TOP 50 MANUFACTURERS: Time for firms to go hi-tech

Master Cutler David Grey MBE
Master Cutler David Grey MBE

There are few people who cannot have tasted Greencore’s billion pound success – literally.

Its food-to-go business has cornered 44 per cent of Britain’s supermarket sandwich market - it makes 600million a year at its factory in Worksop.

It is also a big player in convenience food including ready meals, chilled soups and sauces, cakes, desserts and Yorkshire puddings.

Greencore is the biggest manufacturer in Sheffield City Region by turnover - breaking the £1bn barrier - the second most profitable and the biggest employer, according to the Top 50 Manufacturers’ table published by The Star and Sheffield accountants Barber Harrison & Platt.

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Established in Dublin in 1991, Greencore’s UK office is registered at Barlborough, Chesterfield.

Manufacturing is still vital to the region, earning 20 per cent of its income, compared to 11 per cent nationally.

Its reputation for metals is upheld by Outokumpu Stainless, Firth Rixson (now Alcoa) and Forgemasters in Sheffield, Doncaster wire specialist Bridon and Rotherham’s AMG Superalloys, among a host of others.

Master Cutler David Grey, who represents the region’s manufacturers, said the sector was “in a good place” but he was keen to see some of the breakthroughs and technology filtering down from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to small companies.

The AMRC, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, is owned by Sheffield University and works with global giants including Rolls Royce and Boeing.

He added: “The Advanced Manufacturing Park has now reached critical mass and is driving on. The challenge is how does the AMRC drive advances into SMEs so they can take advantage?

“I’m fully supportive of what it does, but this is an economy of SMEs.

“The challenge is to widen participation in these advances. That’s as much a challenge for business as the AMRC.”