WCM&A is a British manufacturer of badges, promotional merchandise & awards based in Herefordshire. With the aim of rewarding innovation, randd uk claim R&D tax credits from HMRC on behalf of UK businesses that are undergoing qualifying research and development activities.
Since 1976, WCM&A have developed an impressive range of badges, promotional merchandise and awards, selling exclusively to trade buyers. “We manufacture a complete range of quality merchandise but historically we are best known for being The Badge People, manufacturer of the UK’s widest selection of quality personalised and reusable window badges” – WMC&A, 2017
The company have an interesting history from inception and “40 years on, WCM&A continues to grow year on year building on [this] strong heritage of quality design, technological innovation and fantastic customer care” – WMC&A, 2017
Based in Stoke Lacy (Herefordshire), WCM&A develop and manufacture products in-house within a fully equipped 11,000 sq. ft. factory to retain full control over quality and lead times. This British manufacturer is certified with ISO9001 quality and ISO14001 environmental certification to ensure “complete supply chain accountability and that your brand supports ethical production, fair wages and decent working conditions. Understanding the provenance of your products is vital.” – WCM&A, 2017
A wide variety of materials such as sheet metal, plastics, acrylics, wood, vinyl and paper are used in production along with a mixture of traditional and digital print techniques. Products created by WCM&A are used by household names including Disney, British Airways, Dell, Ladbrokes, M&S, NHS, Oxfam, Premier Inn, Thomas Cook, Waitrose and more.
Fierce competition from overseas have presented a difficult challenge for WCM&A who are forced to battle against manufacturers in the Far East, particularly China, who exploit cheap labour; research and development is vital to compete in their fast-paced market. To improve cost and quality, a key development project around glue dispensing has successfully resulted in bringing the production of the clutch pin badge back into UK production; this leading UK manufacturer is also able to effectively compete with supply chain accountability. Simon Adam, Managing Director for WCM&A explained:
“Understanding the provenance of your products is vital. Simply put, all of our promotional merchandise, badges and awards are designed and manufactured here in the UK. No ifs, no buts.”
Highly experienced staff carry out research and development to create extremely bespoke products with new materials and production methods. Customers are provided with the most efficient, cost effective and bespoke solutions without compromising on quality. In-house software development that is unique within the sector has been implemented to make ordering more efficient, both internally and externally; this increases efficiency within the company and improves customer satisfaction.
“We’re also ramping up our IT development and infrastructure in our aim to take the whole factory paperless, which will not only have considerable cost savings in due course but environmental benefits as well,” said Simon.
As leaders in innovation, WCM&A use research and development to adapt to market changes and showcase new products / materials to important trade suppliers. Their intense trialling and problem solving skills have firmly placed WCM&A at the forefront of the industry as they were the first UK manufacturers in their sector to: use 4-colour printing; produce thin aluminium clutch pin badges; acquire new equipment and integrate it within existing manufacturing processes; and develop a new range of 100% natural and recyclable real wood block awards, promotional gifts and personalised name badges.
Simon explained that R&D tax credits have enabled WCM&A “to employ new staff to accelerate our product development, particularly with our whole new range of real wood merchandise and awards which are unique to UK trade supply in promotional merchandise.”
Research and development is essential for product development, discovering new materials and improving manufacturing / processing efficiencies. WCM&A have undertaken projects that require bespoke solutions and significant trialling to achieve technological breakthroughs. Skills have been developed internally to push innovation further within the Development and Production teams.
Like many others, Simon was “sceptical having read the guidelines in the government website as to what qualifies [for the R&D Tax Relief Scheme].” He continued, “Whilst I knew we were innovating new products, services and systems / processes in house, it didn’t look like we met the criteria.” However after a meeting with Paul Wallace, R&D Consultant for randd uk, Simon realised that the work WCM&A were carrying out could be eligible for the UK government’s scheme after Paul’s explanation of the criteria.
randd uk’s six step process has a 100% success rate since starting in 2008; the advantage of working with randd uk is that the company specialises in reclaiming R&D tax credits and therefore have specialist knowledge of the scheme. Highly experienced consultants identify qualifying research & development activities, building a strong case with coherent figures and report for HMRC on behalf of clients. Simon said,
“It was very easy to work with randd. The actual interview process was pretty painless and the support staff were clear in what was required afterwards from accounts.”
With innovation at the heart of the company, WCM&A are leaders in the field of UK promotional merchandise manufacturing and push industry boundaries using research and development. The UK government recognises that this work should be rewarded and the experience of working with randd uk and successfully claiming R&D tax credits has enlightened Simon:
“[R&D tax credits have] given me the confidence to invest further in R&D for the business, knowing that we will get the credits now that I understand what is required.”
WCM&A are an innovative British manufacturer of a wide product range of promotional merchandise who strive to remain industry leaders and surpass competition from overseas. To find out more about their products or to get a quote, visit their website at www.wcma.co.uk.
Read more about randd uk and the R&D Tax Relief scheme on our website at www.randduk.com. You can read more case studies of UK businesses like WCM&A on our ‘Client Stories’ page which covers a range of industries. To find out if your business is eligible to claim R&D tax credits for qualifying research & development work, call us on 01332 477 070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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