Tipton twosome celebrate #madeinsandwell success

AK Valves is a Tipton-based leading supplier of valves, hydraulics, pneumatics and plumbing supplies. Its success is particularly impressive as the company has only been trading since January 2019.

While the business is still young, co-directors Kelly and Andy Newham bring over 25 years experience to their two-person family firm. Instead of working for others, the husband and wife team decided to work for themselves, combining their knowledge and skills to fill a gap in the industry. “We didn’t want to look back later in life and regret not giving it a go,” says Kelly.

AK Valves is based on Brook Street in Tipton, close to where the couple live with their three children. Kelly deals mainly with accounts, sales, marketing and customer service, while Andy is the technical expert, having worked in the sector since he was 17 years old. The Sandwell base has been a huge benefit: “It’s a great central location with easy transport routes for our carrier companies, and accessible for customers and suppliers who come to visit us.”

Kelly and Andy are proud of how they have worked hard to build the business from scratch, taking it from nothing to an established company with worldwide orders within a year. “We’ve been together for over 21 years and luckily communicate and work together really well, using each other’s strengths to manage the everyday running of the business.”

AK Valves now ships all over the UK as well as to the USA, Malaysia, France, Portugal, Vietnam and India. It supplies to consumers, engineers and businesses in a huge range of sectors, including breweries, power plants, manufacturers, swimming pools, the pharmaceutical industry, the automotive industry, the heating industry and the fire protection sector.

While coronavirus has brought unexpected challenges in 2020, AK Valves has been able to help by supplying valves needed for essential hospital maintenance. The company has also added to its product range and launched its very first product catalogue.

Looking to the future, the Newhams are developing their use of social media and using their website’s online store to raise the company’s profile and increase sales. Kelly and Andy plan to keep AK Valves firmly rooted in Sandwell as they expand their product range, customer base and turnover.

#madeinsandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #madeinsandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.