Alternative Precision Sheet Metal Ltd
Founded in 1997 by Brian Dumbarton, Alternative Precision Sheet Metal Ltd. (APSM Ltd.) is a specialist sheet metal fabrication business, working with a variety of clients across South Wales and the rest of the UK.
Based in Swansea, APSM Ltd. provides services ranging from laser profiling, press brake folding/bending, welding tig/mig and 3D CAD design. They are an ISO 9001-2015 accredited business, ensuring that their team of eight staff is committed to continual development and quality improvement.
What they did
Owner Brian Dumbarton was previously employed as an apprentice for Stannah Stair Lifts and subsequently qualified in two engineering disciplines. Brian then decided to embark on the journey of launching his own business, APSM Ltd., manufacturing for a multitude of industries including museum and art galleries, interior designers, the automotive industry, aerospace and many more.
An investment into a Mazak 1.5kw laser and Bystronic press brake then followed, along with an expansion of the workforce to accommodate increasing demand.
In 2014, Brian’s son, Daniel Dumbarton, who is a qualified design and technology specialist, joined the business and successfully carried out a company re-brand, including a new logo, website and liveried vehicles.
What would they do differently
“We would have followed the advice: ‘stop doing it all yourself', embraced a mixed-media approach to marketing and kept learning.”
Their proudest moment in business
“As a Welsh business, we have been involved with many high-profile projects, some of which have even included 'royal openings'. We are dedicated to all our clients and aim to accommodate their needs with our flexible production scheduling.”
Do they use Welsh in their business?
"We have two Welsh-speaking members of staff.”
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Having been trading for over 20 years, APSM approached the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service as they were looking to expand further, safeguard and create jobs. Business Wales’ Relationship Managers worked with Brian on a number of innovation issues and operational improvements, which led to the successful purchase of the first Mazak Nexus 6kW Fiber laser machine in Europe. This has already created 1 job as well as adding additional capacity and new product development opportunities for the business.
Business Wales’ Sustainability Adviser, Iain Cox, further helped with energy efficiency advice for the factory and business operations. This led to a number of measures undertaken by the business including insulation to prevent heat loss, suitable energy-saving lighting, as well as the purchase of equipment which is accredited for energy efficiency.
Annette Butler, Business Development Manager at APSM, said: “We have received invaluable advice and support over the years from Business Wales and we are enthusiastic about our current and future involvement with our Business Wales Relationship Manager, Kris Hicks, as we continue to grow and expand.”
Here are APSM Engineering’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- have a solid business plan
- understand your market
- listen to your clients
- put in the hard work
- build a good team