Amazon deal boosts sales for Grantham manufacturer

Darren Joint

A significant contract with Amazon has allowed a Grantham-based manufacturer to continue to grow sales over the last twelve months.

Viking Signs, which designs and manufactures safety signs in the UK from its factory in Lincolnshire, has signed a deal to become a direct supplier for the online retailer’s new business division, supplying up to 30,000 products for the B2B market.

The company is now looking to target a clutch of new contracts after it tapped into support
from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) to work towards the ISO 9001 quality
accreditation, which is important for improving efficiencies and competing for larger orders.

Supported by a Manufacturing Growth Manager and an experienced industry consultant, the firm is very near to completing the process and will shortly be undertaking the Stage 1
assessment that will then lead to full certification in a few months.

“Going for ISO 9001 has been about much more than just getting the standard, it has
allowed us to fine tune existing systems and introduce new processes, flexible working
patterns and eliminate waste,” explained Darren Joint, Managing Director of Viking Signs
and a member of the EEF’s Regional Advisory Board.

“Working with MGP gave us the opportunity to assess exactly what support was needed and
then it was a case of introducing us to a consultant, who had a deep knowledge of
manufacturing businesses and what actions were needed to meet the criteria.”

He continued: “As we continue to grow we will be in a position to win larger contracts with
larger organisations, many of which deem the ISO accreditation as a prerequisite for doing
business. It’s difficult to quantify how much work it will generate, but we are confident that we can increase turnover by another 10% over the next twelve months.”

Marcus Pearson, Manufacturing Growth Manager at MGP, added his support: “The recent
success with Amazon will create new opportunities and the management team at Viking
were keen to seek external measures of quality to reinforce its reputation.
“We had a conversation with Darren and secured funding to help him bring in an
experienced consultant to support the company on the implementation of the necessary procedures and documentation to secure the ISO 9001 accreditation. It is only a few months away and, when obtained, will be the next trigger in Viking’s growth.”

Darren concluded: “The MGP assistance has been outstanding from start to finish. In terms
of accessing the funding and the whole process, it’s been the ‘least friction’ support and funding process I’ve experienced. Going forward, we expect to see continued growth in Amazon as a B2B channel and will also be investing in R&D to further develop our own E-commerce channels and in data automation to streamline our digital production processes, speeding up the pace of product development in the process.”