Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North-Based Firm Is Still a World Leader

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North-Based Firm Is Still a World Leader

Article excerpt

In the past 12 months, the region's manufacturing industry has been plagued by news of factory closures and job losses as companies look overseas in search of cheaper labour.

However, one North-East firm remains as committed as ever to remaining in the region, and has just reported its most successful year ever since opening in 1985.

Birtley-based excavator manufacturer, Komatsu UK, has shown that with the right product, approach and a highly-skilled and motivated workforce, growth and sustained market leadership can be achieved.

During 2004, Komatsu has reached a number of milestones and demolished past records, ensuring that its on-going success keeps it at the forefront of excavator design and manufacture.

In March, the company announced its highest ever sales and turnover for any one month. A record of 399 machines were sold, an increase of 26pc on last year's best, leading to the best ever monthly turnover of pounds 26.5m.

Following the launch of a number of machines earlier in the year, several large orders were secured from new customers, providing an added boost to production and further fuelling sales. One such customer, Kent-based HE Service (Plant Hire Ltd), placed an order for 300 machines over the next two years, representing the factory's largest single order.

Contracts such as this have helped Komatsu to report its highest ever number of orders in any one year, an increase in activity which is due to the high level of demand throughout Europe. Komatsu currently exports around 80pc of all machines to Europe, North Africa and the USA.

The competition this year has been tougher than ever, but the company has had notable successes with new models introduced to the market in particular the PC450-7, PW160-7 and PC128/138 road rail machine ( the first machine of its kind designed to revolutionise railway maintenance without causing disruption to services. …

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