Feeding the nation from fryers #madeinsandwell

This week #madeinsandwell Monday is turning its laser focus on Hewigo, an Oldbury business that has used Aim For Gold funding to bring its manufacturing process bang up to date.

Hewigo, based on Little Fields Way, is the UK’s leading manufacturer of frying ranges for fish and chip shops, having built more high efficiency ranges than all other UK manufacturers combined. Founded in 2001, it has supplied to restaurants and takeaways across the country, including Drayton Manor Park.

Hewigo recently built on their strong position by working with Sandwell Council to access funding through the Aim For Gold programme. This scheme provides support to SMEs by helping them identify areas for business growth. Keeping up with the latest technology has always been a key part of Hewigo’s success, and it was one of the first companies to introduce high efficiency burners into its equipment. The Aim For Gold funding enabled the business to invest in a cutting edge laser cutter to carry out work previously done by hand using a cordless drill.

The laser cutter was installed in March, just before the UK went into lockdown. Managing director Phillip Purkiss said: “Undoubtedly this machine was always going to make a big change to our business, but it has surpassed all our expectations. We’ve always had a strong tradition of craft skills, but this new machine makes me feel that we were working in the dark ages.”

After risk assessing all jobs at the company, Hewigo has been able to continue manufacturing, putting the new machine to good use. However, transportation and installation have had to be put on hold until travel and social distancing rules are relaxed. But despite the effect on cashflow, Phillip remains confident that the business is robust enough to get through the current crisis: “We’ve always saved for rainy days and I feel we’re strong enough to ride out the storm.”

#madeinsandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #madeinsandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.

To find out more about the Aim For Gold programme and how we can help you grow your business, contact us.