Founded by Fred Smith in 1937, the business started out as a coach building enterprise. Over 80 years later, the company is run by its founder’s great grandchildren and still operates its MOT and servicing division from its original premises on Lyng Lane.
However the company has certainly not stood still. As well as diversifying from coaches to trucks, vans, cars and motorbikes, the intervening years have seen the business expand into two other West Bromwich sites. Truck building and repairs take place at its Sams Lane headquarters, where it manufactures a full range of dry freight and refrigerated trucks and vans, and provides specialist paint and repair services for cars as well as commercial vehicles. Its rental operations are based on Kelvin Way, where it manages a fleet of over 300 vehicles for long- and short-term hire.
The company’s HGV repair workshop can cater for any size, make, model or type of commercial vehicle and has carried out repairs on refuse collection vehicles, gully tankers, skip loaders, road sweepers and liquid tanks. The business aims to repair rather than replace and uses recycled parts where possible.
While Fred Smith & Sons is in many ways a traditional family firm, managing director Greg Smith puts the company’s success down to its ability to adapt and diversify. It was one of the first companies to install new specialist HGV repair equipment in the 1990s, and this forward thinking has helped the business achieve significant growth.
“Due to our diverse service range, we can react very quickly to the market, and expand wherever there is a need,” explained Greg. In 2017, the company achieved 24th place on Think Sandwell’s list of the Top 50 fastest growing businesses in the region, with a 13 per cent growth in turnover.
Greg also believes that Sandwell is a great place to do business. “The wide variety of companies within the area means that there are always new opportunities for new customers. It is vital to make and maintain good working relationships with all local businesses, be they suppliers or customers and Sandwell Council really helps us to do that by increasing our visibility within the borough.”
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