The national decline in the property market has provided a forward-thinking Brownhills manufacturer with the opportunity to increase turnover and take on new staff.

Veranda Living, which designs and manufactures purpose-built steel and glass verandas, is tapping into the public’s new found desire to spend money on home improvements and has already seen sales soar to just short of £400,000 this year.

The company, which has also benefitted hugely from accessing expert support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands and Business Link, is taking its bespoke products even further afield by exhibiting at the Ideal Home Show which was recently held in Earls Court London.

Jon Miller, founder and managing director, said: “Even before the credit crunch, we had seen a growing desire from consumers to make the most of the ‘outside’, with more and more people choosing to eat alfresco and enjoy lazy summer evenings on the patio.

“Our ability to provide bespoke verandas that feature Victorian and Edwardian designs proved a unique selling point and within our first 12 months we had completed 40 installations for home owners all over the country.

“This was a great start and whilst we were operating profitably, I felt there was more we could be doing so I decided to turn to some external advice and knowledge.”

The Brownhills entrepreneur got in touch with MAS-WM’s Rodger Cooper, who immediately recognised that the company needed to improve productivity and reduce waste by embedding best practice techniques into its processes.

It was also decided that Veranda would benefit from investigating new routes to market, in order to increase sales and profit.

“The assistance has been absolutely crucial to our expansion and we are already seeing real bottom line benefits, with turnover up 150 per cent,” said Mr Miller.

“Before, our marketing strategy was dominated by domestic users, but after sitting down and planning a new approach, we have extended our focus to the professional market which sells into garden centres, boutique hotels and exhibition centres.

“As a result of our growth, we have been able take on two new members of staff, taking our total workforce to five people.”

Veranda Living now manufacture three verandas per month as opposed to one previously and is currently in the process of streamlining production further by offering a complete service from initial design work to manufacture and installation on-site.

Mr Cooper, specialist manufacturing advisers at MAS-WM, was delighted at how the company has developed.

“Jon had a very solid business that was doing well without really making full use of its unique expertise,” he said.

“We took the key people out of the coalface, sat them down and looked at the marketplace and improvements that could be made using our proven benchmark process.

“The results were clear for everyone to see and a new approach has been implemented that has resulted in more orders, cost savings and the ability to exhibit at Ideal Home for the first time.”

Established in 2002, MAS-WM has helped over 5,000 manufacturing companies to improve manufacturing efficiencies, adding £150?million to the turnover of these businesses in the process.

It currently offers a unique mix of in-depth support and assistance, including process improvement, strategic change, international marketing and new product development.