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Spend it or Lose It – How to Make Sure You Maximise the Value of Your Capex Budget

Spring has been a long time coming this year. Now that we’re nearing the end of Q1, however, the new financial year is fast approaching, which means that capex budgets will refresh. Often the coming year’s budget is allocated based on what you’ve spent this year, so, to secure an increase, or ringfence your capex budget at the same level as the current year, it’s essential to commit any money still available in this year’s pot. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all at once.

At AIS Vanguard, part of the industrial services expertise we offer to customers across sectors as diverse as manufacturing, energy, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and defence, is our ability to help you plan phased programmes ahead of time. In this way, we can advise you on how to maximise the potential of your capex budgets to achieve your objectives over the course of the year, while enabling you to hold back a contingency for unexpected expenses.

Our heavy machinery lifting and moving services, decommissioning, installation and mechanical and electrical expertise mean that we can provide a full turn-key service for all your requirements, whatever your plans, throughout the year. That includes equipment moves for maintenance, asset realisation or asset rationalisation programmes. We can also help with machinery installation and removal projects, including logistics and CDM.

At this time of year, if there is money remaining in your capex budget it pays to think ahead about projects that could benefit your facilities or your business over the next few months, and consider what can be done or booked in now to maximise your resources and your capex budget allocation. It may be that reconfiguring your equipment, removing a redundant asset or modifying electrical and mechanical services now will help with productivity or cost-efficiency over the coming year. And, of course, as we look forward to moving out of the restrictions prompted by the pandemic, amending social distancing, team bubble and split shift strategies that had to be implemented for infection control may also involve heavy lifting and machinery moving elements.

At AIS Vanguard, our expert team of industrial services project managers are here to help you identify the practical requirements of implementing your commercial and operational plans. That includes optimising your capex budget and ensuring spend is allocated within the financial year to help you retain your capex budget for next year. It also includes phasing the activity to reduce risk and minimise downtime, while helping you maximise the value of your capex budget. If you’d like to talk to us about how we could help, get in touch with our team today.

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Our Operational Controls Deliver Your Peace of Mind

When you’re relying on your industrial services partner to provide a safe and reliable service that minimises risk and maximises operational efficiency, accreditations count. Which is why we ensure our operational control certification is up to date at all times here at AIS Vanguard.

Over the past couple of months, we have been busy responding to customers’ annual compliance check requests to ensure they have all the latest data from us ready to get projects moving as quickly and smoothly as possible as and when they need us. But operational controls and compliance is much more than a box ticking exercise for us; it’s an ongoing responsibility and one that we take very seriously. For us, compliance with the various accreditations we hold provides an opportunity for continuous improvement and performance monitoring, which means our customers can always trust us to offer them the highest standards of health and safety, quality management and environmental controls.

This year, things are a little different. Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot invite auditors to site to carry out the formal review of our QESH (quality, environment, safety & health) performance and renew our ISO accreditations. But we are certainly not going to let that stop us from completing the audit process or from reviewing our own performance and looking for opportunities to improve.

The audit process for our ISO 9001 (quality assurance) ISO14001 (environmental management) and ISO 45001 (occupational health) accreditations will be done online this year, with an auditor reviewing our documentation and interviewing our team virtually, via video calls. It will be a little different than usual but no less robust. Our team has been busy preparing all the documentation needed to demonstrate the ways in which we are continuously improving both our systems and our practice.

It’s an important element of our business and our commitment to customers. We often work in demanding and hazardous environments which require a best practice approach to health and safety from our team, along with an understanding of the individual safety challenges and policies for each site. For heavy complex and technical lifts, heavy machinery lifting, equipment moves and electrical and mechanical engineering in industrial environments, a small mistake could have huge consequences for safety, environmental controls or the integrity of the asset. That’s why we put so much emphasis on policy, procedure and best practice, which are constantly updated as part of our ISO compliance activity.

The audit comes around once a year, but the focus on these areas is constant. Our commitment on every project is to carry out a bespoke method statement and risk assessment and to follow best practice QESH processes for every machinery lifting, equipment moving, decommissioning and installation project. From a one-off lift to a complete factory relocation project, our operational controls mean the same high standards are always met. And our accreditations ensure those standards are measurable, transparent and accountable.

If you’d like to know more about our accreditations or need us to complete a PQQ as a first step in working with you, get in touch.

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A Complete Approach to Supporting Industrial Rationalisation Projects

The past year saw tough commercial and operational conditions across many industrial sectors, leading to some difficult decisions to mothball machinery and reduce capacity. For some of those affected, the best strategy for maintaining profitability is rationalisation. As operators begin to adopt longer term plans for maximising the potential outcomes of economic recovery and tackle the uncertainty of Brexit, AIS Vanguard can help with rationalisation programmes that minimise disruption and prevent business interruption.

Helping Operators to Plan

Rationalisation programmes can deliver significant commercial and operational benefits but effective planning is essential to ensure business continuity is maintained while machinery is taken offline, removed or reconfigured. Sometimes, the project may involve removing a whole process or decommissioning an entire building. Others, it may require the removal of a production line in a live facility or the removal of specific assets on a busy factory floor.

At AIS Vanguard, we prefer to work with customers from the very beginning of the rationalisation planning process so that we can understand both the aims and the challenges of the project. In this way, our customers can leverage our team’s experience of similar rationalisation programmes to anticipate any issues before they arise and maximise operational efficiency during every phase of the project.

Our experts will create a critical path, ensuring any building services diversions, access and egress considerations, and reconfiguration requirements are fully factored into the programme. With a dedicated project manager to oversee the project, including all risk assessment, health and safety and CDM management requirements, we take a meticulous approach to planning every aspect of your rationalisation need.

Technical and Complex Heavy Machinery Lifting

With a plan in place, we bring together the right expertise from our multi-disciplinary team to deliver your rationalisation project.

Our experienced mechanical and electrical engineers carry out any service diversions and isolations required, before disconnecting and decommissioning the redundant asset. Having made any temporary access and egress modifications to the building, our team will then deploy the correct equipment from our diverse fleet of lifting equipment and vehicles, to remove the machine from the premises.

Often, rationalisation projects involve the removal of assets from a live industrial environment and maintaining business as usual operating conditions is a fundamental requirement of the project. Our expertise means that our clients trust us to overcome these challenges, even for the most complex and technical lifts. With our skills and deployment of the right equipment, we can remove heavy machinery while ensuring the safety of all personnel and the condition of the asset.

Logistics and Storage for Your Rationalisation Programme

Once machinery has been safely removed from your facility, we can transport the assets to wherever they need to be, whether that involves being broken down for scrap, put into storage to await sale or delivered to their new owner. We can even provide your secure storage requirements if needed.

Our in-house fleet and international network also ensure that we can transport the assets to their destination anywhere in Europe, or beyond, as part of a turnkey approach to rationalisation planning and delivery.

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Logistics Support to Put Businesses on the Road to Recovery

Industrial operators have had to adapt to unprecedented levels of change over the past year. The factors contributing to a continuing need to respond to change are still a key feature of market conditions across many sectors. Remaining agile in an environment like this is critical, which often means transporting heavy machinery, materials or products from one site to another. At AIS Vanguard, we are helping businesses across a wide variety of sectors to plan their logistics and ensure their assets are safely transported to where they need to be, on time and with all the correct paperwork.

Planning Logistics for Brexit Uncertainty

One of the biggest factors affecting operators’ logistics strategies over the next few months is Brexit. The end of the transition period on 31st December means there will be new rules in place for the transportation of goods between the UK and Europe, including both exports and imports. Alongside new compliance requirements and changes to paperwork for international logistics, there are a number of other ways in which the UK’s new relationship with the EU could affect logistics planning.

Even before the transition period deadline, uncertainty has prompted stockpiling of goods and materials, putting pressure on normal logistics networks, including vehicle availability, ports and ferry crossings, and warehouse capacity. This could result in backlogs for companies relying on their in-house fleet and warehousing facilities. It could also threaten business critical business transformation programmes, including machinery installation projects, factory relocations, asset rationalisation and asset realisation.

Realigning Capabilities after COVID

The other key factor affecting businesses’ logistics planning over the next few months is the impact of the pandemic on their operational requirements. In some sectors, reduced demand and a challenging commercial landscape is prompting rationalisation and asset realisation programmes. In others, there is an opportunity to capitalise on increased demand if new equipment and materials can be transported to the right location.

Where heavy machinery is concerned, specialist logistics capabilities are required in order to load, transport and offload the asset safely and efficiently. This may include gaining the correct approvals for the transport and putting support vehicles in place. Where machinery is being imported from abroad or dispatched to a buyer overseas, the logistics requirements also involve ensuring the correct paperwork is in place and liaison with the port authorities. And, of course, experience and the right skills for the job are important throughout the logistics planning and delivery.

Logistics You Can Rely on, Wherever Your Assets are Going

At AIS Vanguard, we have the fleet, logistics planning expertise and lifting and moving experience to meet all logistics requirements, including transportation of heavy machinery across borders. We work with our clients to understand their requirements and their deadlines to plan the logistics around their timescales. And because we understand the challenging conditions affecting the transportation of goods and assets at the moment, we can ensure that we factor any additional time or revised routes into the planning process to avoid unforeseen delays.

Our logistics capabilities encompass light commercial vehicles, including fully-equipped ‘tackle vans’, pick-up trucks and personnel vans, HGV vehicles including tractor units, HIAB trucks flat trailers and step-frame trailers and fork-lift trucks between 1.5t and 7t capacity. We also have eight large-scale warehouse facilities and an international network of storage provider partners.

Reliable logistics has never been more critical to business planning and performance, which is why our team is working hard to help clients get their assets to where they need to be.

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Getting Ready for the Year Ahead with Heavy Machinery Installations During the Christmas Shutdown

The New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings and that’s just as true in industrial settings as it is for those who make a mental note of resolutions every year. Often, those industrial fresh starts involve substantial activity over the Christmas shutdown period, with new machinery installation taking place at this time, ready to hit the ground running when the first shift begins again in January.

Machinery Installation to Prepare for Change

Machinery installation is always a focus for the Christmas shutdown period as industrial operators use this scheduled downtime to introduce new assets and carry out any modifications required to the layout or building services. This year, however, planning machinery installation for this period has never been more critical. Following the upheaval and altered commercial landscape prompted by the pandemic in 2020, the UK will complete the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021, creating new challenges and opportunities. As a result, it’s the ideal time to realise any plans to diversify, enhance productivity or increase capacity by installing new equipment or replacing existing machinery.

Ensuring Machinery Installations Go to Plan During the Christmas Shutdown

Ideally, any machinery installation required during the Christmas shutdown period should be planned as far in advance as possible and as much of the groundwork should be done in advance to maximise the value of the available downtime.

Our experienced team work with clients to plan their machinery installation projects, developing a method statement and risk assessment in advance and understanding the technical and operational requirements of the project. This may include diversions or upgrades to mechanical and electrical services, preparation of foundations and footings, floor preparations and positioning checks and drilling and preparation of floor fixings.

It is also not uncommon for temporary modifications to be needed to the building to enable access for machinery installation. Once again, this needs to be factored into the schedule for the machinery installation project and there is potential for this essential preparation work to be carried out in advance of the shutdown while the facility remains operational.

Another key area of planning for machinery installation during the Christmas shutdown is arranging the logistics and the resources required for the installation programme. As this is a key time for maintenance and logistics, booking transport and ensuring the right personnel with the skills and experience needed are available are essential elements of a successful project.

An Integrated Service for Machinery Installations

Thanks to the interdisciplinary expertise within our in-house team and our national fleet of vehicles and specialist lifting equipment, AIS Vanguard has the resources to plan, co-ordinate and implement machinery installations during the Christmas shutdown.

We can handle the whole machinery installation project with full CDM management, including risk assessment and method statement, logistics, lifting, mechanical and electrical connections, testing and pre-commissioning and commissioning. Our team can provide a critical path, aligned to your deadline and operational requirements to help you make the most of your Christmas shutdown for machinery installation and begin the year ahead ready to maximise your potential.

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Christmas Shutdown: Plan Early, Plan Well to Maximise the Value of Downtime

It may feel like we fast forwarded straight from early spring to mid-autumn this year, but, in industrial settings at least, the normal routines of the calendar still apply. With local lockdowns and fluctuating R numbers, how we’ll celebrate the festive season at home is still uncertain, but the predictability of a Christmas shutdown is more important than ever. As we look ahead to 2021 and the demands of competing during the recovery, it’s essential to plan ahead for scheduled downtime, including all heavy machinery installation, decommissioning, removal or relocation requirements.

At AIS Vanguard, we specialise in working with companies across a huge variety of industrial and commercial sectors to help them maximise the value of planned downtime, including the Christmas shutdown. This is the most important maintenance period for many operators, which often means disconnecting assets to enable maintenance, machinery removal to allow work to be carried out on the building or heavy machinery installation to replace redundant assets or adjust process capabilities.

Our role is not just providing the specialist equipment and on-site expertise to carry out projects, including technical and complex lifts and all mechanical and electrical requirements; it’s also to help our customers to plan their project, ensuring their objectives are met and the value of their Christmas shutdown is fully realised.

This year, that planning process is more critical than ever. 2020 has been a challenging and unpredictable year, which has resulted in spikes in demand for some, while others have been operating at reduced capacity. As we look ahead to 2021, it’s clear that there is more uncertainty ahead, which, combined with the extraordinary times that have affected us all over the past few months, means that businesses may need to think beyond their usual Christmas shutdown routines and use the time to optimise their assets, both operationally and commercially.

As an experienced industrial services specialist with a 40-year track record, AIS Vanguard has the expertise, resources and equipment assets to support industrial and commercial companies in leveraging maximum value from their Christmas shutdown. Our team works with customers to understand their commercial priorities and operational parameters for the Christmas shutdown period so that we can advise on sequencing activity in a way that is time-efficient and aligned to both their objectives and their budget.

This approach includes creating a critical path with clear and accountable deadlines for each element of Christmas shutdown maintenance and asset optimisation requirements, along with a detailed and bespoke method statement and risk assessment. Our team works with customers in the lead up to the shutdown over the Christmas period to finalise these plans and carry out any preparatory work that can be done while the environment is still operational. This may include diversions to mechanical and electrical services, modifications to the building for access or egress, or decommissioning and removal or redundant assets to make space for new machinery or construction work.

With as much as possible planned and carried out in advance, we can then work with customers to deliver their industrial services requirements within their Christmas shutdown period. Our team ensures we are ready to hit the ground running when the customer’s last shift ends and have completed all activity in time for the first shift to begin on time when the Christmas shutdown period is over.

The Christmas shutdown is so much more than a marker of the end of the year in many environments; it is a staging post for operational efficiency and commercial strategy for the year ahead. Our philosophy is to plan well and plan early and, in a year where thinking ahead has been more complex and challenging than ever, meticulous planning and implementation of Christmas shutdown maintenance and adjustments has never been more vital.

Plan Your Christmas Shutdown with AIS Vanguard


The Role of Robotics in Improved Resilience

With the end of the Brexit transition period fast approaching, the Government has extended its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support innovation in the industrial sector. AIS Vanguard is here to support manufacturers and operators in heavy industrial settings, such as power and renewables, as they capitilise on those opportunities and invest in upgrading their capabilities.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is part of a focus on putting industry at the heart of a robust UK economy, with a commitment to invest £4.7 billion over 4 years to strengthen UK science and business. The aim is to create a catalyst for research and development to tackle some of the biggest issues the world is facing, such as climate change and healthcare, by driving innovation across the supply chain in sectors such as electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Amongst the areas earmarked for investment is robotics. Already widely used in a huge variety of industrial environments, robotics will play an increasingly important role in supporting consistency, automating hazardous processes, increasing capacity and delivering technically complex requirements.

The latest Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund announcement includes a £15 million pot of grants to enable universities, research organisations and businesses to build robots to inspect, maintain and repair nuclear power stations, satellites and wind turbines. Outside of the energy sector, the funding also recognises the potential role of robotics in the post COVID-19 era, including remote operation, contactless delivery and infection-secure movement of hospital beds.

There is huge potential to realise the wide-ranging possibilities for leveraging the benefits of robotics technology in industrial settings. For companies keen to improve productivity, reduce safety risk and drive exceptional quality standards through robotics, facilities will need to be upgraded and existing layouts and processes may need to be revised.

This is where AIS Vanguard can help. Our expertise in delivering complex changes to existing facilities means that we can work collaboratively with your team to redesign the layout of your plant, either by reconfiguring your assets on the same footprint, or by helping you optimise an extended building. We can decommission, lift, move and reconnect existing machinery and equipment and we can also install and commission new robotics capabilities, with a complete mechanical and electrical service.

Our experience means we can work with you as Principal Designer and Principal Contractor, including full CDM management, to provide a turnkey package, whether you’re incorporating robotics into your plant for the first time, or upgrading to enhance your capabilities.

2020 has been a period of unprecedented uncertainty for everyone and, from keeping the lights on to getting food to our tables, the industrial sectors have been at the frontline. Technology has been central to helping us overcome the obstacles of the pandemic and will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing both the commercial priorities and the global challenges that lie ahead. Robotics will be an increasingly important part of the technological solution to productivity, resilience and commercial advantage and AIS Vanguard is the ideal partner to help you plan and implement your robotics strategy.


A Factory Relocation: Key Considerations

We’re proud to be one of the UK’s leading providers in factory relocation, alongside multiple other industrial services.

Factory relocation is available to clients as a singular service, or a full turnkey solution, both being led by our highly skilled, experienced team to ensure professionalism and a smooth transition during the relocation.

Prior to a factory relocation taking place, there are various aspects of the project that the client and our team need to consider. We explore these key considerations.

Factory Relocation Planning

A factory relocation requires careful and meticulous planning from start to finish. Considering your timescales and the various phases of the relocation will need to happen.

Our Project Managers and relocation specialists are on hand to do this for you from the start of the project.

At this stage, it’s important you – the client – also consider your staff and your business needs. Does production need to continue or can it be halted? This stage of the project is also the best time to consider any challenges or potential risks that may be involved.


During any project, thorough communication is paramount.

There will be multiple teams within your business that will need to be involved. Some of these include HR, Health and Safety, Quality Control and any operational control professionals.

The changes being made will require communicating to wider staff members too as a relocation project impacts everyone in the company.

What is Being Relocated?

Clients need to know what needs relocating and where it needs to be relocated too… But we’ll admit, this is easier said than done.

This is where the AIS Vanguard team steps in and provides assistance.

Factory relocation projects require a detailed floorplan that covers equipment quantities, equipment identification, sizes and weights, locations of all items on the premises and any potential obstacles or challenges. This may include overhead equipment, structures or cables and any aisles, pits or trenches to navigate.

Updating Your Asset Register

Relocations are the perfect time to update your asset register. This helps to provide peace of mind but also helps our team to complete a seamless factory relocation that ticks all the boxes for you.

Check the condition of all your equipment, prior to the project and tag every piece with some method of identification, ensuring it matches your current asset register. When this is done, provide as much detail as possible about the condition of the asset and any requirements for handling the asset.

Operations and Commitments

Factory relocations can have significant impacts on a business’s day to day operations and commitments to clientele. It’s imperative to plan ahead and manage expectations around any potential delays and predicted lead-times to avoid conflict by updating the supply chain on the planned relocation.

Our dedicated Project Managers will be on hand to offer advice, guidance and suggestions to ensure the project is completed with the utmost efficiency and as few constraints as possible on your business.

Every relocation comes with it’s unique challenges, but with AIS Vanguard’s experience of over 40-years, our teams have the skills and expertise to ensure the move is carried out efficiently, effectively and safely for all involved.

Get In Touch

Planning a factory relocation to ensure everything is taken into consideration is no easy task. AIS Vanguard’s expert team will provide peace of mind that everything is in hand and running smoothly.

Talk to us about how we can help relocate your operations by calling 01257 411111 or fill out our Contact Form and we’ll be in touch.

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Accelerating Your Business with a Factory Relocation

We’re proud to be on the UK’s leading factory relocation specialists. Both our full turnkey and singular services are led by our highly skilled experienced team who ensure professionalism and a smooth transition during all factory relocation projects.

Changes within manufacturing demand may result in the need to completely relocate your business. We realise factory relocations can cause significant disruption to production timescales and overall output, but for factory relocations, we can confidently say the benefits outweigh the risks.

We explore how a successful factory relocation could help you accelerate your business.

More Capacity

Relocating your business to a larger facility provides you with more room to increase production and overall output. By doing this, your company will be better placed to ensure you can keep up with growing consumer demands across the market.

This is something we were proud to help Aggregate Industries Quarries with.

Closer to Your Supply Chain

It’s important to always think of every eventuality when it comes to your operations. Considering whether it would be more beneficial to be closer to your customers and have a wider supply chain is always a great place to start.

By having a closer proximity to both your customers and supply chain, you’ll help improve your overall service for customers, significantly reduce load times on products and services and save significantly save on transportation, distribution and storage costs.

All of these factors could essentially provide your company with an edge on your competitors.

Improved Infrastructure

Relocating to a factory or location may put you closer to better transport networks links, including motorways, regional and national hubs and rail depots too. Ensuring you’re within reach for customers and suppliers will only help increase output for your company.

Factory Relocation Ready

A factory relocation is a big undertaking and needs to be considered carefully to ensure the most efficient way to relocate without compromising production and output.

Talk to us about how we can help relocate your operations today to help accelerate your business. Call 01257 411111 or fill out our Contact Form and we’ll be in touch.

Health and Safety News

Health & Safety: An AIS Vanguard Priority

For over 40-years AIS Vanguard have assisted companies in multiple sectors and during each and every one of these jobs, health and safety has been and remains at the heart of the operation. 

Implementing Health and Safety

Here at AIS Vanguard, health and safety is embedded in everything we do. Whether that’s machinery removal, factory relocation or machinery installation, we take a meticulous planning approach to every project to ensure both our team and clients are safe throughout. Every project undertaken is carried out in line wiht a risk assessment, method statement, compiled with site specific considerations of equipment and personnel involved. 

Our teams are fully trained in health and safety and regularly review and refresh that knowledge to ensure they can continue to deliver best practices AIS Vanguard have become known for over the years and they’re always in line with our policies and customer expectations. 

We’re fully committed to health and safety across all levels of the AIS Vanguard business. Our written policies include coverage for areas as diverse as: 

  • Emergency planning 
  • Ceasing work due to on-site hazards 
  • PPE 
  • Smoking 
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Modern slavery 
  • Corporate and social responsibility (CSR)

Each one of these policies is regularly reviewed and are applied to all activities across all locations we operate in. 

Our Third Gold RoSPA

Over a 4-year course of testing, we’ve been awarded with a silver and three gold RoSpa awards in a row. 

RoSPA helps to provide risk management for people at work and beyond. RoSPA gold is the highest driving standard available and holders operate to the highest level. Achiving this demonstrates our efforts in safety and this simply wouldn’t be possible without the attention to detail in every project and our team’s dedication and effort. 

We’re proud to have an impeccable safety record, alongside trusted safety accreditations meaning our customers can rely on us to apply the highest levels of health and safety in all our projects at all times. 

Get in Touch

Health and safety is an absolute must in all our operations, its paramount to ensuring both our team and clients are safe at all times. 

To learn more about what AIS Vanguard can do for your business, get in touch by calling 01257 411111 or alternatively, fill out our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you.