SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION FOR GATEWAY CHASSIS SOLUTIONS AS FIRM FOUNDATION STRATEGY PROVES SOLID
Gateway Chassis Solutions have had an exciting few months, and we’re thrilled to report on the recent completion of our expansion into additional premises, raising capacity for chassis’ production considerably.
We have two sites; one in Wellingborough, and our Head Office in Hull, which has now nearly tripled in size as we have taken over a larger, neighbouring premises, merging the two sites into one mammoth chassis manufacturing facility.
The expansion will increase production capacity by 50%, double storage, and triple office space, giving us the ability to keep growing in line with market demands, and to take on more staff as needed. Those market demands have been substantial, particularly over the past couple of years as Brits rediscovered the joy of Staycations; a trend which shows no sign of ceasing any time soon.
March 2020 was a memorable month for all of us, but for Gateway Chassis it was a turning point that was going to set the company on a steady but solid growth trajectory that has placed them at the cutting edge of park and holiday home chassis manufacturing in the UK.
When the ink was barely dry on the management takeover which was to see Chris Ramsden take over as Managing Director, the nation was plunged into lockdown. However, with a strong team behind him and solid financial footings from the outset, we have thrived, and output has nearly tripled. Chris explains; “From the outset, our priority was the customers who are at the heart of our business, and lockdown gave us an opportunity to touch base even further, albeit not face-to-face with our customers and perhaps at greater depth, to get the best feel possible for how we could support them and their businesses going forward from all sorts of perspectives.”
He continued; “We’ve built on our close customer relationships and invested continuously in personnel across the board to meet their own changing pace of production for park and leisure homes, staying competitive and keeping an eye on potential cost savings they can make in some cases. If demand increases further we can still respond, and that’s a key point of difference many manufacturers will appreciate. Manufacturers need more and more from their chassis partners in a marketplace which is continually evolving; and innovation, reliability and flexibility are key values for us.”
Another key strategy for Gateway Chassis Solutions has been investment in our in-house research and development processes. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and 3D CAD modelling ensure each chassis meets the structural requirements of the home that is built on it. Each chassis produced is then at the optimum price, strength and longevity for the requirement and potential location. While this offers peace of mind for manufacturers and buyers, it can also equate to cost savings in some circumstances, as were surprised to find out during our visit.
This expertise isn’t limited to the team in direct contact with customers though. There are several long-serving members of staff within the business, and their expertise is now reaping rewards behind the scenes as they’ve been busy training new team members.
Commercial and Materials Control Manager Dave Whur said; “It’s an exciting time. We had outgrown capacity at our original site we rotated shifts to keep up, but we are now better staffed and up-skilled than we’ve ever been. We have good retention rate as it’s like a family here, so that and the additional space and investment in equipment are elements which put us in a great position going forward. Having kept ahead of the curve with cutting-edge equipment means we can work more efficiently, saving time and money, so that’s been a great investment.”
Chris adds; “From the outset I wanted the company to work towards being an employer of choice, so our pay grades are competitive and offer a range of benefits that also keep our workforce happy and well. I wanted this to be a place where people were well-supported, well-equipped and looked forward to coming to work, and that’s been about getting the right people in place, including a few characters with a particularly upbeat attitude who make us all smile every day. Bringing the right structure and team in was key, and HR Manager Julie Core and Head of Operations Dean Jones have played a big part in transforming the business from this perspective.”
AT THE CUTTING-EDGE
The new equipment tally includes an AMADA Laser and Press Brake, a Geka punch and cropping line and two more support and maintenance vehicles, bringing the investment in plant and equipment to a cool £1m in the last six months alone.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Talking about being at the cutting edge of industry developments, Gateway Chassis Solutions played a big part in COP501 within the industry, and has been part of a team working closely with the NCC (National Caravan Council) on changes in chassis specification and requirements, including BS3632: 2015 and are not only abreast of impending changes, but work hard to future-proof their customers in line with them. They also have a conscientious approach to environmental impact and health and safety, and have worked with the Aura Innovation centre and Chemical Engineering experts from Hull University on a project looking at air quality in the workplace.
So this new move enables Gateway Chassis Solutions to continue leading the way from every angle; on technical capability, capacity, environmental initiatives, training and competitive pricing. As a business based on firm foundations from every perspective, this expansion has now consolidated our solidity and strength even further.