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    Event Review: From a garage start-up to a £10 million business – Business Excellence Networking Meeting, Electron Technical Solutions, 12 December 2012

    NAA Business Excellence members who attend meetings will be fortunate to have experienced many excellent events throughout 2012, however one of the most interesting presentations was from Steven Schofield, Managing Director, Electron Technical Solutions Ltd, who, at this event, tracked the company’s history from a one-man start-up in a double-garage sized unit to a £10 million company. Significantly, the meeting was also attended by Lawrence Davies, Vauxhall Director – Purchasing UK, who was looking for potential new UK suppliers.

    Electron Technical Solutions is a successful SME supplying specialist paint finish components into the automotive industry; examples of the company’s products are the front grilles for Range Rover, Freelander and Evoque, and gear knob decals for Toyota.

    At the event, Steven Schofield, Electron’s Managing Director, talked about the history of the business, which he started by himself in a garage in 1984, spraying the housings for Wharfedale speakers. Electronic products were the main focus of the business in the 1980s, with Steven moving on to spray the bodies of Polaroid cameras, dealing with 5000 cameras per day. During this period the business grew, and it moved into the automotive industry in the late 1980s. Electron’s first component was the front grille of a Land Rover Defender – a part that the company still paints today.

    The company’s automotive business grew from this starting point, although in Steven’s words it was ‘hard work’. In the late 1990’s Electron moved to automation, introducing a robot line, and a relentless focus on quality and efficiency was intensified.

    More recently, Electron has taken over a new unit and set up a new line, in record time, to cope with the increased demand from Jaguar Land Rover, particularly for components for the new Range Rover, and for the Evoque, which have a demand for the certain type of finishes that Land Rover’s customers want. Read our case study – link to Electron case study.

    In the early 1990’s Electron’s turnover was £2 million. This has grown to almost £10 million currently, and the business is on course to hit £12 million in 2013.

    After Steven started the business with just himself and his wife in 1984, he now has 107 employees, and has doubled his staff in the last 12 months – an expansion which he says has brought its own challenges.

    Steven’s presentation was fascinating, inspirational, and very honest – and the meeting was made all the more interesting by the attendance of Lawrence Davies, Vauxhall Director – Purchasing UK. The new Vauxhall Astra is due to be built at Ellesmere Port from 2015. Lawrence took a detailed interest in the procedures at Electron, speaking to employees on his way around the factory tour, and said that he was highly impressed with the company.
    If you’ve not attended a Business Excellence meeting, or any other NAA meeting, then make it a New Year’s Resolution to do so in 2013. The excellent presentation and tour at Electron, together with the attendance of a purchasing director from GM, shows that you never know what you might miss out on if you don’t attend a meeting. Check this newsletter every month to keep up to date with future events and make sure you reserve a place early with Zoe.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham