Prince Michael welcomes Portsmouth firm's new £3m factory

PRINCE Michael marked the opening of a company's new factory.

Saturday, 2nd July 2016, 6:00 am
Harwin chairman Damon de Laszlo, left, showing HRH Prince Michael of Kent around the new factory. Picture: Sarah Standing (160932-5868)

The Queen’s cousin was the guest of honour at Harwin Plc in Farlington, yesterday as the electronic connector firm celebrated the £3m construction of a new facility.

Prince Michael was joined by other high-profile guests including Portsmouth North MP and armed forces minister Penny Mordaunt as they toured the complex, which was built in April this year.

The royal unveiled a plaque at the top of the three-storey building specialising in advanced manufacturing and got to meet experienced workers and apprentices.

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Harwin chairman Damon de Laszlo said the factory will enable the business to grow and become stronger.

He said: ‘The £3m investment in the new facility, which houses our research and development, a program in which we invest approximately 10 per cent of our sales every year, along with the automatic assembly areas, will enable us to continue to expand in the world market.’

He added: ‘We are committed to high-quality manufacturing in the UK. That means investing in the latest equipment, designing products for automated assembly, and empowering and training our flexible workforce.’

‘The success we have experienced in recent years meant that we had simply outgrown our existing facilities.

‘So to meet our growth plans, we had to expand.

‘At the same time, we are working on developing our operations using Big Data methodologies – from a customer ordering perspective as well as manufacturing data, so we expect significant productivity gains to be made along with the increase in capacity.’

Harwin has been manufacturing electronic components in Britain for more than 60 years. The company has been based in Portsmouth since 1958. It says it remains committed to staying in the UK despite many of its competitors having moved its manufacturing operations to Asia to save on costs.

Harwin employs 128 staff and 144 globally. Apprentices make up 10 per cent of the workforce and the company has run apprenticeships since 2003 – and senior management have come up through the ranks via this route.