Precision engineering firm appoints first female MD

Dorking-based Broanmain Plastics has appointed a new Managing Director. Jo Davis takes up the helm at the precision and technical plastics injection moulding company from January 2020, having led operations at the family business since 2018. 

Jo’s appointment forms part of the company’s strategic succession plan, which involves investing in a more diverse workforce from shop floor to boardroom.  Since taking on the role of Operations Director, Jo has cemented the company’s industry reputation as a skills champion and an investor in employee welllbeing. Incumbent MD Wilf Davis is moving into the role of Chair, maintaining his strategic interest in company’s direction and governance, which his family founded more than 60 years ago. 

As part of the restructure, Thomas Catinat has been promoted internally to operations manager, taking on the responsibility of production and overseeing quality assurance and the tool room. Kamil Stec has also been named tool room manager having just completed his engineering apprenticeship with the firm.

Commenting on her appointment as MD, Jo said: “We have a fantastically talented team here at Broanmain. In the past year we have won a number of exciting new projects, production and tooling contracts. With the teams’ support, we will continue to assist our growing customer base and building on our strong reputation for service and moulding innovation in the electronics, precision optics, automotive, medical and consumer sectors.”

Thomas will report directly into Jo, managing the 30 strong production, after-moulding, assembly, quality, stores and tool room teams. Commenting on what this means for customers, Thomas said: “The number of clients we serve has been growing for several years now. We have made a number of changes internally, streamlining production, investing in machinery and reorganising the toolroom. Now, having a single reporting line across all operations at the two sites will make us even more efficient, multi-skilled and responsive to our customer’s manufacturing requirements and prototype projects.”

 Having already embarked on a significant expansion of its mass-manufacturing production facility with the acquisition of a fully-operational moulding site on the Surrey/Sussex borders late 2018, for the past 12-months Jo and the team have concentrated on streamlining operations, cross-skilling staff across the two sites and building a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. The heightened professionalism and enthusiasm has been noted by a number of existing and new customers, including Specac who awarded Broanmain their New Supplier of 2019 accolade.

Excited about what the future holds for the company, Jo reaffirms her call for greater diversity in plastics engineering. In the last few years Broanmain has continued to push the parameters. The company’s approach to recruitment, reward and recognition, training and development, employee wellbeing and succession planning resulted in them being shortlisted for a Plastic Industry Award in 2018. “More importantly, Broanmain has a strong and loyal team in place to ensure customers receive service continuity. This is especially important for complex tooling and moulding validation projects, as customers like the assurance that they are dealing with people who truly understand their business and what they are trying to accomplish,” adds Jo.

As MD, Jo believes that the company’s recent investment in machinery and personnel is giving customers greater confidence to switch suppliers and move overseas moulding to the UK.  Reporting that the majority of customers they work with have UK-based production lines, she notes that many have re-evaluated their component supply chain in recent years to better-guarantee delivery reliability. 

Much of the company’s long-term succession planning has been drawn from Jo’s previous experience in commercial law, predominantly litigation and employment law, to ensure Broanmain continued to invest in its people’s development. Thomas and Kamil’s recent promotions are testament to this. Since Jo joined the company in 2001, turnover at Broanmain Plastics has more than doubled. 

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