It is not often that I write looking back on the past but I feel that 2016 proved to be an exceptional year for British Spirals & Castings, not only in terms of normal business requirements, but in the development of the team and the foundations that we have concreted for us to build and grow.
After over 16 years of dedicated service and loyalty, I have appointed Josh Took a Director of the business. This makes him the first none family member to be invited to sit on our Board of Directors. He, along with my children and fellow Directors, Antonia and Ben, are now starting to make their own stamp on the business. They are looking at new and exciting approaches, whilst retaining the same family ethos and principles of quality and service which I have spent nearly 25 years establishing.
It makes me extremely proud to see what they have achieved in the past year, and how well they have bonded as a senior management team. Their decisions have, at times, been challenging for me as they have not always followed a path that I would have chosen, but their choices have been well thought through and prove that they are looking to the future.
It was sad to lose a long serving member of the team, Adam Allot, in the latter part of 2016 who, due to health concerns, felt that a different career path was needed. Adam worked with us for over 17 years (with the odd year’s sabbatical here and there to pursue his love of speedway racing) and he is, and will, continue to be greatly missed. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Adam for his contribution over the years and wish him all the best in his new venture.
Adam’s departure from the business has, however, allowed new opportunities for some of the younger, less experienced members of the team to develop their skills earlier than planned. To this end, Joe Copper is now currently studying for an NVQ level 2 in Welding.
Although we officially rebranded the company over two years ago, the benefit of the rebranding and the dedication and commitment of our external marketing partners, Smith Goodfellow PR, has really shown the fruits of its labour last year with a significant increase in sales and a continued strong presence in the world of print, search engine optimisation and social media platforms.
Due to the expansion of our product range over the last few years, 2016 saw a considerable investment in three new brochures which gives us the ability to showcase much more of the options available in terms of our cast and wooden staircases whether they be spiral stairs, straight stairs, combination staircases, kited staircase or balconies.
Gates and Railings:
2016 saw substantial change and growth in this smaller branch of the business. After deciding to close our small showroom in Highgate, London at the back end of 2015, a great amount of time and effort has been put in over the past year to ensure that the same level of service and the same quality of products are being delivered to our London clients. We wanted to ensure our brand continues to be recognised as one of the best in the Capital.
We have two manufacturing teams in London who specialise in the supply and fit of high quality, made to measure internal and external, cast iron and wrought iron balustrading, gates and railings in the London area whether for smaller individual clients or larger scale projects.
We continue to work closely with prestigious building contractors and architects working on delivering bespoke solutions which marry both heritage and conservation with the more stringent Building Regulations that we see today. It was extremely pleasing to see the growth that has been achieved over the year and that we find ourselves being specified more and more, making us a manufacturer of choice.
2017 is set to be a huge year for British Spirals & Castings. Although the business has been going for over 30 years, the 1st May 2017 sees 25 years of ownership by myself and the family.
It is a great achievement for us all, especially looking back over the 25 years and from where I started building a couple of stairs a month from a shed behind a garage to the turnover that we achieve now. Although the recession and the impact on home building proved extremely testing for all British manufacturers, it pushed us out of our comfort zone and into developing new products which are today widely accepted in the market place. I also acquired the foundry in 2008, which produces all our cast aluminium component parts as well as serving the local West Midlands engineering companies. This allows us to state with pride that, from start to finish, all our cast aluminium stairs and balconies are produced in-house here in the UK.
To mark our celebratory year, we have commissioned the design of a 25-year anniversary logo which will be revealed later in the year. We are also looking at some exciting new opportunities involving the younger generations in our local community. Watch this space!
The directors and I have also decided to invest in the construction of a new 2000 square feet unit on the property to increase production and deliver our bespoke products to the market quicker. This is currently in the planning stages but, subject to approval, we will be looking to start the build in spring.
With more capacity comes the need for more staff and skills amongst the team. It is anticipated that the new building will allow us the opportunity to create two new positions within the company, with at least one of the two opportunities being an apprenticeship.
I very much look forward to the challenges and success that I hope 2017 will present and wish everyone the best of luck for the New Year