The firm, which builds spraying equipment for the agricultural and aviation industries, has reduced the time needed to build its crop-spraying machines from 370 hours to 205 hours, resulting in major savings and improvements in delivery times.

An SME team from the MTC's Manufacturing Support Services operation, based in Coventry, worked with Chafer to help it meet delivery times, reduce build hours, increase capacity and improve flexibility, ensuring on-time delivery to customers.

The MTC team improved the factory layout at Chafer's Gainsborough manufacturing plant, reduced work in progress, reduced production costs and identified areas where investment in technology could bring about productivity and profitability gains. Chafer's workforce was also involved in the improvement programme, which reduced man hours per machine by 45%.

Chafer managing director Rob Starkey says: "We've managed to double our turnover in two years without significantly increasing our overhead costs. We've been able to adapt to big changes in an environment that's already busy. Having the MTC behind us has made the changes easier and more achievable."

The MTC's Manufacturing Support Services team works with SMEs to improve productivity and processes. They have access to the MTC's advanced manufacturing and research facilities, as well as the MTC's team of engineering and manufacturing experts. The team has worked with more than 500 SMEs, and at any one time has more than 150 live projects.

Dean Baker, director of the MTC's Business Launch Centre and Manufacturing Support Services team, adds: "We were delighted to help Chafer, one of the many SMEs we are working with, to improve their profitability and productivity and maintain a successful and sustainable business."