Tim Williams Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum (WAF) visited Wall Colmonoy Limited (WCL) on 29th September 2016, meeting with Managing Director, Steph Curtis, and the senior management team. Tim was brought up to date on key developments that have taken place at WCL over the last two and half years, with the WCL team explaining, but more importantly demonstrating, the journey that WCL has been on over that period, a period in which WCL has been transformed into the “New Wall Colmonoy”.
In January 2014 Steph Curtis defined a clear vision for the future of WCL and set out in pursuit of excellence with a very focused strategy for the first 12-18 months of “getting the basics right”, engaging and developing people and creating a platform for profitable growth. Steph recruited a very capable senior management team, bringing in well qualified professionals with extensive experience from the automotive, oil and gas, FMCG, electronics and financial industries, a group that formed very quickly into a very dynamic leadership team focused on results.
In parallel to getting the basics right of Quality, Costs, Delivery and Health & Safety, Wall Colmonoy focused on strengthening its relationships with its customers, rising to new levels of Customer Service and working closely with its suppliers. WCL differentiates itself on its Technical capability through the development and application support of Colmonoy® (Nickel) and Wallex® (Cobalt based) alloy product solutions. Through 2015 and into 2016 WCL has been investing wisely in state of the art technology to improve its technical capability, quality assurance and improve productivity. WCL can now proudly demonstrate operational and financial Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that quantify the progress it’s made.
Steph Curtis commented “Through 2014 and into the first half of 2015 we created a platform for development and growth. As we progressed through 2015 and into 2016 the business has become stronger, profitable and generating positive cash-flows. The culture in the business has developed very quickly and positively into a results-oriented performance culture with pride and passion demonstrated by everyone. We are now very much focused on the profitable growth phase of our journey.”
WCL has placed a big emphasis on developing its people with a long term focus on and commitment to the development of “home grown” talent to meet its future business needs. WCL has defined and is executing a 5 strand Human Resource strategy covering its Bespoke Apprenticeship Programme, Continuous Professional Development, Technical Training, Soft Skills Training and its Talent Development Group.
Tim Williams said “Visiting Member companies always provides the opportunity to see first-hand what is being achieved and to discuss how WAF can add value. In the case of Wall Colmonoy, Steph made sure that I met his management team and department heads to fully understand the business and the improvement journey they have been on and importantly, continue to do so. I left having gained extensive knowledge of their different and excellent design and manufacturing processes, how culture change has created an atmosphere of positivity and an overall feeling of confidence that I know will make this company go from strength to strength. An example to anyone embarking on a similar journey and I will be promoting Wall Colmonoy’s capabilities and competences to the automotive world at every opportunity”
Wall Colmonoy Limited, established in Pontardawe, South Wales for 47 years, is an advanced materials manufacturing company specialising in the design, development and manufacture of Colmonoy® (Nickel) and Wallex® (Cobalt) for hard surfacing applications, and Nicrobraz® (Nickel) brazing alloys for high temperature joining of metals. Wall Colmonoy also manufactures precision castings and machined components. In addition, WCL, through its Aerobraze business unit, offers specialised services of vacuum brazing, vacuum heat treatment, welding and powder metal deposition processes such as HVOF, PTA, Spray & Fuse and Laser Cladding (with Welsh partner).
For the Automotive industry specifically, WCL manufactures and continuously develops Nicrobraz® (nickel-based) products, a major part of the Wall Colmonoy portfolio, which are used extensively in the manufacture of Exhaust Gas Recirculation units (EGR’s) and Catalytic Converters. WCL also manufactures Wallex® (cobalt-based) hardsurfacing alloys for use on engine valves. WCL’s automotive customers include major tier 1 global suppliers.
Wall Colmonoy Limited currently employs 170 people with a turnover of £25m. WCL exports 90% of its products to Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, MENA, South Africa & India – serving a long established customer base in the automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, glass container, food, steel and nuclear industries.