A Black Country manufacturer has written another chapter to its recent success story after smashing the £14 million annual sales barrier for the first time in its 42 year-history.
Petford Tools, a specialist toolmaker for plastic injection, compression and composite moulds, has reported 15 per cent annual growth for 2011 after landing a string of new orders from the automotive and agricultural sectors.
And the Dudley-based company is not resting on its laurels and has recently invested £560,000 in a 1,600-tonnes KraussMaffei injection press.
The investment will help it increase capacity at its Peartree Lane facility, increase quality even further and improve lead times when dealing with larger components.
The company has been backed by support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service-West Midlands Auto programme.
Managing director Melvin Sinar, who first joined the company 28 years ago as an engineering and toolmaker apprentice, said: “This is a really exciting time to be involved in the business and, while there are obvious pressures out there in manufacturing, we have some exciting opportunities ahead of us.
“We have seen growth across all areas of the business, but especially in the automotive sector where we currently supply Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Aston Martin, where our tooling has been responsible for every exterior fender used in their cars over the last ten years.
“There has also been an increase in orders from JCB and white goods and we are certainly benefitting from global companies looking to source closer to home after disasters in Japan and Thailand.”
Petford Tools, which currently employs 89 people, started life as a toolmaker in 1969 after two former chain makers saw a gap in the local market.
It moved to its current site in Dudley eight years ago and that signaled the start of a 10-year business plan that saw the company build an injection moulding facility to complement its precision tooling operation and invest in CAD, CNC milling machines and spark and bench finishing.
This was quickly followed by new agreements to set-up low cost manufacturing facilities in China and Taiwan, which have proved vital when retaining global contracts.
Mr Sinar added: “It’s not a case of choosing to ship production overseas.
“What we are doing is keeping the value added work, design and precision tooling and moulding here in the Black Country and utilising our Asian factories to remain competitive on pricing against international rivals.
“This has been a crucial formula in our success and will help us create another 10 local jobs over the next twelve months and reach our goal of being a £20 million company within five years.”
MAS-WM Auto has provided a host of strategic and financial support to help Petford Tools with its ambitious growth plans.
The company has also attended ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and secured a major new customer after it took part in television coverage secured by MAS.
Rachel Eade, cluster manager at MAS-WM Auto, said she was confident the firm would meet its targets. She said: “Petford Tools is a great example of how targeted manufacturing support can help a company reach its full potential.
“Even during the global recession, the company has grown year-on-year and we will continue to work with the management team to help it achieve its £20 million target.”