Suffolk Business magazine
Posted on 15th May 2018 at 10:45
West Engineering was established more than 40 years ago in Ipswich and is today one of the region’s leading manufacturers of Spiral ductwork and fittings.
The Company continues to increase its market share in pile case manufacture and aeration equipment to the agricultural industry.
It’s new managing Director, Dale Smith, who sees the company’s future in terms of new products and new markets, its taking the company forward with a programme of diversification to widen its appeal. We caught up with him at his new 26,000 sq ft premises on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate.
It has been quite a year for Dale Smith. Last January he became the sole owner and managing Director of Ipswich-based West Engineering, moved it to new premises and introduced a policy of diversification. Now he says he is ready for business.” The point is that we are manufacturers, not just a stock shop, “said Dale. and that means we can adapt to produce about anything.” The skilled engineers can manufacture products out of any of the following materials – Galvanised, Mild Steel, Stainless or aluminium.
“This year we had one of the best seasons to date on the agricultural side, which has always been a strong part of our business.
“We have had quite a year and despite the upheavals and changes, we have still been able to return a reasonable set of accounts, which is really heartening. Now I know we are ready for growth.” And is focussed ambition that inspired Dale to take on the business in the first place. Having spent his entire career in the construction industry, he returned to his native Suffolk town and came to West Engineering after spending three years in South Africa. He started his career with West Engineering as a piling Salesman. Last year, the company had to move from its home at Ransomes Europark and the Directors decided it was time to sell up. Dale, a non- shareholding director by this time, initiated a management buyout and thus fulfilled his lifelong ambition to head his own company. He is 35. “As a youngster I always wanted my own business, and I am the first to admit I’m a workaholic,” said Dale, who says long hours come with the territory. And jokes that he will always find “something to worry about”.
But now he has made the company his own, Dale is very focussed for the future. “We are extremely lucky to have an experienced team here. Some of the guys who work the machines have been with the company for many years, but I am all for bringing in new blood and building for the future.
“This year we have no excuses, we have settled in our new home and will have none of the upheavals of the past 12 months, and I think there is huge potential to really step up the gear.”
Its expertise is being recognised not just in East Anglia, But throughout the UK and abroad, to export markets in Europe, Africa and the Far East.
With a staff of 25, 19 of them skilled welders and machine operators, West Engineering believes its strength is in its flexibility to adapt to its customers’ needs and to offer the highest levels of customer care and service. As it enters a new phase in its 40 year history, Dale and his team are enthusiastic about the future and look forward to developing the company further. “The plan is to keep up and improve on the levels of service we offer to our customers, develop new projects and products, and continue to be as flexible as we can. We have the machinery and man skills available to us to take a huge variety of work, and that is what we will be focussing on.
“Gradual and Steady expansion is what I’m after, based on great service and high quality products. There is a huge amount of potential out there and we want to make sure that we are placed to take advantage of that”.
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