Two Black Country engineers who ploughed their life savings and 20,000 man hours into their business have seen their hard work pay off with a 100 per cent increase in sales in two years.
Gary Smith and Steve Moseley turned the pain of redundancy notices into a career changing moment, starting precision engineering specialist Steadfast Solutions in Oldbury with help from Business Link in the West Midlands.
From a standing start in a small unit in Smethwick and with just a few customers, the duo have used a commitment to best practice manufacturing, flexibility and 90-hour weeks to build a growing reputation in the Bio Engineering, Gas and Energy Sectors. Backed by specialist expertise on updating their quality procedures, the firm is now focusing on increasing its business in the aerospace sector after landing As 9100: ISO 9001-2000, the industry quality award.
“In today’s competitive times, we have to provide the customer with something different. This can be in meeting demanding lead times, working in partnership on new designs or helping companies implement lean manufacturing , hence reducing their costs,” said Mr Smith.
“Quality is a major aspect of the aerospace sector and securing this industry standard will ensure we retain existing business, with end users such as Rolls Royce and Goodrich, but will also enable us to approach potential customers with added confidence.”
The aerospace sector now accounts for 75 per cent of the company’s turnover, while it also provides customers with EDM Wire and Spark Erosion and CNC machining capabilities.
“This, supported with conventional machining, allows us to offer a comprehensive in-house service, ranging from a one-off precision part to a complete inspection gauge,” added Mr Smith.
In addition to managing production, the duo also handle customer requirements and everyday admin tasks.
With such little available time, they enlisted Business Link to help with the initial start-up phase and have continued to tap into external advice on health and safety legislation and, more recently, on the quality accreditation.
“When we started Steadfast, our main focus was completing orders and ‘on time’ deliveries - this is where having that one-on-one support can really help,” said Mr Moseley.
“Having an adviser to tell us what we needed to get in place was invaluable and what was really pleasing is that Business Link has stayed with us as we have grown.”
Steadfast Solutions now operates from two sites in Oldbury and will again double its turnover from contracts drawn from the aerospace and automotive industries.