A Northumberland engineering business which has been running for thirty years has expanded its contacts and grown its network after receiving specialist support.
Operating from a 6,000 sq. ft warehouse in Berwick, SWP Engineering is a general engineering business which works on a wide variety of maintenance and installation projects for businesses across the North East and further afield.
Bill Parkin set up the business as M&W Engineering back in 1988, before it was rebranded to SWP Engineering and started trading in its current in 2007.
Now, SWP installs and maintains machinery for a diverse range of food and drink manufacturers, as well as working on some specialist projects.
Bill Parkin explained: “Our core business is maintenance and engineering, but we also manufacture specialist equipment for the food industry and have a hardware store. Those are our three main areas.
“We’ve got a big yard area and from the hardware store we sell engineering and safety equipment, as well as general hardware for people in the area.
“We also manufacture bespoke products for people. We supply aluminium and stainless steel for businesses the area and we have an actual shop where we sell tools and we’re hoping to go into e-commerce.”
SWP Engineering is well-established in Northumberland, working with several food businesses in the county as well as some in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
However, in a bid to broaden its client base and grow its network, the company turned to Business Northumberland for some additional support.
“Recently we’ve had some help with business development to help us grow in different areas” Bill explained. “Through Business Northumberland we had some great help from Business Growth & Investment Manager, Lisa Harwood, who supported our application for fully funded exhibition space at SubCon in Birmingham earlier this year.
“We went down there with six other Northumberland based manufacturing businesses. That was very good for us.”
Exhibiting at SubCon, the subcontract manufacturing supply chain show, was beneficial for the business as it allowed SWP Engineering to meet potential clients from all over the country.
Bill said: “Attending SubCon proved to be useful because we met some good business down there and we made some great contacts.
“We’ve got a lot more connections with different companies and we met both contractors and specialist suppliers. We’ve also had some good exposure to potential customers in the area too.”
Now, after growing its network and meeting more national businesses, Bill says the company is looking to expand further, and is even more determined to branch out into ecommerce.
“We’ve got some research and development projects which we’re looking to start, which I can’t say too much about at the minute” he said.
“We’ve also got a finance director working on a part-time basis to do a business plan and financial projection taking us into the future, so things are moving in the right direction.
“The hardware store is expanding and we’re looking at selling to the masses. We’re developing a specialist website for stainless steel fabrication which we want to move into e-commerce as well. The final thing is that we want to expand further into the manufacture and design of new machinery for the food industry.”
Case Study developed in partnership with BQ.