Smith Bullough

After a summer of factory changes, manufacturing additions and an acquisition, Business Manager Malcolm Richardson gets Torque up to speed with Smith Bullough’s latest news.

Non-Standards are our Standard

With more than 150 years’ experience in the manufacturing industry, Smith Bullough is a forger and machinist of non-standard and special fasteners from carbon, alloy, stainless and exotic materials. Back in September, the company acquired Werneth Manufacturing which specialises in precision drilling and “Wedgelock” nylon thread pellets.

Since integrating Werneth’s machines and expertise in to its warehouse, Smith Bullough has expanded the services it can offer to customers, leading to a spike in orders. The precision drilling machinery allows the drilling of holes as small as 0.8mm, while “Wedgelock” technology bolsters the company’s capability of meeting specifically unique and special orders.

In with the new...

Smith Bullough prides itself on quick turnaround and delivery of stocked blanks of special length fasteners, imperial and metric-sized bolts, BSF and BSW threads up to X grade. Its secondary operations include: milling, grinding, cut threading, thread rolling, manual and CNC turning.

That’s not all that’s new to Smith Bullough; the company expanded its manufacturing space by 40% as a result of bringing in Werneth’s additional machinery. Changes in office layout and neat utilisation of space provided significant expansion opportunities for the company. Richardson commented: “We have firm plans for future expansion. The recent changes in our manufacturing capabilities and layout amendments have proven successful.”

The company has also implemented software which identifies, monitors and tracks the progress of products during the manufacturing process. “The new system allows pinpoint recognition of the production cycle at any stage which makes it much easier to see how close a product is to being ready – we can then tell this to the customer and update them on its progress, which improves our relationship with them while making the whole process more efficient and straightforward,” said Richardson.

Smith Bullough recently held several Lean Awareness workshops, in which a specialist was brought in to suggest changes aimed to drive up efficiency and improve practices in the production process. This had a role in influencing the new-and-improved layout changes, as well as the introduction of the product tracking system.

In our modern, purpose-built workshop we employ lean manufacturing principles and are able to utilise both traditional and high-technology techniques to manufacture fasteners to any customer specification.

Continued growth but Brexit looms

According to Richardson, 2018 was an excellent  year for Smith Bullough, putting the company’s turnover at around the £3 million mark for the year. Orders are still abundant, with growth expected to continue throughout this year.

As the uncertainty of Brexit reigns, it’s unclear as to what economical circumstances manufacturers and suppliers alike may find themselves in when March rolls round. Richardson believes it’s a hard task for manufacturers to prepare for Brexit when nobody seems to know what is going to happen:

“Most of our customers are UK-based, with an increasing number of export clients due to prevailing exchange rates and while we have been stocking up as much as we can, it’s always going to be difficult to prepare for something so uncertain.”