Founded in 1994 the Wiltshire based printers Fascia Graphics® are a British manufacturing success story. We spoke to founder and managing director Paul Bennett to find out what sets Fascia apart and keeps them ahead of their competition:
Tell us a bit about the background of Fascia Graphics®?
My business partner (Ernie Griffin, financial director) and I worked together at a previous employer within the industry. We were both directors within the company and could see the potential in this industry. Unfortunately the owners of the business did not share the same vision, and we quickly realised the only way to provide the level of product quality and service we desired was to start our own company. The rest is history so to speak.
What is the company ethos?
We always wanted to provide a stable and rewarding environment for our team. Listening to our customers and training ourselves to be customer-focussed in all we do was at the forefront of every action. Personal development and promotion from within have served us well and undoubtedly contributed to the staff retention rate and average employee service – which is currently over ten years. We have always focussed on providing the highest quality product at a competitive price with industry leading customer service. Our ethos is very much the same today as it was twenty years ago!
What sets Fascia Graphics® apart from its competitors?
Despite our consistent growth we have striven to remain as flexible as possible. We enter all new accounts with a full understanding of the customer’s needs. We regularly implement bespoke solutions to meet these needs. These have included: specialist packaging; anti-static bags and vacuum formed trays; scheduling our production to aid JIT or KANBAN systems; supplying documentation for D of C’s or ISIR’s. We have even tailored our ERP system to produce specific documentation as specified by customers and barcoded delivery notes and boxes to synchronise with their warehouse processes. Flexibility has been the cornerstone for us here at Fascia.
What steps have you taken to become more eco-friendly?
Protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint has been essential to the team here at Fascia. When we installed our two Sakurai printing lines in 2012 and 2013 respectively, we had them manufactured with heat exchange units to utilise the ‘waste’ hot air they expel and use it to warm up the cold clean air coming in. This resulted in reducing the carbon footprint of our printing department by approx. 40%. Additionally, in 2014 we ‘partnered’ with ‘SMARTech Energy’, specialists in energy optimisation and energy waste reduction. SMARTech developed a strategy that included changing the factory lighting, optimising all machinery and motors, installing inverters to air handling systems and closely balancing the incoming power supply. The result is a further 20% annual reduction in our energy consumption, evidencing our commitment to continual improvement and waste reduction across the board.
What do you do to develop your workforce?
We have an excellent staff retention rate which is in no small part due to our staff development. Many of the current management team started their time at Fascia on the shop floor and through external training courses, in-house training programmes and hands-on experience, have learnt and developed as the company has grown. We also run apprenticeship programmes and currently have four young adults partaking in these. The apprenticeships include in-house training, specialist courses with external qualification bodies and day release to local colleges. Our team leaders, supervisors and management team are currently all attending training courses with an external training solutions provider.
How are you building for the future?
We have recently committed to a government backed initiative with the aim of growing the company by 200% over a three year period. Working closely with specialist consultants we have embarked on a three year growth plan. The scheme not only looks for growth but also improvement in every area of the business: increased sales, stock reduction, lean manufacturing, waste reduction, and staff development. Alongside this development and improvement programme we have invested in excess of one million pounds in the latest production equipment. The investment in machinery and staff development should ensure a solid foundation for the future of Fascia.
What products or services are currently popular with your customers?
We have seen consistent growth in the use of our digital prototyping service. This enables customers to purchase very small quantities of parts to a near-production standard without the need for costly artwork and tooling. With lead-times as low as 48 hours this service is ideal for prototyping, photo shoots, exhibition releases and other pre-production applications.
At the opposite end of the scale we are the only UK manufacturer with the benefit of Sakurai servo-driven presses for high volume production runs. With two of the nineteen metre long, fully automatic printing lines in place, we have the capabilities to offer production runs of any size. With print speeds up to 2000 sheets per hour there is no faster way to produce screen printed industrial graphics of the very highest quality.