Customers are starting to turn their back on cheap Chinese imports as they realise British firms can offer more quality, a Birmingham metalworking firm has said.
Savekers, based in Perry Barr, has started to see demand from customers come back to the UK after the company improved its equipment and focused on customer care.
The company, which manufactures bespoke and standard metalwork and joinery items to numerous UK market sectors, said customers had begun to lose interest in cheap imports that were of an inferior quality, have long lead times, and do not present the flexibility of working with a dedicated manufacturer in the UK.
Chief executive Dani Saveker said many customers had been surprised at what the firm had to offer.
“One of the startling things was that some of our existing customers told us they didn’t even realise the company manufacture,” she said. “People have forgotten that in this country we manufacture, and it amazes me.
“Everyone knows the quality of a lot of what’s coming in is pretty poor, the lead times, the after-service. And I think also because people always want to have a hands on role in designing things, people will always want to go and meet other people face to face, providing the equipment deelops and the company develops, then yes I think there’s still going to be a demand for Brtish manufacturing.
“What we have had to do is evolve our strengths and what we are best at and concentrate on those things. It’s something we know we can be competitive in.”
Savekers was founded more than 100 years ago, and employs approximately 80 people, with a turnover in the region of £4 million. It produces a wide range of products mainly for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
It recently spent more than £655,000 on new state-of-the-art laser cutting machinery to make it more competitive with cheap foreign imported goods.
It was helped out by a grant from region development agency Advantage West Midlands, as part of a redevelopment plan after the company was seriously damaged by a fire.
AWM’s SFIE (Selective Finance for Investment in England) fund is used towards companies with good growth prospects.
Phil Langford, AWM grants case officer, said: “One of AWM’s key priorities is to make sure such companies have access to appropriate finance for growth and SFIE funding can often be the last piece in the financial jigsaw to trigger capital expenditure that leads to long-term improvements in productivity, skills and employment.”
The laser cutters dramatically improved the efficiency of the company’s production process, he added, saying: “Savekers is now better positioned to meet the threat of imported products.”