Worcestershire-based Translift Bendi, which manufactures the articulated Bendi forklift truck, is the September winner of The Birmingham Post Business Award. Representatives from the company received the award yesterday during a presentation held at Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire.
The company owes its success to its unique product, which is far more manoeuvrable than traditional rigid forklifts and which has quickly won approval from across the logistics industry.
The Bendi has the dual advantage of being able to operate indoors in very confined spaces as well as outdoors on rough ground.
Its special status in the industry was recognised four years ago, when it was selected for a Queen's Award for Innovation. The vehicle, designed by company chairman Fred Brown in the 1980s, is now in such demand that the Redditch firm is having to expand its production facilities.
It currently manufactures around 70 vehicles every month, but plans to double this. It is investing around £500,000 at its Pagets Lane factory, which should increase capacity by around 75 per cent.
Managing director Simon Brown, who attended yesterday's ceremony, said: "Things are going really well and we are hopeful that the outcome of the application will be favourable.
"We are itching to get started because demand is so high."
During 2006-07 sales of the vehicle have doubled, with demand soaring in overseas markets.
"The company now exports to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, France, Germany and South Africa.
"Once the new facility is fully operational then we are looking at increasing production to between 120-150 trucks a month by the end of next year," said Mr Brown. The expansion could also pave the way for around 20 new jobs, which would increase the workforce to around 130 people.
Mr Brown said that despite the need to expand, the company had been happy to remain in Redditch.
"It was an option to relocate, but we have everything we need here and so we decided to stay.
"Importantly, we have access to a skilled workforce and if we were to move then that might not be the case," he said.
If growth continues at its present rate then the firm said it may have to look at implementing an additional expansion plan.
It believes the potential for growth exists and that Europe in particular will be a buoyant market.
Production of the Bendi recently passed the 7,000 mark and many large distribution companies opt to use it because of its high manoeuvrability.
The trucks are more expensive than traditional rigid vehicles, but are far more efficient – one supermarket group has said it can save £80,000 a week on its storage costs by using the Bendi.
B&Q also operates more than 600 of the vehicles in its stores around the country, while many other blue chip companies also have the vehicle in their fleets.
The main sponsors of The Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with Champagne Taittinger.
Aston Business School provides further support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner valued at £2,500.
Warwickshire County Cricket Club is providing a private box for one of its day/night games next season and Yorkshire Bank sponsors the award luncheon, airline flybe provides the award winners with two air tickets to anywhere in Europe from Birmingham.