New Holland Agriculture

New Holland Agriculture – one of the global leaders in agricultural machinery manufacturing

New Holland Agriculture tractorNew Holland Agriculture, based in Basildon, Essex, is one of the world’s most successful and advanced agricultural machinery manufacturing brands and produces tractors at the UK’s only volume tractor plant.

Established in 1964 by Ford, the Basildon site now employs over 800 employees and manufactures some 20,000 tractors per year, with 90 per cent of production exported to more than 120 countries. The assembly line is 5km long and the plant produces tractors ranging from 120hp to 315hp.

Investing in a skilled workforce

New Holland Agriculture's siteRecognising a potential future skills gap following difficulty recruiting skilled people in the 25-40 age group with lean manufacturing techniques skills, New Holland Agriculture developed a £3.4 million training programme to raise employee skills levels to World Class Manufacturing standard. These skills are crucial to the brand maintaining its competitive position in the market and enabling the company to develop their next generation of workers.

“Our workforce is results focused and is always ready to embrace new challenges. Manufacturing flexibility and quality guarantee have always characterized our plant.”

Robert Shirley, Plant Manager, New Holland Agriculture

New Holland Agriculture tractorIn the initial wave of the three-year training programme, 280 employees took part in a bespoke Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) programme. The BIT training has been applied to around 50 projects in three years and has resulted in some £1.2 million of savings in each of the three years.



“The results were impressive. After several years of hard work, we have transformed the plant and the way it works. It’s now the employees who own and drive improvement and they are increasing our productivity and efficiency.”

Robert Shirley, Plant Manager, New Holland Agriculture

Gaining industry recognition

New Holland Agriculture tractorAchieving the World Class Manufacturing standard has made an important contribution to the company’s global success. The Basildon plant exports more than 90 percent of production and saw 40 percent growth over the period of the BIT training programme.

The company has won numerous awards for its Basildon-built products and manufacturing techniques including:

  • Two 'Tractor of the Year' awards
  • Three 'Golden Tractor for Design' awards
  • Three 'World Class Manufacturing' awards
  • The Manufacturing in Action Award

Future plans

NHA Customer ServiceThe newest and most recent investment has been the Customer Centre and Showroom which saw a £1.2 million investment to bring even more visitors and customers to the award-winning plant. The Customer Centre covers some 600 square metres, features a state-of-the-art auditorium, displays the full range of tractors and agricultural machinery and provides an audio tour of the plant. The plant welcomes more than 2,500 visitors to Basildon every year and the new Customer Centre provides a bespoke facility to gain first-hand experience of New Holland’s work.

Working with INVEST Essex

INVEST Essex worked closely with New Holland Agriculture and supported them by connecting the Brand with the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA), who provided the three-year bespoke Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) programme.

“The team at INVEST Essex put us in touch with SEMTA. They carried out a skills profile of the company using the Business 2 Skills diagnostic tool and made recommendations for training and sources of funding.”

Robert Shirley, Plant Manager, New Holland Agriculture

For more information on INVEST Essex, click here.

Simon Papworth
Simon Papworth

Inward Investment Manager (High-Technology Cluster)

+44 (0) 7515 199255


Simon has worked in inward investment for the last four years, building a wide network of trusted business connections, working on a variety of successful projects in the advanced manufacturing sector. Prior to this, Simon spent 7 years advising business owners and entrepreneurs, with a focus on bringing innovative products to market.