Women in Manufacturing
Aspiring UK business women are to be given recognition of their gender status in the law this April after the government introduces moves to ensure that companies publish gender pay data.
Some 9,000 businesses will have to estimate the data on their gender pay gap before the April deadline and publish it on a government website.
The move will largely impact firms with 250 employees or more, although sources said this will later be brought into the SME sector. Across the UK men earned 18% more than women last year, the Office for National Statistics says.
Larger number of women
Nevertheless, the UK’s most successful companies tend to have a larger number of women in senior positions, according to the ONS.
It’s a statistic that fits well with Val Gardner, managing director of Black Country-based Winster Ltd, a great example for other women who wish to succeed in manufacturing in the Midlands.
She originally started work for the industrial hose company 11 years ago in business development. Recently she was promoted to managing director when the owner decided to step aside from the business.
“I was trusted with Winster by the owner and asked to run it for him,” Val says. “I love the challenge. I took over when the market was quite difficult; we were really struggling for a few years. It was very challenging, but we’ve got a great team. I focus on loyalty and getting the team working together and that’s what’s happening.”
Expertise in business
Winster was first set up by Bill Wheatley in 1948, primarily selling industrial hose for the deep mining industry. As that sector declined from the 1970s onwards, Winster diversified into other sectors. Importantly, the company also started its manufacturing hub and production department.
For Val, this diversification and the additional expertise in the business has been crucial for differentiating Winster from its competitors.
“With our manufacturing base and packaging area, we can sell consumer lead, finished, tested products,” Val says. “Our competitors don’t have that exact fit.”
“We import products from different countries, across the EU and the Far East. We also have many UK suppliers.
“We work with loyal customers who have been with us for generations and those relationships have grown as we have grown. Last year was one of our best years, which is a testament to our products and team.
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