A Birmingham firm which makes hot water hand-wash units is banging the drum for manufacturing – and aiming for new export markets.
Chelmsley Wood-based Teal chalked up annual profits of £337,000 on turnover of £1.6 million a year despite a downturn which saw the firm cut costs and forced onto four-day weeks.
Now the company, global leader in its niche sector, is looking to ramp up profits further by targeting exports as a key path forward.
Teal managing director Mike Stanley said: “The message is that manufacturing is alive and well. We are the world’s largest producers of portable hand-wash units, supplying 10,000 in the UK.
“We design them, we get the components made locally, we put them together, we test them – 92 per cent of our turnover is in the UK.
“Because we do not have a competitor, we have to invent and create products that people do not know they need. We would welcome a competitor – we have got the UK tied up pretty well.”
Teal supplies a wide range of UK customers, including local authorities, gas and water companies, market stallholders, hospitals and nurseries.
The firm is now looking to add further to its sole export market down under. “Australia is our one export market success; we shipped the first ones there four years ago.
“It’s a different product there, for food retailers and outside caterers. The potential is vast. We are looking for new markets.
“Last year we had quite a lot of four-day weeks but new products mean that we are going to be less and less dependent on one market sector.
“We cut advertising and direct mailing completely and that helped save £100,000 – we are much more flexible now than we have ever been.”
Teal also operates a bonus system for its workforce based on production levels, equivalent to up to a week’s extra wages.
“Manufacturing is alive – some of our suppliers are working extra hours because they cannot get skilled people.”