Brighton Sheet Metal NEWS

BSM Celebrating 100 Years

The South East of England is not known for its manufacturing industry so to find a successful  engineering company in Sussex is unusual, to find a privately owned one more so, to find one celebrating its Centenary must be a record!   For a hundred years Brighton Sheet Metal has been providing sub-contract manufacturing services to a wide range of industries throughout the UK and Europe.

Originally working from premises in the St James' Street/Devonshire Place area of Brighton they existed in a variety of guises before moving to Lower Bevendean in the early sixties and are now one of the leading UK specialists in precision, CNC forming and fabrications for such diverse industries as computer, electronic, telecom, medical, compressors and generators.

Employing in the region of 100 staff they once owned a series of well known local companies including Ranalah Gates, Ranalah Steel Moulds, Engineer's Supplies, Brouralay Tools, Ranalah Architectural Metalwork and at one time employed more than 300 people in premises in Brighton, Hollingbury, Portslade, Newhaven and Wiltshire. Products have included wrought iron gates & balustrading, the Ranalah Wheeling machine, parts for the Isetta "bubble" car,  mud guards for tanks, a range of space heaters, the Nippy rotary dryer.

Changing tastes and technologies resulted in several major restructuring particularly in the late 1980s and again in the mid 90's when the company concentrated its efforts on fabrication work at its Lower Bevendean site, expanding into the old Harrimond factory in 1997.

A review of historic figures shows that the company has tracked the fate of British industry pretty closely a continuous cycle of boom followed by recession ((including a bankruptcy in 1947), the telecom crash of 2000, global competition.   Employment, health and safety and environmental legislation all has been taken in their stride and they have responded to market needs and trends as required:  Direct Line Feed, Just In Time, KanBan stocks, Lean Manufacturing etc.   Providing work to world class companies has kept BSM on its toes in terms of innovation and those visiting cannot but be impressed by the skills and facilities demonstrated by what was once a "back street" business amongst the Victorian slums of east Brighton.

Now equipped with the latest automated cutting and forming equipment, BSM continues to weather the recent recession, global competition, increasing material costs.  Their Managing Director, Bill Taylor believes the reason for their continuing success is a "... willingness to embrace change, a dedicated, skilled and loyal workforce and an ongoing investment programme aimed at lowering costs by increasing productivity, efficiency and skills...".  He also noted that a "...deliberate policy of seeking customers from a wide spectrum of industries has offered a degree of protection in difficult times."    Their nomination for a variety of awards in recent years including Manufacturer of the Year,  Export Growth, Responsible Business, Business Growth demonstrates their constant strive for excellence in all aspects of the business.   Having held ISO accreditation for many years, they achieved the ISO 9000:2008 Quality certification in early 2010.

BSM continues to train a multi-skilled workforce able to react to customers' varied demands and increasingly short lead times, and in 2010 took on three Engineering Apprentices, the first for many years.  This will be a rolling programme reinforcing the need for a multi-skilled workforce able to respond quickly to the ever changing  production demands that are part of synonymous with life at Brighton Sheet Metal.

The company prides itself on the number of long serving employees and over the years has employed many generations of the same local families.   This year marks a milestone for their Technical Sales Director, Malcolm Holman who joined BSM as an Apprentice Toolmaker in late 1960 and therefore is celebrating 50 years with the company.   Malcolm said "50 years have flown by, being a sub-contract company there is never a dull moment, and to see the company still thriving after all these years is very satisfying."

Brighton Sheet Metal is creating a historical record of the past 100 years and would welcome stories, photographs, old literature etc. from former employees and the general public.  It is hoped to arrange a series of events to celebrate this milestone in the early summer.   Any information would be welcomed and can be sent to Jane Young as follows:

By post to Brighton Sheet Metal Ltd., The Hyde Business Park, Auckland Drive, Brighton BN2 4JW

E mail to jane.young@brightonsheetmetal.co.uk

Telephone 01273 602216 Ext 222