HillsTalk Nov 2013

A moment with Richard

As the end of 2013 approaches we have had a busy year. MetaTek continues to increase sales with more dealers converting to this product; Hills now supply half of our customers with the new   aluminium based number plate. To accommodate this growth we have recently increased the size of our UK manufacturing base by more than 50%. The investment also continues with the arrival of a new HP large format Printer and Vivo laser printing technology. We have also seen some internal promotions for some of our most talented and hardworking staff which illustrates our continual policy of developing our own key personnel.

Unit 4 expansion

Hills have recently negotiated the lease of a nearby unit on Electric Avenue. The new facility will house our bulk raw materials thereby freeing up valuable space in our existing factory where we are undergoing extensive improvements and upgrades to the production processes, ensuring that we can continue to improve the service to our customers. Unit 4 will also house a dedicated meeting, training and demonstration room for both Hills Numberplates and our Eyeway Signs division. The facility will also be available for key suppliers and customers to use for their own requirements.

Focus on Eyeway Signs

The purchase of Eyeway Signs earlier this year offered an opportunity for Hills to use its skill, knowledge and experience to grow this brand and increase market share in a similar but diverse sector, the care home signage market. With growth a priority for the next year it was important to build a dedicated team at Hills.

Many of you will know David Fitzwilliams from his time with Hills, David has recently taken on the role of Business Development Manager at Eyeway Signs, supported by Shelley Stokes and Sarah Dobbins. Shelley combines her Hills role with Eyeway Signs as Internal Account Manager. Sarah Dobbins recently joined the team and works in telemarketing and field sales.

Our Hills Area Sales Managers are also making contact with potential and existing customers. The Eyeway Signs team are based in Birmingham and have already made an impact on the market by attending a number of exhibitions, meeting key industry figures and joining key buying groups.

Latest Eyeway Signs News

There has been lots of activity with Eyeway Signs over the past few months with the recent partnership with the HCPA group which brings a new networking opportunity, orders have already started to come through from the care homes within the organisation.

Eyeway Signs have recently exhibited at the NEC Care Home Show on the 12th / 13th November, which is one of the largest trade events within the Care market. Our signs were selected by the DSDC, University of Stirling, to appear in the full size Dementia Care Home at the show where it illustrated best practice for the industry and enabled visitors to experience the products first hand. We also exhibited at The Scottish Care Show in Glasgow on the 15th of November. Teams from Hills and the Eyeway Signs Division took part in 3 Charity Memory Walks in September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, walking between 1 and 10 miles with Hills donating funds for each walker.

Spotlight on MAS

The West Midlands Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) have spent the last six months working with the Hills management team to implement leaner and more efficient production processes. The senior project team pictured below includes Vicky de la Rue, Sarah Jenkins, Mark Osman, Adrian Berry, Alan Jones, Nicola Gibson and Julian Caine and have been instrumental in getting the project out of the blocks.

The next stage in the MAS project is the involvement of the Team leaders, a team headed by Mark Osman and his assistant Alan Jones. The Team leaders have all received training on areas including asset maintenance and process mapping. They now have the task of integrating a new way of working into the production process in order to see the vast benefits of lean manufacturing.

FedEx update

We have a strong relationship with our courier FedEx and are pleased with the service they provide. We continue to work in partnership together to deliver the best possible service to our customers.

As part of our ongoing continuous development we would appreciate any feedback you have regarding your deliveries. If there is any damage or errors with your delivery please report this to the driver immediately and request that it be recorded. Please forward any feedback to 0121 623 8050 or email customerservices@hillsnumberplates.com.

WTCC James Nash Victory

Hills have supported WTCC driver James Nash again this season and have followed his progress through nail biting race finishes, podium success and worldwide coverage of the Hills logo. James’ final round of the season was in Macau on the 17th November, leading the Independents championship it was critical that he finished each race!

His experience and inner calm ensured that after race 1 he had secured the 2013 WTCC Independent Drivers Championship and saw him finish third in the overall championship. A fantastic achievement for James and we are delighted to have supported him through his race to success in the World Touring car championship.

HD Film Launch

Early in the New Year Hills will be introducing its new generation of film. HD film will replace the existing optical film which is used with thermal printers.

This product has been extensively tested so it can meet the demands of climate change. It has the advantage of a very strong initial grab whilst laminating plus the liner no longer needs the silicon release agent thereby losing the blue haze, which the previous products exhibited before the plate was either buffed or valeted. Partnered with our new MetaTek aluminium number plate Hills have another first class product which can withstand the harshest of environmental conditions, ideal timing for the imminent British winter.

Hills Promotions

We have a number of internal promotions this quarter, congratulations to the following members of the Sales Team on their promotions

David Fitzwilliam’s who has been promoted to Business Development Manager for Eyeway Signs.

Gary Dixon who has been promoted to National Accounts Manager for Hills Numberplates.

Hills Team News

November saw an increase in facial hair at Hills, the Movember Crew at Hills are growing moustaches to raise awareness and funds for men’s health so dig deep and support this worthwhile cause. The members of the Movember Crew are Julian Caine, Mark Osman, Gerrard Clay, Mike Pope and Alan Pope.

Hills are very proud of Mark Osman who bravely came to the rescue of an elderly lady who was victim of a terrifying mugging, his actions ensured that the robber was held until the police arrived.

Here at Hills we have a strong candidate for any Great British Bake off Competition. Julie Abraham, one of our Team Leaders is an expert cake maker with a penchant for the most unusual request. Children’s cakes adorned with the most unusual and creative characters and spectacular designs for special occasions are her forte, so watch out Mary Berry!

Tim Eakin and Richard Taffinder finished a successful 2013 season in the Aston Martin GT4 with a podium finish at Snetterton.

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