High quality manufacturers
LE-AL Furniture Ltd is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of top quality executive office furniture, with more than 40 years’ experience in the industry.
Headquartered in Stockport, the company exports almost 60% of its total sales to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Russia.
In addition to their comprehensive range of standard office products, LE-AL Furniture also has extensive experience in creating prestigious bespoke projects for customers across the world.
Investing in state-of-the-art machinery
In Summer 2013, the company made the decision to invest in a new CNC router. Their existing machine was more than 15 years old and coming to the end of its useful life; its scope was limited and the software no longer supported upgrades or maintenance.
Company Director Lesley Jamison spent the next six months researching the most appropriate machinery before deciding on a Homag CNC router, worth more than £100,000.
However, the company didn’t have the cash reserves to fund the cash purchase of a new machine and so they needed to find sustainable financing.
Gaining a grant from the Regional Growth Fund
As a small manufacturer, Lesley Jamison was aware of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grants and was introduced to Close Brothers Asset Finance, who had been awarded a substantial portion of the fund to distribute from the Government.
Sales Manager at Close Brothers, Simon Parker, dealt with the grant application on the company’s behalf, resulting in a grant of £18,000 that was put towards the cost of the new machine. Simon structured a Hire Purchase agreement that would cover the remaining balance over a five-year period.
Future-proofing the business
The new CNC router has enabled LE-AL to achieve a greater accuracy in many processes and also to mechanize previously manual processes, thus increasing speed, accuracy and efficiency.
Lesley Jamison said: “Our new machine helps us to meet our objectives in terms of increasing quality and improving design. It does a lot more than the previous machine did and I see it as a means to future-proof our business for the next 10 or 15 years.
“The investment has given a morale boost to the workforce and it’s given me real peace of mind; I know that it won’t break down and that the manufacturer will maintain it for us, when required, having a base in the UK not too far away.”
“My experience of Close Brothers was very positive. Simon made the RGF application very easy, thanks to his knowledge and quick decision-making. It only took about six weeks from the initial meeting to receiving the funding. Whilst our bank is supportive of us, we saw no real benefit to trying of obtain the funding through them as they didn’t support plant and machinery finance last year,” she added.