Focussed on safety, quality, efficiency, cost and on-time delivery, manufacturing excellence is one of Vitec's core competitive strengths.
Our strategy is to continuously improve and optimise our manufacturing and assembly operations globally to maximise quality, service and efficiency, while reducing costs. We operate manufacturing facilities in the UK, Italy and Costa Rica, and assembly operations in a number of locations in the US. In 2017, we invested significantly in our facilities.
We operate competitive, flexible manufacturing operations which deliver premium products and reliability to our markets. Vitec's facilities follow lean principles and, where appropriate, are automated. Our supply chain is efficient and our people are highly trained, multiskilled, and focused on continuous improvement. Our “improve the core” strategic priority is focused on driving further efficiency and investing appropriately to support our wider growth plans and deliver increasing returns to our shareholders.
The provision of a healthy, safe and productive work environment for all of our employees is a high priority for Vitec across all sites. We continue to implement initiatives aimed at sustainability and protecting the environment across all of our locations.
Vitec Centre of Excellence for high volume heads and tripods
Vitec manufactures 80% of the supports for its Imaging Solutions Division in our Italian facility, across our Manfrotto, Gitzo and Avenger brands. The 320,000 ft2 site was established in 1986 and employs around 400 people. Vitec is the largest manufacturer of branded supports in the world, with over three million units produced annually. As a result of our investment in people, lean processes and automation, our premium supports are produced more efficiently in Italy than elsewhere. "Made in Italy" is a distinct competitive advantage in this market and in October 2017 we moved the manufacturing of our Manfrotto Befree Advanced tripod from China to Italy. Our new automatic aluminium tube cutting and punching machine is capable of producing one tube every four seconds, is seamlessly linked to the new assembly lines and gives a high throughput of consistently high quality products. This tube machine received its Industry 4.0 certification at the end of 2017.
Vitec Centre of Excellence for Imaging Solutions lighting controls
Vitec acquired the Lastolite lights business in 2011 for its Imaging Solutions Division and has transformed this factory into its specialist centre for the production of lighting controls, reflectors, backgrounds, umbrellas, soft boxes and flash accessories. With around 60 people the 43,000 ft2 factory produces 360,000 high quality, durable units annually. This business has remained highly competitive against mainly Far Eastern competitors due to its continuous improvement methodology and the experienced gained from its sister facility in Italy.
Cartago, Costa Ricaplus
Vitec Centre of Excellence for low volume heads, tripods and batteries
Vitec selected Costa Rica for one of its main manufacturing and engineering facilities because of its educated workforce, its proximity to our largest market (North America), its low cost base, and its stable government. Our Costa Rica facility manufactures heads, tripods and camera accessories for the Vinten, Sachtler, OConnor and Anton/Bauer brands in our Production Solutions Division. The site was established in 1985 and has approximately 180 employees producing over 50,000 products annually, in a 65,000 ft2 facility. The Costa Rica facility has invested heavily in introducing lean principals to make it one of the most efficient manufacturing facilities in Central America.
We are in the process of consolidating our manufacturing operations from Shelton, US to Costa Rica.
Bury St. Edmunds, UKplus
Vitec Centre of Excellence for robotics and Flowtech
Vitec's Production Solutions Division will relocate its Bury St. Edmunds operation into a new, purpose-built site nearby in H1 2018. Replacing the 50-year old existing factory, the new facility will specialise in advanced technology in areas such as robotics, automation and broadcast studio equipment for our Vinten and Sachtler brands. It will include a fully automated, highly efficient and proprietary process for the development of carbon fibre for the Flowtech tripod, which maintains our product differentiation and competitive edge. Vitec has invested significantly in the new, 66,000 ft2 site which will house around 180 people across manufacturing, engineering, operations and other functions, and produces approximately 20,000 units annually. Our focus on continuous improvement has led to productivity, work flow and space utilisation improvements and resulted in the new site having a smaller footprint.