Continuing our blog series on the companies Business Wales AGP has helped to develop and expand, we look at Qualitek Engineering.
Llanelli-based Qualitek was formed in 2010 and is both a precision engineering and fabrication company – an unusual combination in the engineering sector.
It has a strong and diverse client base, ranging from local manufacturers in a range of sectors to several original equipment manufacturers (OEM), which trade globally.
Here, director and design manager John Tovey tells Qualitek’s story – and gives others plotting their journey through the world of business some guidance and advice.
Tell us about Qualitek.
We gained early traction by serving end-user clients in south-west Wales, and as these businesses were streamlined further opportunities developed.
We’ve achieved significant growth by forming sustainable and collaborative relationships in the OEM sector, more specifically in the security, utilities, environmental protection, automotive and construction sectors.
The majority of our work is project-based or low-volume products. Recently, we completed significant flood defence projects in collaboration with another Business Wales AGP client company. These projects have been exported, mostly to the Far East.
We have 26 employees, and wherever possible, we encourage the products and services we use to be Welsh.
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
Our proudest moment has to be moving into our new manufacturing facility at Dura Business Park – and customising the building to our exacting requirements – in September 2015.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
This is a difficult question to answer, but the ability to service clients requiring a wide range of engineering requirements remains a significant strength and differentiator for Qualitek.
For such a wide range of sectors to be serviced has developed an innovative and collaborative culture in the organisation.
In that sense, everything we’ve done, mistakes or otherwise, has helped us get to where we are.
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
Support from the Business Wales AGP over the last three years has been critical to the business’ growth.
Some initial loan funding was instrumental in enabling us to establish a new factory.
Areas such as lean manufacturing, strategic planning, workflow scheduling and supply chain management have contributed significantly to our turnover growing by 60% and staff numbers doubling.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
● Don’t strive for perfection before traction – good enough is usually good enough.
● Seek out the support available to Welsh businesses.
● Use a small team of trusted advisors, do not be paralysed by too many different inputs.
● Be bold in your decision making, if the wrong decision is made – learn quickly.
● Think bigger than being just another Welsh lifestyle business.