Federico Ercoli shipped up to Telford to see Filtermist’s new facilities.
After spending £3m on 2,770 sqm of brand new premises at the T54 business park in Telford, Filtermist’s latest investment couldn’t go unnoticed. I had to see it.
Manufacturer of centrifugal oil mist collection units and fume and dust extraction equipment since 1969, Filtermist was formed in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, but has recently decided to boost its business and relocate to a new bespoke plant.
The company had to leave its original home after Shropshire Council confirmed there wasn’t an area big enough near Bridgnorth to accommodate the firm.
“The original facility in Bridgenorth was getting too small for us to continue. We are a growing company, we’ve grown significantly in the past few years and we needed more space for both the administration side and for manufacturing capacity,” James Stansfield, managing director at Filtermist tells me.
However, the relocation was not only necessary for the additional space, “It was also to create a flagship enterprise, somewhere where we could bring customers from around the world to proudly show what we’ve achieved and who they’re working with,” Stansfield adds.
With a current turnover of around £11.5m a year and 55 employees, one can clearly see the intent is in pushing forward and Stansfield confirmed it, “We have a lot of plans. We want to grow our business by around 50% in the next six to seven years. We have plans to do that by looking at market share, new markets and new products,” he says.
Growth targets being ambitious and all, I wondered if the manufacturer’s crusade toward expansion will turn out to be the ideal smooth sailing one would hope for.
“The obstacles that we face are the changes in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing techniques. We have to keep up with them,” Stansfield explains.
As expected. But that’s not all.
“There are always challenges from competition. We’ve been around a long time so we’ve been very fortunate to get a great reputation of quality. However, all the countries we go to we come across local competition, some of it very low cost. We have to fight very much on quality and on the British manufacturing side of things,” Stansfield adds.
“Also, you won’t believe it, but our biggest competitor is Italian,” he said smiling and almost trying to make me feel guilty for it. In all honesty, I could barely believe it myself, but that got me interested.
Considering Filtermist exports its products to 60 countries worldwide through a network of 45 distributors, with its biggest market being the US, followed by China and India, I wondered how much “damage” the Italian direct competitor is doing in the battle for oil mist collection units’ supremacy.
“Oh, we’re winning,” Stansfield says. Go figure.