The owners of Steadfast Solutions, winner of this month’s Birmingham Post Enterprise Award, hope to be doubling the company’s headcount soon – from two to four.
Since founding the company as a precision engineering specialist two years ago, Gary Smith and Steve Moseley have run the businesses themselves, working up to 90 hours a week.
But with trade holding up, despite recession, the pair have plans to recruit two machinists.
To attend the award ceremony at Aston Business School this week, Gary and Steve had to be in at their Oldbury factory especially early to set up their computer-aided machines to work in their absence.
“Gary and Steve typify the spirit of this award scheme,” said Andrew Jackson, of Intercity Mobile Communications, one of the award sponsors.
The pair ploughed their life savings – along with more than 20,000 manhours – into setting up Steadfast Solutions when they were made redundant two years ago.
They do not give out figures, but say their turnover has doubled over that time and is set to grow substantially in future thanks to a move into the aerospace sector.
The company already has a strong reputation among its existing customers in the bio-engineering, gas and energy industries.
That is partly because Gary and Steve offer shorter delivery times than their competitors while maintaining quality levels.
“We are constantly looking at what our customers need. We deliver what we say and deliver on time and the quality is right,” said Gary. “When our competitors quote two to three months for delivery, we say four to five weeks without compromising anything.
“That is why we are working 90-hour weeks, but it is worthwhile. In the current climate we think it is better to do it ourselves, but we have work coming in and are looking to take on another two people.”
The pair take a cautious approach to business. Having bought one machine they waited for it to pay for itself before buying a second, and so on.
Steadfast is now concentrating on winning aerospace business after securing a key industry quality award with the help of Business Link adviser Gail Smith.
“In today’s competitive times we have to provide customers with something different by meeting demanding lead times and helping customers to develop new designs and reduce their costs through lean manufacturing,” said Gary 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 Birmingham Post Enterprise Awards are sponsored by Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with champagne producer Laurent Perrier.
Further support comes from Flybe, Aston Business School and Aston Villa. Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands co-sponsors the annual awards presentation event.