HillsTalk July 2013

A moment with Richard

‘It’s been a busy few months at Hills with two international exhibitions, Automechanika in Istanbul and PLMA in Amsterdam, being incredibly successful generating new business leads. The very recent purchase of Eyeway Signs will also give the opportunity to grow Hills further and share expertise cross both businesses. MetaTek continues to drive its own success with over 50% of the customer base now using MetaTek including some of the UK’s largest dealers.’

James Nash Bamboo WTCC update

Hills Numberplates continues its collaboration with the 2013 World Touring Car Championship Bamboo engineering team driver James Nash. The WTCC calendar covers 12 countries, 5 continents and 70% of international car sales in 2013. UK coverage is on Eurosport giving the Hills brand worldwide exposure. James is sitting in 3rd place in the overall championship, which is a fantastic result for the team and sponsors, he claimed his first WTCC win in Austria, and another win recently in Portugal, adding to his trophy collection. James is currently helping promote Hills’ products with key clients in Malaysia.

Warehouse and Despatch

At Hills we would be lost without our Warehouse and Despatch department. The team of 6 who keep the cogs turning have over 73 years’ experience between them. They manage over 50,000 parcels a year and 500 pallets meaning tea breaks are rare. They handle 28 tons of packaging to ensure that Hills products reach their destination in perfect condition.

With a growing export market, the destinations vary from France to Hong Kong. We have 5 trained forklift drivers, something which would be missed especially with 500 pallets each year! Our customer service levels are supported by the longer opening hours from 8am till 8pm with the team working 8 hour shifts to ensure orders are processed quickly.

Special thanks to the team for all your hard work! The team: John Harper, Trevor Taylor, Ged Clay, Kevin Parker, Alan Pope, and Mike Pope.

Spotlight on John Mitford – Artwork Department

John Mitford joined Hills twelve years ago. He worked previously at a dangerous chemical lab, testing steel components using arsenic and cyanide! John came on board just as the new number plate change came into effect with the introduction of the 51 plate.

John enjoys his job enormously as no two days are the same, with his role including requests to design bespoke plates, dealing with customer proofing and more technical items including creating fonts for the Spanish and Chinese markets. He also draws the artwork for the international markets of Hong Kong, Spain and France, the Euro plate market varies significantly and provides the daily challenge that John thrives on.

John is responsible for rationalising the templates and logos to ensure Hills meets the legal requirements and most importantly, the needs of our customers.

New stock control system – Danny Floyd, IT Manager

A new stock system is in development and will be phased in this summer. The new system will bring about many improvements including allowing us to track all stock as it’s manufactured and its progress through each stage of production. The system will provide a list of each component and labour element against each finished item, which will not only create an up-to-date stock figure but will give improved control over product costs which in turn allow us to serve our customers better.

Eyeway Signs update

Hills are pleased to announce their recent purchase of Eyeway Signs. Eyeway Signs produce bespoke customised care home signage incorporating Braille and tactile features to help people living with dementia. The care home market is emerging and growing fast as more people live longer, increasing the amount of new care homes in the UK. Eyeway Signs use digital processes to design and manufacture the signs including mechanical engraving and digital printing. We are busy working to update Eyeway Signs and driving sales forward so watch this space.

Wall of fame

John Harper’s football team won the over 35 Warwickshire football league.

Adrian Berry has been appointed to Sales Director.

Richard Taffinder has been awarded one of the Ernst and Young’s Midlands Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

MAS – Manufacturing Advisory Service

The senior operations, sales and product management have begun working with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). This new partnership will seek to improve the production processes by reducing waste, making Hills leaner and more efficient. We are the market leader in the UK and with a burgeoning export business bringing opportunities to grow across the world markets. With this in mind, becoming a ‘World Class’ manufacturing business is paramount to the ambitious objectives set by the Hills Board.

MAS provides manufacturing support to help streamline processes, reduce waste, become more energy efficient to improve and grow businesses within England. The team here have already started improving all planning and production processes, so we are well on the way to meeting the challenging objectives.

Milestone Celebrations

Antony Wilson and George Clark have both celebrated their 20 year service milestone this year which is a fantastic achievement and worthy of a mention.

Antony Wilson, our Business Systems Engineer joined the company in 1993, his role is to manage all three of the management systems we have in place today. His dedication has ensured that Hills continues to grow and develop.

George Clark, Area Sales Manager for Scotland joined Hills in 1993. He’s very well-known over the Scottish border and his reputation is a credit to his hard work and commitment to our Scottish customers.

Export update

Hills exhibited at Automechanika Istanbul in April, one of the largest automotive trade events with record visitor numbers of more than 43,000. With such a great turn out, the team from Hills were very busy with visitors wanting more information about Hills, digital number plate production systems and the new MetaTEK plate. The show favourite was the preview of the next generation theft resistant plate, MetaTEK Secureplate.

Following the Automechanika show we are in active discussions with over 50 interested parties from 19 countries, and delighted with the interest in Hills products and the opportunities over coming months. Hills have also exhibited at the PLMA show in Amsterdam in May to further support our commitment to increase our international sales.

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