We are delighted to have been shortlisted for “SME Manufacturer of the Year Award” (under 125 employees) in The Manufacturer annual awards. We started manufacturing our own high quality franking machine cartridges in 2011 and have experienced massive growth ever since. This is the first time we have entered any kind of manufacturing award so we are really pleased to have been recognised through being shortlisted.
We brought the manufacturing of compatible franking machine cartridges into the UK when we started manufacturing from our head office base in Alston, Cumbria in 2011. This came about because we saw a gap in the market to produce high quality compatible franking machine cartridges that were both high quality and cost effective.
There were other compatible franking machine cartridges previously available which were manufactured outside of the UK but the majority were low quality and therefore unreliable. We researched and designed our own versions in order to overcome these manufacturing flaws.
We took on a manufacturing team and started an apprenticeship scheme. Since then the business has grown rapidly. Once customers realised the quality of our cartridges word quickly spread. End users are able to typically save 30-40% by using our franking machine cartridges.
As part of this drive, we’ve also spent a great deal of time educating the market about franking machine and cartridge use. In 2005 the Office of Fair Trading ruled that the main franking machine manufacturers could no longer dictate that their own cartridges were used and that use of compatibles would not breach contracts or warranties.
Since we took manufacturing in house sales have not only increased massively in the UK but also internationally. In 2011 exports as a percentage of company turnover was 33%, in 2012 this figure was a staggering 44%. Following this success earlier this year we were awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
We will now be attending the next stage of the awards process which is a formal presentation in Birmingham in early October. The official award ceremony is taking place at a Gala Dinner in Birmingham on 4th December.