Securing a prestigious order for Bentley has provided one of Birmingham’s fastest growing manufacturers with a perfect 70th birthday present.
Frank Dudley Limited (FDL), which employs 64 people at its Wiggin Street factory, beat off significant competition to win the contract to supply bumper finishes for the Continental model and has already invested heavily in setting up a dedicated clean room and cell for the job.
This deal, along with significant body and white work for Sertec Group, is the latest in a long line of ‘wins’ for the metal pressings and deep drawn component specialist that has seen sales rise 20% to £6m over the last twelve months.
“We’ve come a long way since my grandfather Frank started the business in his small shed in Birmingham,” explained current Managing Director Grant Dudley-Toole.
“His approach of ‘getting products, right first time’ is one that we have built our business around and has been crucial in helping us introduce lean manufacturing and world class quality and delivery performance – two important factors in us winning the recent contracts for Bentley and a major earth moving equipment manufacturer.”
He continued: “2018 has been a rollercoaster year with significant growth and lots of investment. However, it has been slightly tempered by the passing of my mother and company matriarch Jill Dudley-Toole in April, shortly after receiving an MBE for services to manufacturing and the local community.
“It was an especially poignant day when we visited Buckingham Palace as a family, with Warren Dudley-Toole collecting her MBE from HRH Prince Charles.”
Established just a few years after the second World War, Frank Dudley initially started life supplying quality washers for automotive businesses.
The qualified toolmaker was armed with only a small supply of hand presses and sons and daughters that would help him after school to transport the products to local platers.
As word spread of its expertise, the company was able to buy more equipment and diversified its product offer into manufacturing parts in kit format and selling them through Quinton Hazell Autoparts.
Unfortunately, Frank died in 1966 at just 53 years of age, but his family were keen to make sure his legacy continued, a decision that has withstood three recessions, the MG Rover closure and increased volatility in the automotive market.
Elliot Dudley-Toole, Manager at FDL and 4th generation family member, continued: “Today, we operate from a 57,000 sq ft facility in Birmingham and have an array of presses from 30 tonnes to 630 tonnes on both progression and tandem lines.
“We have also invested over £200,000 into a nut insert machine, a new grinder and additional spot welding capabilities to ensure we can manufacture volumes ranging from 50 components per batch to 15,000 parts per week.
“The recent purchases – combined with recruitment of a Buyer, Project Manager, Tool Maker and four apprentices – will give us the capacity to target £7m of sales by 2019, with a specific focus on growing our export work.”
Frank Dudley, which has recently secured the ISO 14001:2015 environment standard, hosted a major celebration event to mark its 70th year of manufacturing in Birmingham.
More than 200 guests were entertained by operatic waiters, a magician, the Roving Artist and live music, before keynote addresses from Grant Dudley-Toole and Grant Adams, Chief Executive of Sertec Group.
The evening helped raise £2000 to support the outstanding work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
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