A critical automotive supplier has secured one of the industry’s leading awards for quality and performance.

William Mitchell, which is part of the Rical Group, has been recognised with the Ford Q1 award, marking the 20th year it has been supplying fine blank components to the carmaker’s plants in the UK, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, India, Turkey, and the United States.

The certification was presented to the management team and staff at the Black Country firm’s factory in Smethwick last week.

It is only given to companies who demonstrate excellence beyond the ISO/TS standard in five key areas – capable systems, continuous improvement, on time delivery and quality, superior manufacturing processes and customer satisfaction.

“This is a really special moment for the business and reinforces our strategic supplier status with Ford,” commented Howard Nuttall, General Manager at William Mitchell.

“Our fine blanked components are used extensively in the automotive sector and end up in engines, seating mechanisms, drivetrain systems, window regulators, door latch and braking systems.”

He continued: “We are producing to exacting quality every day and in large volumes, with our 80-strong workforce successfully supplying Ford for the past two decades.

“The Q1 Award is a prestigious standard acknowledged by automotive OEMs and

supply chains globally and demonstrates the strong foundations that underpin our strategy for growth in both home and international markets.”

Left to Right: Paul Garbett (Finance Director of Rical Group), Howard Nuttall (General Manager of William Mitchell), Byron Head (CEO of Rical Group), Gabriella Mach (Manufacturing Manager of William Mitchell), Steve Vaughan (Supplier Technical Assistance Engineer at Ford), Ian Bissell (Quality Manager of William Mitchell) and Paul Marsh (Managing Director of Rical Group).

William Mitchell is the UK’s leading specialist in fine blanked components, and this sits alongside its considerable capabilities in progression presswork.

This process offers many advantages over traditional presswork and machined components, including an automated high-speed process, production of close tolerance finished components and high-volume capability.

It also reduces the requirement for secondary operations and is lower cost than a machined equivalent.

Howard went on to add: “We have invested heavily in the skills of our staff and in creating one of the most advanced fine blanking facilities in Europe.

“This includes robotics, in-house tool design and toolroom capabilities that allow us to manufacture both complex fine blank and progression tools.

“Automotive makes up 70% of the plant’s turnover, with William Mitchell parts heading to Lear, Brose, Weber Hydraulik, Phinia, Tsubaki and Inteva. We also supply into power generation, electric hand tools, aerospace, electronics, and medical device sectors.”

Steve Vaughan, STA Engineer at Ford, concluded: “Our supply chain is critical to us successfully meeting rising volumes and producing world class cars and commercial vehicles.

“We have an excellent working relationship with William Mitchell and the standard of the parts it produces for us far surpasses the typical quality required for TS16949. Our Q1 title is only given to our very best suppliers and Howard and the team should be rightly proud of their achievement.”

Rical Group is one of the Black Country’s longest-established industrial groups with an annual turnover of £17m, employing more than 200 people across its four businesses.

William Mitchell, the largest of the divisions, is joined by Fellows (deep draw and heavy presswork specialist), Multiforms (metal pressings, wireforms and strip products) and Taurus Engineering (precision sheet metal fabricator).

Rical Group