Clearview National July 2015 - Issue 164 - Page 46

DOORS&WINDOWS Highlands Rising Star Leading Scottish fabricator and trade supplier, Stevenswood continues to see exceptional growth after securing a £3.5 million investment from the Business Growth Fund, an independent organisation set-up by the banking community to help support small to medium companies to grow. »»The investment has already allowed Stevenswood to invest in new property, equipment and staff resource, preparing the business to grow its manufacturing capacity to 2000 frames per week. Ron Hepburn, Managing Director of Stevenswood, talks to Clearview about the company’s rise, future development and reaching its huge production target. Co-founded in 1997 by Ron Hepburn and his now retired copartner Dave Flynn, Stevenswood was one of the first companies in Scotland to offer a 70mm sculptured frame system, Ron recalls how the company grew its production rapidly and in no time at all, went from producing zero to 1000 frames a week. The company primarily concentrated on manufacturing conservatories with its excess manufacturing capacity being taken up by supplying windows through its trade counters to trade customers. He said: “Demand for our products grew so quickly, we started bursting at the seams! However, after Daviddecided to retire, I was unsure if I wanted to continue or sell the business and looked at various options before deciding to approach Business Growth Fund (BGF)”. BGF make long-term equity investments to companies that have robust and realistic expansion plans. Ron knew the business had expanded quickly and felt that they were in a strong position to be able to apply for an investment boost, to help take the business to the next level. BGF awarded Stevenswood £3.5 million inward investment in January this year. Last July, Stevenswood moved to a new 55, 000 square foot factory in Livingston, almost doubling the space of its previous site, Ron recalls: “We had to invest over £1m in new premises to enable the expansion of our capacity, but also with extra space meant new factory equipment that would allow us to manufacture efficiently. A new Stuga ZX4 sawing and machining centre was acquired as well as an URBAN SV800 CNC 4-head corner cleaner and an URBAN 4-head horizontal welder. In addition, new tooling was added to our existing URBAN 8 head and 6 head horizontal welders to reduce the foiled welds from 2mm to 0.2mm for much neater welds.” Ron continues: “The new production line is now extremely organised and the company has introduced the principles of lean manufacturing, allowing us to utilise the machinery and the staff resource to full potential. I have no hesitation that we will reach our goal of 2000 frames with all the investment in place.” 46 » JUL 2015 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M Another move to help support its ambitious growth plan was the need to recruit key staff resource at the company. Ron explains: “We have recruited a full time financial director, Murray McGarvie, and a non-executive chairman, David Pearson, who previously held the position as group commercial director at Focus Wickes. Patrick Graham, from BGF has also joined the Stevenswood board and supports the strategic growth plans by keeping an eye on the financial side of the business, making sure the business keeps to budget. That said, not all of the investment has been spent and Ron has big plans to grow the business further and introduce new branches. “We still have some of the investment left and as well as acquiring new branches in Dunfermline, Falkirk and Stirling, the company is also investing in larger premises for our Glasgow trade counter, which has outgrown its current space.” Ron added: “It’s very exciting. The ultimate goal is to have 28 branches across Scotland. There is also a plan to grow our kitchen business, a side not directly involved with the windows, but one which will be housed on our current five acre site and see the company as a whole profit. “We are going to extend the buildings on the site, creating a factory in which to create the kitchens and a showroom for customers to bring their clients in to, to see what we offer. “We do not install anything ourselves and we supply only to trade. The showroom will be there purely for installers to bring their customers to view and choose their products. We want to help installers, not steal their customers!” Distributing through its own growing chain of trade counters across Scotland, Stevenswood continues to grow and with more new trade counters still to come as well as its growth in the kitchen market, 2015 can only get better for the company. Ron comments: “Seeing such growth within the business in such a short space of time, has made me confident I made the right decision to not give up and thanks to the BGF this is now a reality not a dream.”