Icon-ic transformation as aerospace manufacturer enjoys £53m of work from Continuous Improvement Programme

A year on from introducing its Continuous Improvement programme (CIP), known as i4, Improvement; Insight; Intelligence and Inspiration, one major aerospace manufacturer is reporting an additional £53million worth of new and retained contracts, which sees it remain on track to double in size by 2019.

Icon Aerospace Technology based in Retford, has achieved significant gains in turnover, productivity and profitability in its first year of i4, as it harnesses the energy and input from its most powerful resource – its employees. Backed by a Sharing in Growth (SiG) team, I4 – Improvement; Insight; Intelligence and Inspiration is a prolific transformation, which has delivered, to date, a 33% improvement in production rates, a 20%-point improvement in yield, and a turnover growth of 29%. As a result, Icon has secured new and retained contracts to the value of £53million, together with a major boost in customer service.

The business was specially selected to join the RGF (Regional Growth Fund) sector initiative, led by SiG, after being identified as a leading aerospace manufacturing supplier, with ambitions to grow to beyond mid-cap in size. The innovative and ambitious programme aims to raise the capability of UK aerospace suppliers to share in the anticipated growth of the global aerospace market, and other associated high-value manufacturing sectors.

Icon already supplies products such as composition polymer seals and ducting as well as in-flight refuelling hoses to several leading blue-chip aerospace companies, across the USA, UK and mainland Europe. It is now continuing to develop its processes and range of highly engineered polymer products to further expand its market influence. In fact, the company estimates that 75% of new build commercial aircraft will have one of its parts installed by 2019.

SiG’s four-year partnership with Icon began in 2016 and is providing the business with a training and transformation programme worth £3million. The company is achieving its vision of building a highly successful manufacturing business for the long term by creating an environment that enables all employees to contribute, learn and deliver improvements, each day.  This extremely powerful organisation is then best placed to deliver on its highly visible demand profile in an efficient and effective manner.

To gain team adoption and contribution, Icon has built a dedicated room for its Continuous Improvement programme, i4, where team members can participate in improvement projects and the members of the SiG team can help mentor and coach the Icon team every day.  Icon’s i4 programme along with the SiG Team, has been so successful, that the company was recently referenced in the CBI’s response to the government’s industrial strategy green paper, as a business benefiting from improved performance and productivity through enhanced leadership and skills at a senior level.

Tim Pryce, CEO of Icon Aerospace Technology, commented on this impressive achievement: “One year on from the launch of our Continuous Improvement programme, i4, and with our partners from SiG, we can see the benefits that have been created for the company. These are visible not just from the value of the new work we have won, and in our improved turnover, but also in the enthusiasm and commitment of our team. Over 70 of our employees have participated in the programme, with 12 on track to gain a National Vocational Qualification, in Business Improvement Techniques.

“Our customers have responded with tremendous support and encouragement to the major investments we are making in scaling the business.  Many have commented that the manner in which Icon has embraced CI is outstanding and we are often asked to share our learning with other companies.  I am very proud of our employees and what they are building as Icon continues on its growth journey. We are currently on track to grow our aerospace turnover by 60% by the end of this year and double our total turnover, within the next three years.”

Andy Page, CEO of Sharing in Growth added: “Since participating in the SiG programme, Icon has very quickly gained traction to become a recognised leader in the aerospace supply chain. Thanks to their commitment and trust in our team, they are a real success of the SiG initiative and we are excited about continuing to work with them and help them, and in turn UK Plc, achieve their high growth ambitions.”

Icon Aerospace Technology is part of the Applied Composites Group a business proud to invest in its people, with the philosophy the strength of our products is in the strength of our people .

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