Smart thinking has twice helped this month's winner of The Birmingham Post Business Award to survive and thrive in tough market conditions.
Phil Hadley, a founder of Hadley Group, a cold rolled metal-forming specialist based in Downing Street, Smethwick, had the foresight to wean the then infant business off any dependence on the car industry during the industrial anarchy of the 1960s and '70s.
Thirty years later his son, also named Phil, was able to use the company's international perspective effectively to survive last year's savage rises in the price of steel and a global shortage of the material.
Between them, father and son have helped develop a near-#100 million-a-year company that rolls more than 70,000 tonnes of steel.
Since 1965 the group has grown to employ 475 people and occupy more than 480,000 sq ft of production and office space at Smethwick and two more sites in West Bromwich.
The privately-owned group exports to 50 countries across five continents and has its own manufacturing facilities in Germany, Thailand and Dubai plus a sales operation in Paris.
Now one of Britain's biggest of cold-rolled formed metal section, Hadley's major customers are in the construction sector although it does have interests in automotive, aerospace and agriculture.
Managing director Phil Hadley, who yesterday accepted the Post award from Warwickshire CCC chief executive Dennis Amiss at Edgbaston cricket ground, said the company had a 40-year commitment to investment and this was now running at record levels.
He said his father took the decision to diversify out of the car industry when strikes resulted in Hadley's components being 'stacked to the eaves' because production lines were idle so often.
Today, according to Mr Hadley, it was the group's strong international perspective that has helped through the steel crisis.
Last year saw price rises of up to 70 per cent and widespread shortages of steel.
That could have had disastrous consequences for a comparatively small company with little scope for absorbing such increases itself.
But Hadley saw it as an opportunity instead of a crisis and worked closely with its customers to work minimise the impact of such a tough market.
Hadley's policy of spreading its own supply net as widely as possible meant it was able to guarantee continuity of supply to its customers.
The main sponsors of The Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with Champagne Taittinger.
British Airways and Aston Business School provide further support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner worth #2,500.
The judges choose the best news story appearing in the Post that month. So if you have a good story to tell, contact the Business Desk on 0121-236-3366 or click here to email us.