Plymouth Kawasaki factory needs staff to cope with sales surge
This story was first reported in Plymouth Live – here
Kawasaki’s only UK factory is the latest business to be hit by recruitment problems as sales are forecast to rise to £64.5m in 2022.
The Kawasaki Precision Machinery UK (KPM UK) needs staff at its base in Plymouth, the company’s only manufacturing plant outside Japan.
But with other manufacturers also seeking more workers, and recruitment issues rife in industries around the UK, Kawasaki is being frustrated in its search for employees.
It needs at least 20 extra workers right now to join more than 260 staff already at the factory.
And this is because production is increasing as demand for the hydraulic pumps and motors produced at the plant soars, much of it fuelled by growth in the construction industry in the UK and abroad.
The products made in Plymouth are used by global brands such as JCB, Caterpillar, John Deere, Terex and Volvo for machinery used in construction, with many of the pumps and motors exported.
The Plymouth factory, on the banks of the River Tamar at Ernesettle, also services the marine sector and offshore industries and remained operational during the 2020 Covid lockdowns, with management praising the hard work and commitment of the workforce for their “support and flexibility” during what was described as “the most challenging period in the company’s history”.
Sales fell as demand was affected, but the company still shifted £40.7m of products in Covid-ravaged 2020.
And it has enjoyed a 60% hike in sales revenue since October 2020 as the global economy began to recover.
It is now forecast that sales will reach £55m for 2021 with a 35% increase in pump manufacturing expected during the next two months.
Sales are now predicted to reach £64.5m in 2022 and Lee Crocker, general manager and executive director at KPM UK, said: “We just can’t recruit quickly enough. It’s our biggest issue, we have been recruiting since June and still need more employees.”
The company needs to fill 20 positions right now, and is looking for logistics/material handlers, assembly operators and CNC machine setter-operators.
It has already seen staff numbers rise in 2021, from 235 workers in January to 268 by November, and is anticipating the total could go as far as 290 by the end of the year.