A commitment to developing its own people is paying off for a Willenhall manufacturing specialist after it more than doubled the size of the business in the last year.
AlphaDrive Engineering Services, which offers the supply, mechanical repair and fabrication of bearings, industrial gearboxes, motors and power transmissions, has seen sales increase to £320,000 after landing a string of new contracts in the aggregates, food and beverage and paper making sectors.
Backed by support from In-Comm Training, the company has created an in-house training and continuous development plan for all employees and is also investing in the next generation of engineers with two local apprentices recently taken on.
It is an approach the management team is keen to build on, with the aim of hitting £1m turnover by 2018.
“We started the business just as the recession was coming to its peak, but knew deep down we could offer customers something different to what they were currently receiving,” explained Anthony Chisholm, managing director.
“Having spent most of our career involved in engineering services we recognised the need to improve customer service, the importance of adding value to what we do and flexibility in responding to urgent requirements.”
He went on to add: “This helped us put the business plan together and at the heart of that plan was people. We wanted to adopt a big company development programme and embed it into our small business culture, something In-Comm has helped us achieve.”
AlphaDrive currently employs eight people at its Ashmore Lake Way premises, an increase of six new staff in the last year alone.
All of the workers have had access to courses focused on welding, managing health and safety, forklift trucks and first aid, not to mention a number of individuals working towards NVQs in team leadership.
Two engineering apprentices have also been employed and are undertaking training both on-site and at In-Comm’s purpose built workshop in Aldridge.
“The more skills we can give our people the better and this is directly translated into better productivity on the shopfloor and an ability to take on different types of work. This could be machining and fabrication, repairing bearings or supplying industrial gearboxes direct to the customer,” commented Mr Chisholm.
He continued: “We can’t adopt this training approach on our own, which is why In-Comm has been such a big help, understanding what we do, the support we need and giving us access to their dedicated workshop.
“It has also been crucial in helping us take a more holistic approach to the way we deliver training and in ensuring we access the funding we need to implement all of the improvements.”
Aldridge-based In-Comm has been offering industry and commerce a wide range of training and business solutions for more than 33 years.
This includes support with apprentices, management development, health and safety, quality assurances, Investors in People, business improvement techniques, lean manufacturing and specific skills courses.
Gareth Jones, Operations Director at In-Comm, added: “We work with more than 200 manufacturers every year and there has definitely been a surge in the number of firms investing in training.
“AlphaDrive has been at the forefront of this and is a great example of a small company trying to be the best they can by unlocking the potential of its people.”
He concluded: “If it is going to achieve £1m turnover it will need to double the size of the workforce and recruitment of apprentices will be at the top of its agenda.”
AlphaDrive is continuing to tap into support from In-Comm Training and is currently in the process of working towards ISO 9001.