With assistance from Enterprise Ireland’s Productivity Improvement Fund, a Dundalk equestrian company is transforming its performance, competitiveness and export capability.
Horseware Products Ltd has a reputation for consistently bringing innovation to the worldwide niche market for horse rugs.
The multi award-winning company achieved a global leadership position in the mid-90s with the design and manufacture of its ‘Rambo’ rug, which set new standards in the market.
Horseware Products has enjoyed major success ever since, solidly holding a place as a world-beating designer and manufacturer of other innovative horse rugs, and introducing a successful range of equestrian clothing and accessories.
The Dundalk company exports the bulk of its output to European, US, UK and Australian markets. Turnover in 2006 reached 120 million, a considerable upturn on the previous number of years during which, faced by rising costs in Ireland and increasing competition from Asian imports, Horseware Products was being forced to reduce capacity and shed jobs.
Expectations now are that the company can grow to a 130 million turnover by 2010.
According to Horseware Products MD Tom McGuiness the turnaround is due to improvements made under Enterprise Ireland’s Productivity Improvement Fund.
“Consistently over 20 years Enterprise Ireland has seen the need and gone out there to meet it, and they have delivered once again with this programme.”
The horse rug innovator is in the middle of a two-year capital investment, technology acquistion and training plan under the Productivity Improvement Fund that is significantly reducing production lead times and bringing an array of efficiencies to all areas of the business.
New software has speeded up the design process, while a 50,000 sq ft warehouse is stocked out to capacity due to a faster and more efficient manufacturing process. Other improvements have included a wireless scanning and barcoding reading system that enables operators to pick stock more quickly and ship it faster. There are now fewer errors, bottlenecks, and much less paperwork in comparison to the previous model. The company is also employing more people in warehousing and shipping, replacing manufacturing jobs lost several years ago.
“The results have been fantastic, and are enabling the business to grow significantly without any further heavy investment. We can now beat the pants off our competitors in efficiency as well as design.”