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Business supportGC Business Growth Hub helps RBMUK see barriers as a breakthrough

GC Business Growth Hub helps RBMUK see barriers as a breakthrough

An Oldham-based manufacturer is helping businesses get back on track after COVID-19 disruption, through innovative product development in collaboration with GC Business Growth Hub.

Rotational Bespoke Manufacturing (RBMUK) Limited has adapted two of its existing products to provide protective barriers and hand-sanitising stations for industry, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in workplaces and offer businesses a blueprint for safely returning to work.

Like many SMEs across the region, RBMUK was forced to radically scale back its operation in March, when the Government issued wide-ranging restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

Having recently concluded its fifth and most successful financial year in February 2020, RBMUK saw major orders cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and was forced to furlough the majority of its staff, weathering a significant operating loss in March.

Having benefitted from a broad range of Hub support services over the past three years, RBMUK’s Director Tony Douglas was quick to reach out to manufacturing advisor Martin Hyman. Tony and Martin identified an opportunity to adapt one of RBMUK Limited’s existing moulded products into a protective screening solution for enforcing social distancing within workplaces.

Martin also signposted a Hub-facilitated webinar for local businesses to share best practice in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Hosted by Oldham MPs Jim McMahon MP OBE and Debbie Abrahams MP, the webinar and connected Tony with another local business – D Atkinson Ltd – who were able to provide an essential element of the newly-conceived barrier system.

The mould for RBMUK’s existing pyramid barrier product was adapted to hold Powder Coated Fencing, or Clear Screens (to suit customer requirements), with D Atkinson Ltd gladly providing the bespoke screen element. Each barrier unit is 1m wide, providing instant social distance assurance – in line with the latest Government guidance.

RBMUK’s existing mobile Grit Bin was also adapted to integrate a backing panel, so that it could accommodate a sanitising dispenser, located directly above a storage bin. Both novel solutions have now been installed at RBMUK’s Oldham factory and are now available to other businesses seeking to safeguard their workplaces.

Following a surge in public sector orders for the pyramid barrier system, RBMUK is now returning to full operational capacity and welcomed back its remaining furloughed employees in June.

Tony Douglas, Director at RBMUK Limited, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the support provided by the Hub during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and indeed over the past 3 years. Having an advisor and team on hand who really understand our business – as well as the wider manufacturing industry – has been invaluable in helping us get our business back on track.

“The Hub’s local network has provided a perfect platform for collaboration and innovation, which has helped us get all our people back to work safely and our order book growing again.”

Martin Hyman, Manufacturing Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, said:

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see businesses like RBMUK Limited find their feet again after facing unprecedented challenges in recent months. We’ve always found them to be extremely proactive and open to new ideas, helping them benefit from the diverse support on offer from local partners.

“No business in Greater Manchester should feel they need to face these challenges alone. The GC Business Growth Hub is here to help stabilise businesses in the short term, protecting income and employment across all sectors – and to help get your growth ambitions back on track for the future.”

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