Turnock Ltd

Walsall

A Walsall company is finding success in bucking the trend for manufacturing to go overseas. Turnock Ltd., of Walsall, manufacturers of electrical and lighting products for 100 years, are now producing their own superior, cheaper lampholder instead of importing the item from the Far East.

Turnock’s enterprising managing director, Gordon Stone, bought the company in 1998, inheriting its increasing debt and decreasing sales, and set about turning the business around.

A new lampholder was needed for their own products and to sell to other lighting businesses. “The current product was ceramic and imported from China”, says Gordon. “My view was that if we were careful, we could make the product ourselves – in a high-grade industrial plastic, which would prove cheaper and more durable. I felt that having access to a market we should try to keep it. Not only have we been able to do just that but we’ve grown the market too. We have the manufacturing facilities in house so we are able to be very responsive in terms of delivery and this has led to an increase in business.”

Gordon sought assistance from the Advanced Engineering Cluster team to develop a design for the lampholder suitable for production by injection moulding. Using 3D computer aided design (CAD) files, a rapid prototype model was produced, tested on the assembly line and modified to meet production requirements. The Polymer Cluster supplied expertise in moulding techniques through its partner PTL, the Telford-based polymer training organisation.

“We are working on another lampholder design with the Advanced Engineering Cluster team and look forward to continuing the relationship with them”, says Gordon. “Their commitment at the time when we needed practical help with high quality design has helped the business succeed.”

Gordon enjoys competition. “I don’t think we have the right to expect business – we have to get out and earn it”, he says. His drive to ensure the business’ survival has inspired him to look at more than the element of increased profitability. During the last four years the company has taken advantage of the growing trend for innovative town centre Christmas lighting displays to build up a large share of this niche market in the Midlands region. This year Turnock won a bid for Wolverhampton City Council’s Christmas display against its biggest global competitor and the company has been steadily building a portfolio of high-profile customers throughout the UK.

Gordon’s business philosophy is to add value for customers. “We’re not just offering a catalogue of Christmas features”, he says, “we provide a full creative service and are proud of the innovative, bespoke lighting packages we’ve supplied to all our clients.”