Keltech 2016 “Year in review”

As 2016 starts to draw to a close it's time to take a breath and reflect on the year as a whole; Amid challenging market conditions throughout 2016 with oil, gas and mining sectors flagging globally and not to forget Brexit of course it was a year in which Keltech continued to prosper. For the third year running Keltech has now I’m proud to say posted a growth year.

Here are our stand-out moments of the year:

City & Guilds Programme “Learn while you earn”

In January our first 4 candidates began on our internally developed City & Guilds certified programme. 2 years in development the initiative was finally launched at the beginning of the year where our candidates enrolled in the Engineering Diploma programme which is fully delivered in house at Keltech. We have 3 qualified trainers who deliver the programme with periodic City & Guilds external verification. Candidates are awarded credits upon completion of each module. The in house trainers come with a wealth of industry specific knowledge allowing the course/learning be tailored to suit the needs of Keltech and the candidate. Now nearing completion our 2016 candidates are within touching distance of receiving a level 6 award that is recognisable by all major 3rd level institutions. Keltech are now accepting applications for the class of 2017.

Fabrication Excellence

With a growing customer portfolio Keltech continues to strive for fabrication excellence. Through the ongoing tutorship of our weld expert Piotr Starosciak Keltech surpassed the 25 mark of fully certified welders onsite recognised at BS EN ISO 9606-1 2013 level in March. Recruitment and training is ongoing and by mid 2017 Keltech expects that number of certified welders onsite to reach 40. Keltech would be delighted to accept suitable applications to

Bauma visit

In April Business Development Manager Seamus Lawlor and Engineering Manager Pat Power travelled to Munich, Germany for Bauma “the world’s leading trade fair for construction machinery, building material machines, mining machines, construction vehicles and construction equipment.” The event which only takes place every 3 years brought together a host of existing and potential Keltech OEM customers. Keltech produced product such as fuel tanks, hydraulic tanks, cabins and acoustic enclosures were visible on customers machines such as: Terex, CAT, Cummins, Hiab/Moffett, Combilift and Selwood Pumps at Bauma. The sun shone all week and it was the perfect setting to engage with existing customers, meet with potential new customers over a coffee and catch up on all the latest developments in our industry.

Syracuse University Visit

In June Keltech welcomed a travelling party of 30 masters students from Syracuse University, USA. The students study stream had a keen focus on “innovation for growth” with the Keltech success story of how we have transformed our organisation from being classed as a “Sub-Contract sheet metal organisation” to a “Contract Manufacturer Partner to OEMs” over a short period of time driving year on year growth really resonating with them. Keltech have maintained contact with many of the students since as they have chosen to complete their final dissertation on our business model.

New Customers New Markets

Since late 2015 Keltech had begun to prospect new customers in new markets. Based on in-depth market research of mainland Europe it was our belief that we had a strong value proposition that would resonate with major OEMs. This was borne out in mid-2016 as Keltech acquired their first European based customer. On completion of the supply agreement Keltech were provided with the feedback that our specific level of expertise with regards to tanks manufacturing and ensuring optimum tank internal cleanliness were the key components in the award of the business. Since then Keltech has continued to prosper with the further addition of another major European based OEM now imminent in Q1 2017 and many more warm leads in the pipeline.

Keltech feature in Manufacturing Today Europe Magazine.

Having created a niche in the industry as tailored contract manufacturing partners to OEM’s a “steady buzz” has been building among peers/customers/etc, this paired with our new found prowess in mainland Europe brought us to the attention of the Manufacturing Today Europe Magazine. This cumulated in a 2 page feature on Keltech in their summer edition which was published in August. The article focused on our impressive growth numbers despite challenging marketing conditions and honed in on particularly the tank side of our business and how we had implemented a “growth hack strategy” by becoming the experts in tank internal cleanliness hence providing the customer with real value while creating an undeniable edge over our competition.

Craig does us proud

Few events in the world of rallying have reached the iconic status of the WRC Rally Finland. In late July our very own Craig Breen captured a podium finish in his very first year of WRC. Keltech staff were overjoyed as the news filtered through of Craig’s magnificent 3rd place finish. We look forward to seeing Craig in his Citroen next year as he recently penned a 2 year contract!

Tanks the 2016 growth spurt area

Keltech have 4 main sweetspots: Acoustic Enclosures, Fuel & Hydraulic tanks, Overhead Guards/Cabins and finally Electrically Integrated Enclosures (Telecoms etc). Keltech recorded growth in all 4 commodities in 2016 but the tank side of the business went into overdrive. Having manufactured tanks for almost 20 years at Keltech our ability produce tanks was undeniable, however having identified with a common trend 3 years ago that OEMs were requiring tanks which now needed optimal levels of internal cleanliness due to incredibly sensitive new fuel and hydraulic systems keltech set about solving the problem. Through masses of research by our project team working in collaboration with our chemical partners “Chemetall”, Keltech developed a post paint wash system which is capable of jetting 360 degrees at pressure a specially developed mix of chemical that when drained removes potentially harmful contaminants. After this point Keltech fit all final tank furniture such as filters, gauges etc before bunging off all remaining open ports and securely packaging for transport. The OEM customer now receives a plug and play tank in which they have the utmost confidence to direct fit as they are safe in the knowledge that the tank has been internally treated. The tank value proposition has resonated to such a degree that our manufacturing numbers have doubled in this 12 month period. By the close of Q1 2017 with further new customer acquisitions Keltech will be manufacturing on average 550 tanks per week at our Waterford based facility.

SQEP Silver Caterpillar Certification granted

In September Keltech Business Development Manager Seamus Lawlor and Keltech Founder and Managing Director Ray Breen travelled to the Perkins Peterborough plant to be presented with our SQEP Silver Certification award. The award is recognition of Keltech’s excellent supplier performance to the UK based engine plant. On presentation of the award Anna Lee “Perkins” spoke of the strength of the relationship that exists between the 2 firms that has developed over numerous years. Dave Thomas “Perkins” discussed at length the invaluable technical support supplied by Keltech from NPI stage right through to the production stages. The issuing of this Caterpillar SQEP Silver level certification is something that makes Keltech part of an elite group, in fact Keltech are 1 of only 2 suppliers based in the UK and Ireland from a fabrication background to be granted Silver Level status. Ray concluded the ceremony with a short acceptance speech on behalf of Keltech where firstly he thanked Caterpillar for their ongoing business and then gave a special mention to the Keltech team back in Waterford “This has all been made possible by our excellent team back at our plant; our highly trained and skilled managers, office staff and floor operatives provide Keltech with a key edge over our competitors, this paired with our customer focused approach has made us the company we are today and I am proud to accept this award on Keltech’s behalf”


Now that we reach towards the end of 2016 what has Brexit meant for Keltech and what will it mean? Our feeling is the market went into an initial shock. UK based opportunities we had been working on around the time of the Brexit vote were put on hold and uncertainty reigned supreme. However given a month or two to settle and having met face to face with all of our UK based customers normal operations resumed. Our UK customer base many whom we have dealt with for 10 years plus classed Keltech as a vital cog in their wheel and one they would not lose on any account. Opportunities that had stalled gradually came back to the table and in fact our customer acquisition numbers for UK based firms is higher in the second half of the year post Brexit than it was for the first half pre Brexit! We continue to monitor the situation and are of course cognisant of it but for us it is business as usual.

New Hires & Promotions continue

New customers and increased growth means that Keltech have increased our headcount in 2016. As a company we value highly the development and progression of our people and owing to this we have the proud statistic that 80% of all mid to senior level management appointments have been made from within in the last 5 years and 2016 was no different. We have also recruited externally; our Engineering Department has welcomed Emmett Fell, Michael O’ Donnell and Kevin Walsh in recent months, Lucy Gunning has joined as Human Resource Manager, Brendan Kirwan has joined the Finance Department and Karolina Dendura has joined the Purchasing team but to name a few. Recruitment is ongoing and if you feel you are suitable candidate we would be delighted to accept applications to

How about 2017?

As our reputation grows as a leading contract manufacturing partner to global OEMs so does our sales pipeline which has never been stronger. Keltech has advanced new sales opportunities in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA for 2017. The company guided by our “Towards 2020 strategy” will continue to enhance the key cornerstones of our current success through the ongoing development of our people and plant. We will continue to strive to be the experts in our chosen fields providing a strategic competitive edge to our valued customers.

Many thanks to all of our employees, suppliers and customers for your ongoing support in 2016, we wish you and yours a happy and safe Christmas and New Year!

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