Oxford based Flightline Support UK is a global player in aviation refuelling - involved in the manufacture of tankers right through to supporting equipment such as aircraft steps, spare parts and operative training.
The company manufactures everything on-site so space is at a premium, especially when you consider that their core business is the building of large refuelling vehicles costing approximately £400,000.
“Historically we kept all the parts in the manufacturing unit but this was problematic from a stock control point of view. We couldn’t keep track of things as tightly as we wanted to and these are expensive parts. Also, of course, they take up lots of room” explained Jason Kew, Flightline’s Stores and Procurement Manager.
Flightline also used to unpack and sort deliveries in the open air, whatever the weather. This is no longer necessary as deliveries can be made directly into the Smart-Space structure. “To put the space into context, we have moved the contents of 5 shipping containers into here” said Jason. “Our new temporary building faces the unit so its easily accessible but, above all, it is dry, tidy and very easy for us to find what we need and keep track of these high ticket items of stock”.
As a result of this strategic move, the manufacturing unit is more efficient, less cluttered and, incredibly, the additional manufacturing space that has been freed up equates to £1 million of annual turnover.
Smart-Space had supplied Flightline at its previous site and so they were naturally included in the pitch for this new building. “They won the account because they ticked every box but, most importantly, Jason Lynock from Smart-Space got in his car and came to see us to do a thorough site visit. We didn’t get that level of enthusiasm or service offered by any of the other businesses.”
Jason explained how the Smart-Space team came and built the unit very quickly saying that “they were entirely self-sufficient and surprisingly tidy as well!” The whole project took 12 weeks with a two-week build time.
The building is set on a slope utilising some of the yard and some wasteland behind. It was accepted that the slope may present flooding issues but with some carefully worked out solutions, the building is watertight.
On a practical note, the building offers even more storage following the installation of a mezzanine floor. Flightline’s organisation within the unit has included wheeled racking so each can be loaded with the parts needed and then taken across the yard to the manufacturing unit very easily.
It’s clear that lighting isn’t needed except for underneath the mezzanine floor. The roof panels allow an exceptional amount of natural light to flood in. The unit is dry and free of condensation which is very important given the nature of the parts being stored inside - including aeroplane filter elements
.Going forward, Flightline has a number of plans. As the unit was built in the summer, heating may be introduced later in the year. There is also the potential to have some benches built to allow for a dedicated workshop area. As the building is being leased for eight years, there is plenty of potential to enjoy the new space and also relocate or extend if needed. So there is lots to consider, making this a truly flexible, future-proof option.
For now however, the operational and financial contributions to Flightline make this instant building an instant success.