Investment means TEK Seating is a cut above the competition24 April 2023
Leicestershire-based TEK Seating has invested £125,000 in new machinery to satisfy rising demand and take additional control of its production process. Increased competition for the vehicle seat manufacturer was also a driver to expanding its in-house capabilities for further growth. The investment has been supported with a grant* of £25,000 from the LLEP Business Gateway Growth Hub.
TEK Seating, part of TEK Group with TEK Military Seating and SitSmart, is the UK’s biggest independent supplier of vehicle seats based in Rearsby, Charnwood. The business began in 1972 and makes seating for commercial transport such as HGVs, taxis, buses and trains. The 15,000 sq ft site includes an R&D department to create its own seat designs and work on trim development. There’s another site in Tunbridge Wells, though manufacturing is all done at Rearsby which also includes orthopaedic office and military seating as well as high-end seat trims for Morgan cars and Ultima sports cars, to name but a few.
Instead of outsourcing for their large volume work, TEK Seating’s new automated cutting machine now means it can all be done in-house.
Sean Magee, Operations Director explained: “We were subcontracting out elements of production – the cutting of leather hides or other material – together with the laminating process where foam is added to the back.
“We’d buy the hides and have them sent to us. We’d have to check them, send them to a third party, have them cut and laminated. They would be sent back to us, checked again and then we’d be able to build the seats. This was a fairly time-consuming part of the manufacturing process.”
Apart from the saving in transport costs and reduction in its carbon footprint, which is significant, it means its manual cutting technicians don’t have to work on large volume jobs anymore, which took a long time. Thanks to the new machinery, their time will be better spent on higher-skilled, lower-volume cutting. The new machine also means cutting is now 30 times faster, saving around 10 days in the whole process improving efficiency, productiveness and competitiveness.
Sean added: “We’ve also invested in a laminating machine. We can keep it all in-house, so we can manage the quality, lead times and production much better. Crucially this investment means we’ve safeguarded two jobs and created two more.”
“Using the Business Gateway was a straightforward process. We were guided through everything by our Business Adviser Juan Pardo, who was professional and knowledgeable. The Business Gateway provided all the support we could have hoped for.”
TEK Seating is on an upward trajectory and plans to expand the current premises by another 12,000 sq ft in the year ahead.
To find out more about support from the Business Gateway call 0116 366 8487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*grant is now closed for applications, free business advice still available.
Pictures by Beth Walsh
Captions: top right: Business Gateway Adviser, Juan Pardo tries TEK Seating’s Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) for size
L to R General Manager, Scott Burton shows Business Gateway Adviser Juan Pardo TEK Seating’s range of military seating.
General Manager, Scott Burton and Business Adviser Juan Pardo on TEK Seating’s military products
Louis Wright, precision cutting technician of TEK Seating, prepares some leather material for the new cutting machine
L to R Louis Wright and Scott Burton examine the precisely cut leather hide from the new machine