Manufacturer begins new chapter with vow to emerge from the shadows

Slack & Parr's headquarters in Kegworth

An East Midlands manufacturer that only a few short months ago collapsed into administration now has ambitions to emerge from the shadow of its reputation as one of the region’s “best-kept secrets”.

Slack & Parr, based in Kegworth, is thriving again after being rescued by Hayward Tyler Fluid Handling, a subsidiary of international engineering company Avingtrans last August, in a deal which saved 100 jobs.

Administrators were called in at the firm in July after a lethal cocktail of cancelled orders, customs issues, Brexit and the pandemic meant the 100-year-old company was haemorrhaging cash. Some 40 people lost their jobs at the time.

A visit to the company’s state-of-the-art headquarters in the Leicestershire town of Kegworth lays bare the agony this caused managing director Edward Barrington, who has been with the firm for 30 years.

Barrington is emotional when talking about the company that he started at as an apprentice and worked his way up through to become managing director – especially when we talk about how he and fellow Neil Anderton fought to save the company, which is a world-leader in the manufacturer of precision metering pumps, last summer. So much so that we move on to talk about the future.

“Joining the Avingtrans group of companies has enabled us to secure the employment of 100 highly skilled and valued staff and our entire management team who are now leading the next phase of our evolution,” said Barrington.

“Becoming part of a larger engineering group means that we are stronger, more agile and more resilient than we were before. The deal gives us the resources to invest in our manufacturing operations in ways that make us more efficient and faster to adapt to the changing needs of the markets we serve.

“The speed with which the deal with Avingtrans was completed meant that we were able to continue manufacturing and fulfilling customer orders without disruption throughout the acquisition process, and this has been fundamental for us in retaining our all elements of our business.

“Together, we’re confident we can build on our heritage of precision engineering and consolidate our position at the forefront of the pump industry for decades to come.”

Slack & Parr’s high-accuracy fluid metering pumps are used by the international manmade fibre market to manufacture high-quality yarns and textiles including acrylic, polyester, nylon, spandex, aramid, carbon fibre and composites.

“Our global reputation has been built over many decades of delivering products of the highest quality, reliability, and technical efficiency,” said Barrington.

“Our commitment and ability to supply our customers with the most accurate precision metering pumps in the world remains unchanged; our focus now is how we can continue to achieve the best possible technical results for our customers while improving the speed and efficiency of our manufacturing operations.”

Since being taken over by Avingtrans, Slack & Parr has begun to rebuild its workforce, creating around another 10 jobs at the 73,000 sq ft factory it moved into in 2020.

Anderton now has big plans for the future. “We have a global reputation,” he says, “but we’re know as one of the East Midlands best-kept secrets. We don’t want to be a secret – we want to start shouting about our expertise on a global scale. With the future of the company now secure I’m confident we can do this.”