Client Overview


A well established, privately owned engineering manufacturer renowned throughout the world for its engineering excellence in specialist machines and one of only two in the UK. Located in an area with high unemployment and where there is a relatively low skills base. The company has an annual turnover of around £9m and employs over 90 people, of which of which 50 are skilled engineers.

The Challenge

The company appointed a new production manager with the remit to transform the manufacturing processes, from “old school” to ‘best in class’, using his experience in LEAN methodologies gained whilst working for a world class lean engineering manufacturer. To successfully implement the required changes he had identified, a minimum of 10 CNC skilled programmers were needed together with skilled conventional machinists, working either a fixed day or new night shift pattern. A new night shift would require the staff to be in place within 2 months taking into account candidate notice periods.

Prior to the production manager’s appointment the company had been experiencing high levels of staff turnover due to uncompetitive pay rates and poor working conditions.

Previous Recruitment Methods

The Works had for many years supplied resources to the production manager in his previous role, therefore he chose to partner with them again to deliver this high profile transformation programme rather than,  to use the recruitment agencies the company had previously engaged with, who he felt had little or no knowledge of this unique manufacturing area.

The company had historically relied upon employee referrals creating a “birds of a feather flock together” culture, which also needed to be changed if they were to become best in class.

The Approach

A meeting was arranged to gain a full understanding of where the company was and more importantly what the vision was for the future. Historically the use of agencies had not been very successful therefore there was some scepticism to overcome to enable The Works to become sole supplier. The client appreciated that by working with The Works exclusively they would get the attention they required to meet their urgent needs as well as benefiting from a competitive fee structure; The Works were therefore appointed.


The first approach was to use The Works comprehensive database, which has been established over the past 20 years, to find skilled workers within a commutable distance. In addition all relevant engineering job boards and social media sites were used to contact potential candidates. Applicants were identified within a few days, for those who had concerns about the company’s reputation as an employer, the planned changes were explained and the enthusiasm and vision for the future was shared. Candidate screening took place, a short list for each role was generated and mutually convenient Interview times were arranged.

From 18 interviews scheduled, all 18 candidates turned up which was testament to the nurturing process and encouragement to see what could be rather than what was!

All positions were filled within the 2 month timescale and the client managed to fulfil the night shift.


The client soon re-cooped the costs of recruitment through the introduction of the night shift as productivity increased by 40% shortening delivery lead times to customers, new/repeat orders increased, turnover grew by circa 25% whilst profits rose by 20% as a result of significantly reduced overtime costs.

 Client feedback

“Firstly let me say that The Works have changed my view on using agencies over the last couple of months so very well done as you obviously do something other agencies do not which is evident as the calibre of people we get from you is far better than we have seen from agencies in the past.”

“A great business needs great people; we recruit them.  We are The Works”