Out & About with Mansfield Pollard

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Published: 24 March 2015


Perched on a hillside overlooking a landfill site and the city of Bradford are the office and factories of Mansfield Pollard, the bespoke air handling and refrigeration equipment manufacturer.

The company began in 1866 making ductwork for the woollen industry, of which Bradford was the world centre of that business for a time. In their reception area, there is a original sheet metal order from 1929 which reinforces the pedigree of the business when you arrive. 

Mansfield Pollard’soffice sits amongst the gritty landscape of the city, surrounded by a mix of homes,local football pitches and other industries.It is not glamorous but, who cares?  

The beating heart of British industry 

Any stereotypical opinions about the industrial decay in the north and the demise British manufacturing are kicked squarely in the teeth by Mansfield Pollard. The company turned over £17 million in its last financial year, which was 30% up on the previous year.  

There is a new managing director in place, Joanna Robinson, and a new leaders in the sales, marketing and operations team to take the successful business into its next phase. I met Andrew Glen, the new sales and marketing director who has come over from working on some major UK consumer brands. 

The business makes anything from kitchen canopies to data centre cooling systems to acoustically tuned air handling systems for the MOD. Much of its business comes from the UK market. But, an increasing amount of their products are shipped to customers abroad in countries such as Dubai or Azerbaijan. 
Inside Mansfield Pollard - acr journal
Air handling units under construction at the Mansfield Pollard factory

Multi-site projects? No problem

Mansfield Pollard - acr journal
Mansfield Pollard is more than just a manufacturer, however. The company is successful because it has a team of dedicated 150 employees, most of who have been with the company for years and live nearby. The team is a mix of skilled engineers, design engineers, project managers, software engineers, customer support specialists and consultants.  

This team works with a mix of experts in the building services industry, including architects, specifiers and facilities managers, to name a few. The teams tend to get involved with projects, often, right from their inception to final handover.  

Multi-site projects are taken in their stride. Recently, the company was heavily involved in a kitchen upgrade of 130 Yorkshire County Council schools. The project had to be completed within the six weeks of the summer holidays to ensure the schools had functioning kitchen by the new autumn term.  

To get really close to its customers, the business embeds its consultants and engineers on site to make sure they understand the projects and challenges they have.  

Its longevity comes from its ability to adapt to changing customer requirements and focussing on its bespoke solutions for a wide range of customers. In short, Mansfield Pollard has no ‘off the shelf’ products. It makes products specific to what customers need. There is nothing ‘standard’ or grey about this company.  

Enough of the background

What about the heart of the business – the factory? 

A good way to tell how a company is doing is to walk around its factory. You can tell how well a company is doing by watching their staff at work, noticing how many products are being made and absorbing the atmosphere.  

Mansfield Pollard’s factory was buzzing. The business has two production sites in the city. One focuses on its data centre cooling products. The other on its canopy and air movement solutions.  

The data centre cooling solutions unit had units they were working on for a client that needed a solution which could be shipped in on a single base platform.
Mansfield Pollard data centre cooling - acr journal
A Mansfield Pollard data centre cooling solution in the making
Outside the main building, there were air handling units waiting to be shipped onto Lorries or moved onto the next stage of production. Inside the building, there were bespoke air handling units on the production line.  

One machine operator, without prompting, came up to me to explain the variety of items they can make on their laser cutting machine. The company’s kitchen canopy unit was packed with units ready to be shipped off to smart restaurant in the West Country.  

Mansfield Pollard is a company which still maintains the energy of its industrial heritage. It is, perhaps, typical of British engineering businesses which are packed with skills, experience and creativity for producing clever solutions. But, this comes with a reluctance to let people know just how good they are.  

I think that is about to change.