Best, not the biggest is key to Attleborough firm’s success

Big contracts with Marks and Spencer and a new hotel at Stratford are among the work that has helped make 2011 a successful year for manufacturer Multi Fab Ltd (MFL).

The fabrication company – which invested �2.5m in a new factory and custom-made machine in Attleborough last year – has doubled its staff numbers on the shop floor at its south Norfolk base.

The company started in Mildenhall in 1983 where window, door and curtain walling production still takes place. The Attleborough base is used for all sheet metal fabrication. Across the two sites, MFL now employs 57 people, with 35 in Attleborough.

Managing director Simon Gladwin said the key to the firm's success was to be the 'best, not the biggest'.

Recent high profile projects include the supply of aluminium windows doors and curtain walling, plus all the sheet metalwork for a hotel in the heart of Stratford, which will be used to accommodate guests for the Olympics next year. It has also just completed the fa�ade fabrication for the new-look Marks and Spencer store in Norwich.

As well as building the new factory, the firm's new pre-treatment machine on the powder coating line is the only machine in the world which has nine stages, able to pre-treat and therefore powder coat any size of sheet metal from tin cans to cars.

Mr Gladwin said that the investment was paying off already and the firm was optimistic about winning contracts next year.

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'It is competitive, but it is about customer service,' he said. 'That is where we set ourselves apart. We do not go out to win everything and that is where we pride ourselves. We have had customers who have come back to us. They have tried cheaper places but will come back because we are better,' he said.

The firm is looking to expand further and invest just under �500,000 in a new machine next year.

'We need six more people in these (Attleborough) premises,' said Mr Gladwin. 'We are more than confident that with our existing customers we can get more business. That is going to need investment, not only in the people, but software and machines. We are not frightened of that.'

'We have to constantly keep ourselves up with the market. You cannot just have machines and software that stays in place,' he said.

The company increased its turnover from �2.3m last year to �2.7m this year and it predicts an increase to �3.1m next year.

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