Raising a glass to KPM
Make UK’s Regional membership Manager for the South heads to Plymouth for a special celebration
Being invited to a birthday party always brings a smile to my face so I was delighted to be invited to help Kawasaki Precision Machinery (KPM) celebrate 25 years of operation in Plymouth.
Set on the edge of the river Tamar with views of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s iconic Tamar Bridge, the UK’s only Kawasaki factory has grown significantly over the years as production capabilities have stepped up to meet increasing global customer demand. Employing over 300 people, KPM has become a cornerstone of the local business community, taking an active role in community groups and events.
The company’s strong retention record and commitment to filling senior positions from internal talent has benefited hundreds of people from Plymouth and the surrounding area. And speaking to employees past and present, gives me the distinct impression that the company is as much a community as it is a business, with several employees spending their entire working lives at the business.
The business has seen a lot of growth over the last 25 years, with almost £60 million in sales. The company contributed £24.8million in GVA in 2018 and represents 8% of Plymouth’s entire export total. One constant of the business is the Staffa motor, which has been the foundation of the business since the start. Development of existing products and the introduction of new ones has kept the business ahead of competitors, with growth looking to continue well into the future, where , supporting and developing skills in the area will remain central to KPM’s mission.
The celebration followed the same agenda as the opening ceremony 25 years ago. Senior Kawasaki managers from Japan were joined by other VIPs, including MAKE UK’s CEO Stephen Phipson CBE, for a factory tour. This was followed by lunch overlooking Plymouth Hoe and a boat tour that passed under the Tamar Bridge to go alongside the factory, giving attendees a fantastic view of the facility and well as some local history from the boat’s very knowledgeable captain. Finally, the day was topped off by a fantastic dinner where we heard from the executives from Japan and the UK who have been instrumental in the company’s founding and continued success.
Speaking with the leadership team at the KMP factory, you could tell there was a real warmth towards Plymouth, the people, the factory, and a commitment to supporting KPM’s continued growth into the future.
Here’s to another 25 years of sustainable growth and success for KPM, continuing to ensure that Plymouth remains one of the South’s leading manufacturing areas.
Stephen Tulip is Regional Membership Manager in the South where we’ve been providing our members with the influence, insight and connections to help them grow for more than 120 years.