A Warwickshire company that specialises in manufacturing blinds for complex buildings is planning to more than double turnover and take on new staff after investing in its growth.
Guthrie Douglas, which is based at the Heathcote Industrial Estate, was established nearly 40 years ago and makes blinds which are sold all over the world. Recent orders include automated shading systems for the new Google Headquarters in London, through to a skyscraper in Sydney and a new airport in Kuwait.
The company saw an opportunity to grow by making more of the parts in-house and that meant purchasing a new CNC lathe and also adapting its Warwick headquarters to create more space.
The overall investment was £150,000 and, after contacting the Business Ready team at the University of Warwick Science Park, Guthrie Douglas secured a capital grant of £35,000 through Warwickshire County Council.
Business Ready is managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
Andrew Kitching, managing director of Guthrie Douglas, said the investment will see the company significantly increase its staff numbers and grow turnover from £2 million per annum to £5 million over a three-year period
He said: “By making more of the components in our blind systems in-house, we saw this as an opportunity to grow the business which is already trading very successfully.
“Around 80 per cent of what we do is export, mostly to high-end construction projects. We deliver projects in around 35 different countries each year and because of the nature of the jobs we are working on, it’s a very resilient market.
“When I was putting the growth plan together, I spoke to Business Ready straight away. We have worked with them before and knew they could add value to what we were planning.
“They take a step back, look at the plan and will offer a good sounding board. Furthermore, they gave us an insight into what grants might be available and supported us in our application.
“We would have made some kind of investment without the support but what the help from Business Ready and Warwickshire County Council has allowed us to do is purchase a twin-spindle lathe which, without being too technical, means we can make parts much, much quicker.
“We’ve also created more space by adding a mezzanine floor which means we can increase both headcount and efficiency. We’re delighted to have received such incredible support and not only is it a boost for Guthrie Douglas but for the local economy too.”
Dirk Schafer, of the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “We are extremely pleased to have supported Guthrie Douglas. The company is a great example of a high-end manufacturer that wants to invest and grow.
“Through Business Ready, we have enabled the company to execute that plan more quickly and the grant funding has meant they could make a more significant investment that will deliver in stronger growth.”
Louisa Smith, of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We are really happy to support this kind of project within Warwickshire by way of a Small Capital Grant. Guthrie Douglas have shown themselves to be an innovative and ambitious business in the Leamington area who now have a worldwide presence.
“This investment, along with the advice received from our partners at the University of Warwick Science Park through the Business Ready programme, will not only assist increased productivity within their business but will also create new skilled jobs within the area.”
For more information on Business Ready and the help available go to http://www.business-ready.co.uk/
Caption: Guthrie Douglas tensioned blinds on a conference centre in Germany