Mason & King - Our History
Mason & King Ltd was founded in 1954 by Mr Raymond Mason and Mr King.
Mr King left the business after a year but Mr Mason kept the company (and name). We are proud to be celebrating 60 years in business with no signs of stopping!
The business was originally run out of a small premises on Nedham Street. Leicester had been one of the two main centres of the hosiery business, and as a result Mason & King produced a number of parts for knitting machines and the textile industry. As new industries emerged Mason & King began to produce machine guarding and ducting for fume extraction.
In 1965, Mr Masons’ son, also Ray Mason, began working within the business, which now employed approx. 15 people. Working 6 days a week at Mason & King, ‘young’ Ray attended college 1 day a week to gain a qualification in sheet metalwork craft.
In 1975, the Birstall Street offices and factory were built. This was closely followed by an additional factory directly opposite to double the size of the work space and its workforce up to 30.
In 1978, Mason & King purchased its’ first CNC punching machine. This was quite a significant turning point for the company as they were able to attract larger companies looking for repeat business. This led in to a relationship with Caterpillar, who are still one of their biggest customers today.
Following the purchase of the CNC punch, the Company purchased its’ first laser cutting machine in 1982. With larger production batches and repeat work, Mason & King recognised the need for more vehicles to reduce the dependency on carriers. Having only a forklift and a small van, the Company then bought its first HGV in the late 1980’s. Today the fleet comprises four 14.5 Tonne HGV’s, one 7.5 Tonne, one pick-up and one small van – as well as multiple fork-lift trucks.
In 1994, Mason & King began renting two brand new factory units. These units were then purchased in 1997 and the company now utilises over 70,000 square feet in total. The business was able to expand its services and departmental layout including: a machining shop with lathes, drills and saws, a new paint shop consisting of on-line cleaning facilities, powder coating, and two conveyorised paint lines and expansion of the laser cutting facilities. In addition to manual welding the first robot welding cells were also introduced. The company now have a total of 13 robot welding cells in addition to over 10 manual welders.
Mason & King evolved and expanded as technology progressed. The advancement of certain machinery, from laser cutting to bending to robot welding attracted different types of customers with larger volume production batches and repeat runs.
As approved suppliers to large and multi-national organisations, quality control became a key part of the process at Mason & King. In 1987, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based its ISO 9000 family of Standards on BS 5750 which Mason & King gained in 1990.
In 2001, Andrew Mason joined the family business to work with his father and Grandfather. He gained a 2:1 in Industrial Management from Nottingham Trent University and completed a work placement at Bosch. Andrew had achieved a level of understanding of Company from his time working during holiday periods. He began working within the Quality department and helped the Company to achieve the ISO 9001:2000 - Quality Management Systems Requirements.
The millennium brought some major changes to UK manufacturing. The introduction of the Euro currency meant larger international organisations moved manufacturing abroad as the UK could not compete on cost. Key customers significantly reduced their production levels and moved their business abroad. Additionally the global recession impacted on the construction industry and hit the UK hard in 2009.
In addition to their reputation for quality, Mason & King is recognised for its continuous investment in new and advanced manufacturing techniques - a competitive advantage over some of the cheaper, mass-producers in Europe. It is this same progressive and responsive attitude which allowed the business to diversify industries and remain strong following on from the recession.
Today we employ 160 staff and work across a range of sectors producing a wide variety of components. These include gaming machines, interconnect systems for the rail industry, access and lift platforms, rail and underground ticketing systems, bin lifts for refuse and recycling vehicles, vehicle tail lifts and diggers.
Ray Mason (senior) passed away early 2010 and his son Ray Mason is Company Chairman. Andrew worked as Operations Director and has recently taken on the position of Managing Director. They are also joined by Alison Mason in 2011, Andrew’s sister, who works within Operations management.
The company is proud to be celebrating 60 years in business 1954-2015 with no signs of stopping!