The company had suffered a slump in 2008 but has now been able to re-employ staff who were made redundant. Turnover has exceeded £5m thanks to exporting, and staff numbers have increased from 36 to 50.
Exports used to account for one third of the firm’s orders and now they’re 50%. More than £1m in new orders have been secured from France and Singapore for the aluminium towers and access products. The company is now looking to Italy.
Its turnaround in its fortunes has been due in no small part to help from UKTI and MAS, said Sue Verallo, who is joint owner with husband Roger. “With UKTI support we were able to translate our websites and brochures into several languages, which helped the company when exhibiting overseas. Support was also available to help with overseas exhibitions, and the great thing was it was all free. In the worst part of the recession UKTI’s support was invaluable.”
The company had made 36 staff redundant in 2008. “Our profits were down and the UK market had slumped. It was a very bleak time for us. Sharon McCarthy, international trade advisor at UKTI, came to see us and we involved ourselves in a number of programmes.
In addition, the Manufacturing Advisory Service was able to offer training on a new 3D computer aided design system, which has helped to attract some significant business. “They also helped us with financial support to develop a new product,” she said.
McCarthy said: “The company is lovely and has such a family feel so it was extremely sad when business began to drop. You could see the genuine heartache it caused when they had to start letting people go. Being able to work with the company to help them increase their exports has been great. They are extremely enthusiastic and have taken advantage of all the support we offer, including Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth. It’s fantastic news that they are now securing large orders overseas.”
Sue Verallo said: “We are recovering; making profits again and taking on staff. But we have not won the battle yet. We have to work extremely hard: costs of raw materials have gone up but we can’t pass this onto customers, so we have had to really look at the company, cut back on any overheads, be lean, look at ourselves and really see where we can save money, be efficient and find new markets overseas.”