Davis Decade settles in Sandwell

A big warm welcome to Davis Decade Ltd! Thanks to the Sandwell Business Loan Fund, the specialist product manufacturer has relocated to the Percy Business Park in Oldbury.

Davis Decade Ltd designs and manufactures process monitoring systems and supplies to the manufacturing sectors (including the automotive, aerospace and construction industries). The company’s Decade product, designed in-house, controls and monitors the performance of the machine it is applied to, providing a running health check and protecting the machine from potentially expensive and long-term damage.

Now Decade has relocated from Birmingham to Oldbury with the help of a £45,000 loan though the Sandwell Business Loan Fund. The fund is available to Sandwell-based businesses and is managed by Black Country Regeneration Society (BCRS) in conjunction with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Ian Kimberley, owner and managing director of Decade, said: “When companies are trying to run as lean as possible, they can’t afford to have operators watching the machines running, so our product enables them to run machines unmanned, secure in the knowledge that if a problem occurred, the Decade would shut the machine down to prevent expensive damage.

“We are the only UK manufacturer of such a product and export globally – our only competition comes from US and Germany. Our growth markets are in the low-cost economies, such as India and Brazil, and we also supply a major automotive company in Iran. We have around 80 per cent of the UK market.”

Ian has worked at Decade since leaving school in 1984, and bought the company in a management buyout in 2006.

“I joined Decade as an apprentice mechanical engineer. In those days our product monitored forces on machines using analogue gauges. We’ve developed these products to make them fit for today’s demands, and now our systems operate like mini computers that can cover multi facets of a machine, and can automate the process as well as protect it,” he said.

“We have developed more products and have also branched out into test and assembly machines. Most of the UK’s car manufacturers use our product to test the integrity of the components being assembled. Testing the product as it is put together cuts down on assembly time, giving 100 percent continuous quality checking.”

Charles Lartey, our inward investment officer at Sandwell Council, said: “We’re here to support businesses moving to Sandwell. We are seeing an ever-increasing amount of interest from companies wanting to be located in Sandwell. There is a wealth of expertise within our local companies, who are involved in most national and global supply chains. Companies like Decade have skill sets that are highly prized, so it’s important to make sure they are fully supported to ensure they have the best chance of success.

“The advanced engineering sector is a priority for Sandwell and it’s been a delight to be able to assist Ian in his relocation here. We were able to help Ian with a grant for security for the new premises and with the integration of the business into the local community, and also worked closely with BCRS to offer a complete financial support package.” 

“We wanted premises that were fit for purpose and as an expanding business, we’d outgrown our old site”, said Ian. “I bought this building as a shell. We approached our bank but they wouldn’t help, and we have no overdraft facility. We then approached BCRS for a loan of £45k to assist the conversion into a headquarters with a large, dedicated research and development facility and room to expand further. It’s near the motorway network and many of our staff are local – it suits us perfectly. We employ ten people and will take on another three skilled technicians for our R&D [research and development] facility over the next year, as we branch into research into machine energy efficiency.”

Tony Wood, business development manager at BCRS, said: “It was easy to see the potential in Decade, as they had traded successfully for 26 years and had consistently adapted to changing technology and the advance in computer-aided manufacture. Decade are very much a world-class, technologically led company competing in a global marketplace, and BCRS saw them as a prime company that we were determined to bring into the Black Country.”

[Pictured left to right: Charles Lartey, Ian Kimberley and Tony Wood.]

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