A Dudley-based manufacturer has tapped into the spirit of the Olympics to record its best ever year and is now setting its sights on a £2m turnover and the creation of new jobs.
Mercia Architectural Ltd, which has been supported by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), beat off international competition to secure a major contract to complete all the architectural metalwork for the new concourse at Waterloo train station.
The £1.1m project is the biggest in the company’s history and involved working with BAM Construction to design and manufacture all the aluminium cladding, the main staircases and the stainless steelwork for the shops.
It also played an instrumental role in the installation of the glass balustrading, including specialist technical support in ensuring the 300 metre-long balcony was fit for purpose.
Warren Holland, Managing Director of Mercia Architectural, believes working on such a high profile job will pave the way for future growth.
“The Waterloo contract has really catapulted us into a different league and it’s now our determination to make the most of it by winning similar projects.
“We secured the order against rivals ten times our size, predominately because of our ability to offer the architects and construction company a complete package, from help with adapting the designs and the manufacture right through to installation and maintenance.”
He continued: “Originally, we had 45 weeks to start and finish the job. By the time we could actually get on site, it turned out everything had to be completed in 22 weeks, a massive challenge but one we successfully met.
“There was no margin for error and the finish had to be world class with hundreds of thousands of people using Waterloo as their transport interchange for London 2012.”
It is continuing to work with the specialist support organisation on developing its bid for Regional Growth Funding to purchase new machinery and training for key members of staff.
This will create the additional capacity the company needs to meet increased demand for its range of services, including bespoke steel fabrication, staircases, balustrading and railings and gates.
Warren picked up the story: “2012 marks our 10th year in business and it’s fitting that it will be our best yet with turnover up from £950,000 to £1.6m.
He added: “MAS has been an invaluable source of external advice during the contract and will be crucial to helping us secure the support we need to grow and take on new people.
“I’ve also got to pay tremendous credit to Lloyds TSB and our Relationship Manager Karen Wilkinson. I know banks in general have been criticised for not supporting SMEs, but I can honestly say that without their support we wouldn’t have been able to complete the contract.”
Rachel Eade, Supply Chain Specialist at the Manufacturing Advisory Service, concluded: “This is a great example of how the Olympic legacy has had a lasting positive effect on Black Country manufacturing.
“Mercia has not sat back and basked in the glory of the Waterloo contract. Instead, the firm has seized the moment and actively used its involvement in London 2012 to attract new opportunities – it’s currently working through the biggest pipeline of tenders it has ever had.”
MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.
Companies can take advantage of a free review that identifies key priority areas and funding is available for improvement projects focused on strategy, increasing efficiency, developing new products, strengthening supply chains and growth.