived a bleak era in British industry but emerged strongly thanks to the combination of state of the art equipment and a highly skilled workforce that has now established TRS as an award winning company.
Formerly an aerospace engineer with Rolls Royce, Wesley utilised many of the skills gained from the famous aero engine manufacturer to benefit TRS.
“Eleven years ago I was surprised at the lack of technological advances in the tool making industry, “Wesley said. “Tool making hadn’t really taken advantage of the available technology. The toolmakers were excellent but the equipment was outdated.
“In order to progress, we needed to invest in both high-cost computer aided engineering and training. Staff had to receive tuition on the latest CNC and CAD/CAM equipment and learn how to operate the equipment efficiently.
“One of the problems was tool maker turnover. As with many companies, we were losing excellent people after six months, which was stifling investment in training.”
After consideration, Wesley adopted one of the ideas behind TRS’s driving success: encouraging and appreciating his workforce.
“Traditionally, tool makers were treated as bench hands” Wesley explained. “Firms tended to overlook the potential of these highly skilled workers and this was to their detriment.
“To counteract this problem, job ownership was introduced and tool makers were given direct technical liaison responsibility for their job. Effectively, each tool maker became the project manager. With this responsibility they were at the customer interface and involved with all aspects of the job, from design concept to completion. Very quickly they gained the trust and respect of the customer and increased their job satisfaction.”
TRS’s achievements have come at a time when other have struggled to keep up with eastern companies. “The difference in wages between the UK and the East mean we have to compete through the services and skills we can provide,” Wesley explained.
“We obtain contracts because with our machinery and expertise, we are able to tackle the most challenging tasks,” Wesley proudly stated. “We currently manufacture components for the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors and have recently secured a contract for making orthopaedic surgeons tools for hip replacement operations and for bone fracture repair.
TRS’s bank of experience has opened doors into new markets. As well as tool design and tool making, CNC machining and 3D laser cutting and welding, the firm specialise in using the state of the art technology at the leading edge. IT has developed rapid prototyping techniques and does complex reverse engineering, the process of creating detailed engineering drawings from existing parts.
Having made a £660,000 investment on a 3D – 7 axes laser cell, TRS Engineering Laser Ltd was formed as an autonomous organisation, with the original services company relocating to larger premises with enhanced machine capacities.
In addition to a multi-skilled and talented workforce, they now boast the Association of Industrial Laser Users Young Engineer of the Year Award.
The accolade recognised the 7 axes laser programming expertise of Adrian Orchard and reflected on the Black County manufacture’s continued success.