WMTR

Before Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research (WMTR), there was a Canadian-Swiss company called Alcan, a well-known aluminium manufacturer.

Background

In 2003 there was an application by Coca-Cola to build a manufacturing unit to make aluminium cans for the drinks but the council turned them down. That was the death of Alcan.

Alan Cooper, Managing Director at WMTR reflects: “The Directors of Alcan business got in touch with a few companies to sell all the equipment and one of the companies was an American company called Westmoreland. They came across, looked at all the equipment and the staff and put a cheque on the table there and then. That was the birth of WMTR.

“Westmoreland was started as a family business. Their business grew tremendously in the States because of the space race, so they picked up quite big orders from NASA. WMTR was formed when Westmoreland came over looking for a European Base.

“From 2003 the company has grown substantially. We now employ 40 people and we are currently running a big recruitment program so our numbers should go up to fifty, including several apprentices. We have several PHD engineers, because it is a very technical business and our biggest clients are the big aerospace companies, like Airbus and Rolls Royce.”

Challenge

Alan used to be the sole manager of HR before coming to Croner for support: “Before Croner, I used to do all the HR and with the business growing rapidly it very quickly became a burden. Being an agony aunt for 40 people is quite difficult. As we grow we want to make sure we get good professional back up and procedures.

“I would say that workers in our industry tend to have a lot of HR issues and need plenty of support. One of our competitors has several labs, whereas we have one. Having multiple locations can cause issues as the culture at each are usually different. Not to mention some of the logistics issues that can arise from having to move around from one site to another when taking on a big job.

“We decided to outsource our HR due to sheer volume of HR issues and contracts coming up, we needed one place to put it all, and we needed the advice. I was doing all of it and there just weren’t enough hours in the day.”

How We've Helped

Once signed up with Croner, several OnSite days were arranged: “Parvin initially came out to do a survey, then we had Charles Mukusha on the HR side, subsequently we had James Dean come out on the health & safety side.

“Then we put the Simplify system and the EAP in place. So we have written all new contracts, all new handbooks, complied with everything GDPR.

“Our most recent OnSite day with James Dean was focused on health & safety. James is extremely professional and thanks to him all of our risk assessments are now done. Typically we have the consultants over for the whole work day as we can make the most of their expertise that way. We’ve worked on some action plans, which are very good and your phone support system is fantastic.

“The Simplify system was initially a little tricky to navigate, but now I’ve been shown the ropes I know exactly where to go. One issue we are tackling at the moment is that we are looking to hire a migrant worker, this is obviously a particularly tricky issue, but there is a section on this on the Simplify system, which is great.”

Alan says: “I’d definitely recommend the Croner OnSite services and I have done already, I enjoy networking and when you hear people complaining about their HR problems, I always point them in Croner’s direction.”

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