17 March 2014
OWNER Diane Kimberley has revealed ambitious plans to double the size of our business within three years on the back of an encouraging surge in demand.
The company has enjoyed fresh levels of trade since bringing in plasma technology towards the end of last year.
Now we're looking to build on that momentum with plans to increase turnover to record levels.
Ms Kimberley is predicting growth of 20 per cent in just 12 months and is hoping the trend will continue in the years ahead.
Turnover at our Kingswinford site has increased to £2.5 million since 2006. But Ms Kimberley wants to double that figure by 2017 with further major investment on the cards.
"Our figures have been strong since the third quarter of last year and we're really optimistic about the future," she said.
"We've spent a lot of money on new machinery and that has given us a perfect platform for sustained growth.
"We've come through a challenging economic climate and now we're in a strong position to move forward."
Arford invested £300,000 on high-tech plasma cutting equipment in October and we've been reaping the benefits ever since.
"The new machine has had a huge impact on the business," said Ms Kimberley.
"It increased our overall capacity by 35 per cent at a stroke and immediately made us more responsive to customers.
"With our flame cutting machines alone, we were always up against it and couldn't have improved production levels.
"But because plasma is four or five times quicker, and a lot more accurate at the same time, we now have somewhere to go.
"The machine has been really busy and we're now firming up our organisational systems to enable us to grow into that extra capacity."
The success of the plasma machine has also prompted Ms Kimberley to re-evaluate her business plan.
And while there's still plenty of room for new orders at the moment, she's keen to stay ahead of the game.
"We're looking to see the business grow by as much as 20 per cent in the next financial year and anticipate we'll need to invest in a second plasma machine within 24 months," she added.
"In physical terms, that would give us the capacity to reach a turnover of £5 million by 2017 and that's a figure we've never reached before.
"We would need to sell that amount of business, of course, but we're confident it can be done."
Ms Kimberley has been buoyed by a resurgence of the Midlands construction sector and reckons a recovery across the manufacturing industry is here to stay.
"There's been a noticeable increase in work we've done for construction clients since around Autumn last year," she said.
"We've produced a lot of base plates for civil engineering developments, for example, and most of them have been projects in the Midlands.
"The manufacturing industry does seem to have turned a corner and I think there are better times ahead."
Arford employs 13 people at our premises on Dawley Trading Estate and there's likely to be room for more if Ms Kimberley's targets can be met.
"We'll probably add to the workforce before long, and assuming demand remains strong, we'll do so again further down the line," she said.
"As we can now respond quickly to customers' needs, we hope they'll keep coming back and, of course, the busier we get, the more staff we'll need.
"We've put the building blocks in place to give us the best possible chance to build on what we've achieved so far.
"Now it's time to really press on and see where we can get to."
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