AN ambitious Hartlepool company is combating the economic hard times by investing in research, development and good old hard work.
Door manufacturers Bridgman IBC, based on the Longhill Industrial Estate, is using innovation, technology and green thinking to thrive in a tough world.
It led to director Peter Bowes telling BusinessMail: “We are busier than we have been for four years.”
It has researched at least 20 projects in the last two years to save money and looked at numerous other techniques to cut costs.
Managing director Mick Butler said: “It is still a very difficult market and things are only stabilising because we are working harder. We are concentrating on front end customer relationships.”
The company employs about 70 people and Mr Butler added: “We have been changing our product portfolio to fit in with industry requirements. We have to develop all the time so that we are at least equal with our competitors if not in front. It is a very demanding market.”
Sales and finance director Tony Phillips said: “The start of the year is better than we have had in the last three or four years.
“We have previously only seen an order book which was four to six weeks in advance but this year, January and February are quite solid. It looks okay.”
Bridgman IBC is a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of fire doors, doorsets, glazed screens and washroom systems.
Last year, we told how the firm had installed an industrial wood burner to save vast sums on its annual heating bill – just by using the timber which the firm already has as a waste product anyway.
Mr Phillips said three wood burners were now helping the company to use 60 per cent of its own waste to “heat the offices and large parts of the factory”.
Bridgman is fighting hard and using clever techniques to either win new business or cut costs.
• It came up with new security doors for a health authority which needed a system for its adult mental health unit.
• Bridgman re-routed its own extraction pipes in a way which has saved £6,000 in electricity costs per year.
• The firm is using alternative packaging without having to turn to expensive heat shrink-wrapping.
• It has bought its building, committing to Hartlepool in the long term.
• It has bought a new lacquer line.
• And recruited three people to its sales team. Mr Bowes said the move was taken “to enable us to gear up for a great 2013”.
The 30-year-old firm is a privately owned business whose management team has over 100 years of experience in the construction products industry.