Federico Ercoli travels to Cross Hills in North Yorkshire to see the latest developments after a major investment at chemicals supplier and manufacturer Airedale Chemicals.
Travelling to West Yorkshire on a good day is a blessing. Being hosted by a manufacturer whose facilities are buried in the same green pastures is the proverbial cherry on top.
The company? Airedale Chemicals. The occasion? The firm just completed a £3m expansion project started in July 2014, which reportedly allowed it to improve its storage facilities, expand its distribution fleet and hire 45 employees to boost business growth. I had to see it for myself.
“We just put some more staff in place in all areas over the last couple of years: accounts, operations, technical, maintenance, and sales as well. We’re just hoping to increase sales, get into different markets, probably improve on what we don’t export a lot of at the moment. One of our big points is trying to increase the business on this side but maintaining the service level,” Daniel Fox, operations manager, Airedale Chemicals tells me.
Something that has been made possible, Craig Thomson, finance director, explains, “By investing £1.85m in property purchasing and the redevelopment of existing warehouse space. A further £500,000 has been spent on additional vehicles enhancing our fleet and £20,000 on new testing laboratories. This means we are able to support strategic product growth areas such as peracetic acid, which has increased in sales by 30% so far this year.”
Stories of successful growth are too often centered on recent figures and achievements, leaving the past a memory for the nostalgics within the company. Luckily, this isn’t the case at Airedale Chemicals.
The representatives I had the chance to speak to, all prided themselves on being part of a tradition that started 42 years ago, when late chairman and founder Mr. Brian Chadwick set out to manufacture dye products.
Now, the company supplies more than 200 chemicals to 25 different markets, from agrochemical to oil and gas and textile in the UK, Europe and worldwide from its 100,000sq ft plant in Cross Hills.
It also employs 103 people, 95% of which, company representatives say, have been recruited from the local area and recently estimated its 2014 turnover exceeded £40m.