Telling the truth about SME life today

Engineering and manufacturing

Doom-mongers who claim that the UK manufacturing industry is dead obviously haven’t heard about these champions of industry.

Take father and son team Leonard and David Medlock. They have grown their engineering services firm Sitec Group (51st) using not a penny of outside funding, holding on to 100 per cent of the equity, and boasting more than 57 years in business.

Cabling company PX Manufacturing & Distribution (98th) is also keeping it in thefamily. Founded by Stanislaw Tetnowski in 1984, he and his son Rafal preserve margins in a tough market by following copper prices. “Being agile enough to follow the copper trends gives us a competitive advantage,” says Rafal.

Likewise, Axiom Process (56th) keeps a keen eye on the oil market. The company manufactures Shale Shakers, which are used by the oil industry to separate black gold from rock cuttings during drilling. Opportunities abound in this space. Norfolk-based Acteon Group (75th) makes widgets for subsea drilling.

A booming oil market and several acquisitions led to a turnover of £121.5m last year. Independent Forgings & Alloys (92nd) also serves the oil and gas sector. Director Andy McGuiness describes it as “the world’s biggest blacksmith”.

Sitting in a parallel niche, NP Aerospace (95th) supplies products to the aerospace, medical, automotive and defence industries. CEO Roger Medwell accredits their 55 per cent growth to “the increased need for improved security”.

Virtual manufacturer Premium Appliance Brands (47th) has been in profit since day one. The company is a “posh dating agency” for kitchen appliance distributors, designing products and scouting out factories around the world to manufacture appliances for reduced prices.

Box manufacturer Really Useful Products (70th) has gathered an impressive customer base, including WHSmith, Ryman and Viking Direct. Audio Visual Machines’ (81st) client list is also impressive, installing and maintaining AV equipment for the likes of BP, Universal Music and BT.

Also making a splash is portable toilet manufacturer GenQuip (18th), which developed the world’s first portable toilet unit: the “HogLoo”. The firm signed £1m worth of orders within three months of launch.

If you’ve ever eaten a kebab on the way home, chances are you’ve had your dinner off a Powertronic Drive Systems (23rd) rotisserie. Founder Robert Hale set up the company to be a one-stop shop for AC and DC systems. “Wherever there’s a machine, there’s a motor. We make motors for everything.”


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