Its technical expertise helps keep the UK safe and functioning, yet due to its low-profile work few are aware of the vital contribution made by Nemco, a leading electronics producer, based not overseas but close to hand in Hertfordshire.
But as part of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), a group of firms that’s now lobbying the Government to provide support for reshoring (returning production to the UK) and supply chain security, Nemco’s growth plans could soon increase its visibility.
The company’s contract services span product prototyping, manufacture, logistics and repairs, supplying all manner of companies from global defence operators to EV charging.
Its solutions lie in areas among the most crucial for modern economies: aerospace, military, medical, industrial, renewables and transport, such as rail safety systems both trackside and in cab.
The “(micro) chips with everything” revolution, with its demand for embedded intelligence in products, fuelled growth for the business that was founded by owners David and Angela Pearce back in 1985.
The visionary insight identified an opportunity to be a subcontractor to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) at a time when much of British manufacturing was struggling and being outsourced internationally.
Today Nemco has a £30 million turnover target for 2026/7 and employs 120 at its site in Stevenage.
Reinvestment from retained profits, some £400,000, has paid off and here it now operates six automated high-speed production lines assembling printed circuit boards (PCBs), the medium that’s a universal presence connecting electronic components in devices.
Other specialisms include Nemco’s full box builds which house complete electronics assemblies including PCBs, cables, wiring looms and connectors.
“We’re a one-stop shop, very pleased with our investment decisions purchasing equipment and we’re building on our established markets in defence and aerospace with new ones in electrification and renewables,” says sales and marketing director David Duric.
Nemco took a leading role helping to supply ventilators for hospitals during Covid. “It showed how well we could pull together,” he adds.
Progress now also depends on whether recruiting skilled talent – its biggest current challenge – becomes easier.
The company has 47 female staff with one woman engineer. “Our big problem is recruitment and also staff retention after training,” says Duric. “We’re addressing this by getting out more locally to schools and colleges and working with local authorities.”
Nemco recently joined the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), a collective of seven sub-contract makers and an engineering design agency committed to promoting UK industry.
It is pressing for a “more coherent industrial strategy and a replacement for the business support programmes that have closed due to EU funding ending”.
A once-in-a-generation, multi-million-pound opportunity has arrived to bring back production from lower economies, MAN emphasises.
This is happening because OEMs are taking into account the full ‘landing price’ of a part, a calculation making domestic firms more competitive.
“Post-Covid it’s been noticeable how companies are reassessing supply chain risks and turning to reshoring. We are picking up more orders as a consequence,” says Nemco MD David Pearce.
“But action must be sooner rather than later,” warns Rowan Crozier, chief executive of MAN member and metal stamping specialist Brandauer.