Citizen Machinery UK’s new £3 million Centre of Excellence has received its official opening, with the event being successfully project managed by Adfield.

The centre, based on Hurst Business Park in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, is the result of a major investment by Citizen’s Japanese parent and a major show of confidence in the UK operation and the wider UK economy.

The 1,660m² centre houses a showroom, international conference area, customer training school, engineering department and administrative offices, while the 680m² showroom and technical centre extension will enable partner companies to set up permanent demonstration areas.

To underline the importance of the new centre, both to Citizen and the rest of the industry, a showpiece ceremony was arranged to show off the facility to Citizen management, suppliers, other stakeholders and the media.

This involved Adfield liaising with Citizen management to project manage a showpiece ceremony stretched out on a global canvas.

In recognition of the facility’s importance, the opening event was attended by senior management from Citizen’s parent company in Japan, while representatives from the company’s operations in Europe, Scandinavia and Israel, together with civic dignitaries and politicians were also present.

With Adfield’s support, more than 150 people attended the opening ceremony, including guests specially invited by Adfield such as Dudley South MP, Mike Wood, the Mayor and Council Leader of Dudley MBC and representatives from manufacturing support group, Made in the Midlands.

They joined more than 50 of Citizen’s UK employees including those from the company’s headquarters in Bushey. Joining them were Citizen representatives from Japan and around Europe, together with dealers and supplier partners from Japan, France, Italy, Portugal, Scandinavia and Israel.

Staff from the contractors fulfilling the challenging build – which was completed in just 26 weeks – were also present for the occasion.

Citizen’s deputy managing director Darren Wilkins was the first to speak at the opening ceremony, with a script specially written for the occasion by Adfield.

He said: “Citizen UK is a growing business, with a growing number of turnkey business solutions tailored to meet our customers’ exacting requirements.

“Nevertheless, a decision to invest £3 million in the UK manufacturing industry in the current climate is one that was not taken lightly.

“However, the increase in capacity offered by the new centre means we are now better able to serve the needs of not just our UK customers but our wider European businesses, together with our network of dealerships in western Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Africa.

“We have – and will continue to – work very closely with our sister group of companies across Europe, especially Italy and Germany.”

Whilst the new centre is one of the largest Citizen operations in Europe, the company’s UK headquarters remains in Bushey, near London and this is where the majority of its administration staff are based.

President of Citizen Machinery Japan, Mr Keiichi Nakajima, travelled from Japan to attend the ceremony.

In a separate speech prepared by Adfield, he said: “Citizen Machinery UK is now established as UK market leader for bar turning and sliding head sales, greatly contributing to the growth of our business in Europe. As a result of this performance, we are on target for a new record high, with 1,200 units sold in Europe last year.

“Underpinning this success has been a significant programme of investment in plant and equipment, both within Japan and beyond.

“The investment made in this new UK centre of excellence exceeds all of these and is a demonstration of Citizen’s confidence in the UK.

“Whereas other machine tool builders focus more on investing in emerging markets such as China and India, Citizen has always had faith in the quality of the UK engineering industry.

“Therefore, it was a simple decision on my part to commit to investing in this new facility. Standing here today – in what is the heart of the UK manufacturing industry – and seeing all of CMUK’s staff brimming with confidence, I am convinced that my decision was the right one and that this investment will bring significant benefits to Citizen including growing its market share.”

After the presentations, Mr Nakajima cut a ribbon formally opening the new centre. He then planted a cherry tree in the grounds of the 1.1-acre site as a traditional symbol of Japanese culture and a lasting reminder of the strong bonds between Japan and the UK.

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