Ai Process resides in an amazing former corn mill in Barrowford, and the business has sympathetically restored the externals of the building but added a contemporary setting internally.
Located in The Corn Mill, in the centre of Barrowford, the offices of Ai Process are filled with wooden beams, giant windows and large open spaces. When burnley.social finally located the Ai Process sign outside, we couldn’t believe that an engineering business was situated in such a wonderful building. But why not, when the Burnley area is filled with former mills being renovated for modern-day requirements.
Inside, we met with Lee Parry, sales and marketing director, who showed us around the numerous floor levels and up to the top floor to the impressive boardroom.
So, what does Ai Process do? In a nutshell, this Burnley Bondholder are process engineers. They design process facilities for manufacturers and project manage the installation. Typical client industries range from manufacturers in pharmaceuticals and healthcare products to paint, inks, and adhesives on a worldwide basis – anywhere where organic and inorganic raw materials are mixed to make an end product.
Lee explained: “We assist manufacturers to update and improve their current facilities to increase efficiencies. We also assist with expansion works and relocation projects, whilst considering efficient process techniques to reduce the impact on the environment.”
One USP of Ai Process is that they are independent to equipment manufacturers, so have the freedom to choose the best value for money equipment for its customers.
With a drive to being green, how does that fit with the need to travel globally?
“I can see why travelling the world might seem counterintuitive, but this is now minimised by the advent of Zoom / Teams Meetings,” Lee said.
This is where working at Ai Process could be an attractive move to make. As well as being located in a strikingly designed building, set in a beautiful location, staff do have the chance to travel to regions of the world such as the Far East, Middle East, America, Europe, to name just a few.
3M, Annie Sloan and BASF are a handful of their clients.
The company is growing quickly and they’re looking to recruit
Historically, annual turnover at Ai Process has been around £5-£7 million, but in 2022 they’re on track to more than double that. How have they managed such growth?
“We’ve actually increased turnover following the lifting of the COVID restrictions. Thankfully, we were able to operate during COVID and are proud to have excellent client retention.
“Many of our staff have been with the company for such a long time, (the business was established in 1987), so we are now having to consider succession planning. We’ve employed new engineers but still require additional process and chemical engineers,” Lee told us.
Aside from the chance to travel, he pointed out the competitive employee package and work-life balance.
“I love starting my day seeing Pendle Hill on the drive in, I’m also an avid Burnley FC fan so enjoy spending my spare time on the Turf too. The work-life balance is fantastic and I’m proud to see how Burnley’s reputation and its ability to attract investment has been a major factor over the last ten years. To see the area you are from and the improvements made, makes me very proud, which is why it’s important for us to be part of Burnley Bondholders too,” Lee stated.
As well as new talent, Ai Process are looking to retain and grow their overseas client base, but perhaps travel a little closer to home too.
Lee added: “Burnley has some excellent manufacturers, and we’d love to work with more local businesses where possible. We know many of these companies are so busy, they perhaps don’t have the time to dedicate to large-scale efficiency improvements and that’s where we come in.”
We wish Ai Process all the best with their recruitment drive and would certainly encourage young people in the borough to consider an engineering career with a thriving local business.