Q&A With Martin Brabham, Managing Director

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Martin Brabham was appointed Managing Director of Stadium Stontronics in June 2016, heading up Stadium Group’s global power business. Martin joined Stadium from XP Power and has over 25 years’ experience in the electronics industry in the defence, healthcare, communications and industrial sectors.

We take the opportunity to ask 5 key questions on why he joined Stadium, what’s new in the business and what the future holds.

Why Stadium Stontronics?

I felt that it was a very exciting time to join Stadium Group, having followed the transition with interest from a predominantly plastics and then EMS business, to a design-led provider of integrated electronic technologies. I must admit to being impressed by its strong British heritage, as it over a 100 years old with a totally unique value proposition consisting of technology in the power, wireless and HMI space. I was also impressed by the world class manufacturing backed up by truly excellent service, support and logistics.

​In terms of the power business (now integrated as Stadium Stontronics) we have some great things going on and enormous potential to expand the business. Our customers engage with UK and/or Asia design teams that are experts in their field. We have a factory here in the UK that can build low to medium volume power supplies including prototypes with a high-quality power test facility, and a wholly owned factory in Dongguan, China for medium to high volume manufacture. We also have regional fulfilment centres in Reading, UK and Hong Kong to deliver global logistics and fulfilment services.

The overall strength of this customer offering and the potential for growth really impressed me and although it’s still early days in the journey I am excited to be able to play a part in the company’s next 100 years of innovation

What do you see as the latest technology challenges in Power?

If you look outside of power there’s lots of things happening in the environment with an emphasis on using less energy. That’s created a lot of changes in the industry and new legislation and demands that we have to keep up with for example Level VI and ErP directive. In many cases its good news for us as it’s brought us new customers especially in Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) in homes and offices.

We have been designing standard products for this market with very high efficiencies across the whole load range. We have a lot of new products on the roadmap right now that we will bring to market in the next 6 – 12 months but the technical themes that keep coming through are small size and low profile, high efficiency under varied conditions and of course with low cost and high quality.

Tell us about recent changes and improvements to the business.

Stadium Power and Stontronics had been working together successfully side by side following the acquisition of Stontronics by Stadium Group plc in 2015. Both businesses had their own strengths – Stontronics having a solid standard product portfolio and distribution network in place and Stadium Power having over 30 years design experience in custom power supplies and a dedicated R&D centre for power product development. Integrating two business’s always has some concerns, would we see clashes in culture or resistance but I am happy to say that since the birth of Stadium Stontronics the sum of the parts is really greater than the whole. We have many examples where employees from both companies have collaborated on projects have helped deliver even better value products and services to our customers.

We are also making some key improvements to our site in Reading including the expansion of our facility capacity up to 550 pallet locations by the end of 2016 with plans to reach >1,000 pallet locations by the end of Q1.2017. We are also taking up additional space in the unit adjacent to our site, which has enabled us to create more capacity for Value Added Services.

Our UK manufacturing facility in the North of England upgraded the power division’s UK test facilities this year with a stand-alone space, state of the art equipment and a dedicated team of test engineers to ensure critical test procedures are carried out separately and securely away from the by wider manufacturing operations.

What does the future hold for Stadium Stontronics?

We have seen a lot of interest from customer post-Brexit as coincidentally at the same time we were already expanding our UK based power supply manufacturing capability in Hartlepool. So this enables us to be even more competitive in our UK manufactured products while still giving customers direct access to our own to wholly owned Asian manufacturing in Dongguan, China.

We have also had a lot of interest in our ability to go beyond the power supply alone and a lot of customers have enhanced our ability to provide kitted solutions which include power supplies, cables and other ancillary items in custom packaging which are labelled and ready for shipment.

We have also begun to work closely with the other sister technology companies in Stadium Group plc to offer a more complete range of solutions to our customers including Wireless and HMI solutions with their Power supply. This has been very well received so far. In fact I challenge you to think of any piece of modern electronics that doesn’t need at least two of our technologies.

And finally… tell us a bit about yourself.

OK as you asked, I have recently bought a motor Scooter and have done several trips with my friends in the UK, we are now planning a longer one to the Netherlands. On the last trip we met some lifelong scooter fanatics and one of them was excited to show me that he was still riding with his Stadium brand Helmet and Goggles manufactured circa. 1969.

I am also the father of two children 8 and 12 years old which means I am generally trying to keep up with them at the weekends!