This week #madeinsandwell Monday throws a spotlight on A Perry & Co (Hinges) Ltd, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer and supplier of hinges and hardware, based on Doulton Road in Cradley Heath.
The company’s catalogue boasts over 15,000 products including gate hardware and fencing, hinges and architectural ironmongery, chain and rope, garden art and wall art, protective gear and workwear, tarpaulins, tape and buckets. As well as its thousands of trade customers, A Perry has also supplied Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium, HS2, Warner Brothers film studios and recently landed a contract with Aardman Animations to produce Shaun the Sheep statuettes [pictured].
It all began in 1925 when Arthur Perry started a company making steel gutter brackets and hinges. Nearly a century later, the company is owned and run by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who oversee an annual turnover of over £12m, expected to double by 2020.
This is largely due to new premises which were officially opened in September 2017 by HRH the Duke of Kent. The 90,000 sq ft of factory, warehouse and office space, built alongside its existing 40,000 sq ft operation, has enabled the company to expand by increasing production and keeping more products stored and ready to dispatch. Currently over 90 per cent of A Perry business is domestic, but the company’s plans now include a deeper push into Europe as well as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Increased storage means that over 98 per cent of UK orders can now be delivered the next working day.
The company attributes its ongoing success to a focus on high quality, performance and delivery. Innovation and diversification are also key, as well as an inclusive, vibrant management style and family working environment.
The company puts a strong emphasis on staff development and boasts a 100 per cent retention rate for apprentices. Managing director Guy Perry began his own career as a tool-making apprentice 38 years ago and says that the training programme which he champions, called Progressing with Perry, must be “Meaningful, not menial”. There are ‘Employee of the Month’ and ‘Employee of the Year’ schemes voted for by staff and annual charity events to raise money for Birmingham’s Children Hospital. Barry, the company’s longest-serving employee, has been with the team for nearly 60 years.
Think Sandwell’s Area Employment Team recently supported the recruitment of more apprentices for the Perry Group. One apprentice joined the graphics department in January, in February one joined the marketing department and another apprentice is set to join the purchasing team. The apprentices are proving invaluable to the business and Guy says A Perry will continue to use the Area Employment Team for future recruitment needs.
“Sandwell Council has played a big part in the company’s resilience because of the way it backs enterprise and independent firms in the area,” he says. “The Black Country is a great place to do business. There’s so much advice and support available to help companies in the area connect, grow and make the most of opportunities. While our business focus may be international, our core values are very much rooted in Cradley Heath.”
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