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Knaresborough manufacturer eyes expansion into new market to counteract impact of covid

Storage and handling manufacturer Craven & Co is expanding into new markets to counteract the effects of Covid-19 on its established customer base.

Storage and handling manufacturer Craven & Co is to expand into new markets as it seeks to counteract the effects of Covid-19 on its established customer base. With 75-80% of its manufacturing output traditionally comprising of catering and hospitality products, the Knaresborough-based company saw many of its orders drop off during the first national lockdown a year ago. Now, the firm’s longstanding expertise in manufacturing storage and handling products for the medical sector is to be utilised to sidestep into the mortuary industry. Director Wez Dance said:

“We can’t see these orders returning to anything like the level they were for the foreseeable future. We realised early in the pandemic that it would be essential for us to break into new markets.”
[caption id="attachment_8526" align="aligncenter" width="503"] Craven & Co is to expand into the mortuary industry[/caption] The company, which designs and manufactures shelving, racking, trolleys, wirework products, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and bespoke solutions, is preparing to launch new products aimed at this niche new market. Mr Dance added:
“We first looked into this sector as a potential market in 2015 as it isn’t a far cry from our medical range which we have been producing for many years. “But we found there were some subtle nuances in product design and use. With no real knowledge of the market and, as an SME without the people and resources to progress it further, our plans were put on the back burner as demand for our catering, retail and medical products began to grow.”
A respite from the effects of the first coronavirus restrictions came last April, when Craven was fast-tracked into the NHS supply chain to manufacture vital frontline medical equipment for the Nightingale hospitals, including 12,500 IV stands and several miles of medical racking. Mr Dance described it as a "godsend" that led to further NHS work to support storage facilities for blood plasma, vaccines and blood tests, keeping the company busy throughout 2020. Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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