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Edition32 The Midlands Leading Business & Lifestyle Publication

AUTO TIME solutions so olut

Tel: 08000 807 809 Email: hello@birminghambusinesspost.co.uk

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Valen Fittings boosts payroll efficiency with biometric solution Valen Fittings, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of specialist butt weld fittings based in Walsall, has replaced its card clocking system with an advanced biometric solution installed by Auto Time Solutions. As a manufacturer employing 80 members of staff, of which 20 employees work night shifts, it is essential for Valen Fittings to have an accurate time and attendance system to ensure an efficient payroll process. For many years Valen Fittings used a conventional magstripe card clocking system to monitor staff time but this was proving inadequate at managing the shift patterns worked by employees and subsequently increased the workload placed on the desks of the company’s payroll staff.

s d r a c t s o P es n i z a g a M

All employee data is instantly relayed to the company server – without the need for human intervention – from which managers can check the arrival time of each employee. By gaining immediate confirmation of staff attendance managers are able to confirm that employees have clocked in and out as scheduled.

TEL 0121 457 4810 EMAIL sales@heronpress.co.uk WEB www.heronpress.co.uk

With the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Jubilee, European football championships, Wimbledon and London Olympics all taking place during the summer in addition to the general school holiday period, businesses could be faced with more requests for time off than normal. James Manning, Business Development Manager at Auto Time Solutions says: “Workforce absence is a constant concern for employers, but one which could peak this year between June and August because of the Jubilee Weekend, Euro 2012 and the London Olympics all taking place within a short period of time. “With people across the UK attending Olympic events and others looking to stay home to watch their favourite sporting events on television, employers could see a significant increase in absences, both planned and unscheduled.” Auto Time’s advanced time and attendance systems can help businesses to significantly reduce the impact of absenteeism by accurately managing staff attendance and complex working patterns.

Having recently extended their premises Valen Fittings saw it as a perfect time to ‘modernise’ their time and attendance system with an advanced biometric solution linked to Auto:Time Express software. When staff now clock in they simply place their hand on a handscan terminal and their identity is verified within seconds. Because the system measures the shape and height of the hand it guarantees that all clocking in transactions are genuine and eliminates buddy punching – the act of people clocking in for one another.

Key-R ings

Employers urged to prepare for ‘Summer of Sickies’

Nigel Genner, Operations Director from Valen Fittings says: “The new biometric system verifies staff identity in seconds so we can see almost instantly which staff are on site at any given time. This has made the administrative process more efficient, resulting in increased cost savings and a more accurate payroll process. “Not only that but the introduction of the biometric system has also improved our compliance to Health and Safety standards as the system is able to automatically generate roll call reports in the event of an on-site emergency.”

Auto Time's workforce management solutions can help you manage your staff more efficiently while reducing administrative burden and operational costs. To experience these benefits for yourself why not take advantage of our exclusive

FREE Proof of Concept trial* ...plus enjoy 12 months free system support with this offer!

AUTO TIME solutions

Call us now on 0121 773 7222 *Subject to terms and conditions. Offer must end 31st May 2012.

or visit www.autotime.co.uk or email sales@autotime.co.uk


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 15:09 Page 3

C O N T E N T S

Birmingham Business Post Welcome to edition 32 of the BBP, showcasing the best in business and comment throughout the region. In this edition James Caan talks about his new book Start Your Business in Seven Days. Points for discussion include the 2012 budget and its general implications for business, and an exploration of alternative sources of business funding for SMEs. The transport industry is reminded of the need to deliver on promises, in order to help growth across the board; we welcome the growth of the “staycation”, and review a superb new Birmingham venue, the Aalto restaurant at the Hotel La Tour. Our next issue will discuss Risk Management for SMEs and the region’s growth despite the so called recession. As always, we will have news from businesses and decision makers throughout the region.

Birmingham Business Post 11 Canalside Office Complex, Lowesmoor Wharf, Worcester WR1 2RR Tel: 08000 807 809 Fax: 01905 726 467 E: hello@birminghambusinesspost.co.uk W: www.birminghambusinesspost.co.uk Publisher: PIL (Europe) Limited Print & Design: Heron Press UK ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Reproduction in whole or part prohibited without permission. Colour transparencies, prints or any pictorial media for this publication are sent at owners risk and whilst every care is taken, neither PIL (Europe) Limited or its agents accept liability for loss or damage. No editorial submissions will be returned unless accompanied by a Self Addressed Envelope.

DISCLAIMER Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that adverts and articles appear correctly, PIL (Europe) Limited cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the contents of this publication. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of its publisher or editor.

Signs Now Subcon 2012 euroLED 2012 IST Lighting Group Ledison Lighting CIPS Sterling Capital Reserve Ltd Ludgate Finance ThinCats Building Services Design Yazzoo MAS Associates Principal Investment Management Franklin Covey SEVEN Collaborative Solutions IMSM Prestige Print and Design Reflection Marketing Surveillance UK The Jennifer Trust Body 2 Soul Mell Square, Solihull Daines and Hathaway PJ Robinson and Son Ltd Mask-arade Bubble Production Ltd Stafford FM Wool Mountain Smart Storage Central Joinery Steve Soult Three Counties Centre Orega The Public Curve Theatre Redditch Golf Club Broadway Casino Hotel La Tour Jurys Inn The Old Hall Country House Holiday Inn Fir Tree Inn Devlin BK International Freight CC Tuning Viezu Technologies Windmill Collection GCA Practical Minds JMS Solar Hadley & Co Hawkstone Properties Discount Builders Mechatherm Eurofilms Auto Time Solutions

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:17 Page 4

targeted carbon footprint but we are saving thousands of pounds on our energy bills and will be benefiting from a £10,080 tax rebate for a number of our signs – the savings are incredible”.

SAVE MONEY, SAVE ENERGY COSTS, SAVE TAX AND SAVE THE PLANET! Signs Now UK – the award winning Sign Business of the Year is working closely with local companies to help reduce their energy bills. In partnership with the world’s leading LED manufacturer Sloan, they can help businesses benefit from reduced energy bills and Enhanced Tax Benefits through the ECA scheme.

LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) have revolutionised energyefficient lighting using on average 20% (or less!) of the energy required to power a traditional filament or energy saving lamp but offering improved luminescence. LED lighting products should last more than 50,000 hours, and with the exceptionally low failure rate, maintenance is virtually eliminated. LED lighting is solid-state and does not have a filament and so is virtually indestructible. LED’S are so efficient and long lasting that you can reasonably expect an illuminated sign to work for over 11 years without any problem. By fitting just one Goodyear Dunlop sign (17.5 metres x 5 metres) Signs Now UK were able to forecast, that over that time an energy saving of 83.9% and a saving on maintenance and repair of £3,343 per annum would be achieved. The energy savings alone reduce the carbon emissions by a massive 25.89 Metric Tonnes.

(Left to Right) Carlo Matarazzo Manager of Signs Now UK and Chris Cheal from Goodyear Dunlop. The ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowance) Scheme is a key part of the UK government’s programme to manage climate change. It is managed by the Carbon Trust (www.carbontrust.co.uk) and was introduced in 2001 to encourage businesses to invest in the latest energy saving technology. The scheme provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for investment in equipment that meets published energy saving criteria, and allows the full cost of an investment in designated energy saving equipment to be written off against the taxable profits of the period in which the investment is made. GOODYEAR DUNLOP Signs Now UK have been working closely with Goodyear Dunlop the world’s leading tyre manufacturer who are a global presence, with sites worldwide, and main offices based here at sites across the West Midlands. Goodyear Dunlop is very excited by the potential to not only reduce their carbon footprint, but also their huge energy bills, by the introduction of LED technology. The substantial tax rebates are extremely attractive too. Chris Cheal, Facilities Manager and Energy Saving Expert for Goodyear Dunlop, says “Not only are we reducing our

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The initial investment to fit this sign with LED’s was established at £16,890 (it is a very big sign and challenging to reach). However the taxman looks very favourably on this type of green


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:17 Page 5

investment and offers a 100% tax allowance, thanks to the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, with the result that the payback time for this one sign is only just over 12 months! Signs Now UK have put together an impressive team with the help & guidance from the Robert Horne Group – the supplier of choice for the Sloan LEDs, to ensure that clients get the maximum savings and benefits from the use of Sloan LED Technology. As part of their proposal they offer a unique system which consists of Energy Saving, ECA calculations and total annual savings.

For further information about Signs Now UK please

Visit: www.signsnow.co.uk if you would like to know more about Sloan LED’s then please contact

The Sloan LED Company design and develop high-reliability lighting products. They are the pioneer in Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. The company is a leader in the development and application of LEDs, serving many commercial, industrial and high-tech industries. By combining over 50 years of lighting experience with ISO 9001 quality recognition, and strong warranties. Sloan LED is dedicated to providing the best LEDs, the best support and the best results and has recently been chosen as the world’s greatest LED company.

Carlo Matarazzo on 01902 791 201 / 07814 939 134 or carlo@signsnow.co.uk for further information and a full cost proposal on your energy saving and ECA benefit calculation.

www.signsnow.co.uk

So if you are reading this article and your organisation uses illuminated signage of any sort then you should seriously think about replacing your fluorescent tubes with new Sloan LED technology.

Signs Now the UK’s awarding winning sign supplier, can save you money on your energy bills save you tax and save the planet ...

Signs Now, Vision House Calibre Industrial Park, Laches Close Four Ashes, Wolverhampton WV10 7DZ Tel: 01902 791201 www.signsnow.co.uk

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:18 Page 6

UK manufacturers take on the supply chain challenge

sophisticated. Today’s supply chain managers want to be able to source a complete package of work from one supplier – a onestop-shop – which may either have an integrated in-house operation or manage a series of sub-suppliers. The customer has just one point of contact, one supplier to audit and one invoice to pay. And more and more of these suppliers also offer design and development services too.

This year’s Subcon exhibition on 12 to 14 June at the NEC, Birmingham, will showcase a subcontract and contract manufacturing sector that is set for further growth. Research commissioned by the event’s organisers shows that not only will the volume of work grow in the coming year, but OEMs and higher tier suppliers are continuing to take a more strategic approach to the long-term outsourcing of their production. Almost 90% of the companies surveyed said they planned to increase or maintain their level of subcontracting over the next three years and 36% had brought work that had previously been sourced in low-cost countries back to the UK. Subcon’s focus is on the companies that provide manufacturing services to higher tier manufacturers and OEMs. Whereas with the primes and OEMs their intellectual property is in the product and the brands, the intellectual property of the subcontractors in tiers two, three and four lies in the processes they offer and their ability to deliver high-quality components to the precision requirements of the customer. Rather than just ‘filling in the gaps’ when the customer needs extra capacity, subcontract manufacturing has evolved to the stage where it has become a central part of the manufacturing strategies of most large manufacturers.

Again, Subcon’s growth illustrates these trends. The number of companies offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ service has nearly trebled – with over a third of them also offering design and prototype services. Subcon Exhibition Manager Jon Clark says: “I think that the UK subcontract manufacturing sector has only just begun to show what it is capable of. I expect to see further dramatic growth in the next five years – and Subcon will continue to be the industry forum for all that is best in the contract, subcontract and tier2/3 manufacturing sector.” To find out more and register for your free ticket please visit

www.subconshow.co.uk

More and more OEMs are finding that using a third party manufacturer brings a multitude of benefits, not least the ability to respond flexibly in volatile markets. It allows rapid increases in output without the need for capital investment or recruitment, and can be shut down just as quickly. It gives access to technology and expertise that economies of scale would not allow to be brought in-house and it puts manufacturing in the hands of the experts who know how to get the most out of their processes.

12-14 JUNE NEC BIRMINGHAM The UK’s Contract Manufacturing and Technology Show

O Discover the latest technology O Meet world class suppliers O Get instant quotes O Attend FREE seminars

The increasing reliance on subcontractors has been clear in the growth of the Subcon exhibition – between 2007 and 2011 the number of exhibitors increased by 91% and the number of visitors by 94%. It is not just the volume of subcontracting that has grown, the demands being made on subcontractors have become more

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Register FREE at www.subconshow.co.uk HEADLINE SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS

TRADE PARTNERS


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:18 Page 7

euroLED 2O12 TM

Hear and Meet Lighting’s innovators at euroLED 2012 euroLED 2012 - 13th & 14th June 2012, NEC Birmingham The highlight of the global Solid-State Lighting calendar, the euroLED 2012 exhibition, organised by Birmingham Science Park Aston, will provide a unique opportunity for organisations to penetrate, expand and understand European and global LED and Solid State lighting markets through an extensive exhibition of products, LED technology services and unrivalled networking opportunities. euroLED 2012 is the ideal place to liaise with a vast number of specialists, and to catch up on all the latest in LED and Solid State Lighting industry developments. Now in its 9th year, the exhibition is moving from the Ricoh arena in Coventry to the greater capacity and accessibility of the NEC in Birmingham, putting the exhibition in the heart of the Midlands where it belongs. This major event will consist of an exhibition with over 120 stands, showcasing all the latest technology and applications in the fast developing world of LEDs and Solid State lighting, and include a high profile technology conference and a superb gala dinner on the first evening. The complete euroLED show experience will provide attendees with a vast level of valuable information, great potential for debate and discussion, and unrivalled networking opportunities.

The whole LED and solid state lighting supply chain will be exhibiting at euroLED, including Arrow Electronics, Avago Technologies, Carclo, Cree, Forge Europa, Konica Minolta, Osram, and Harvard Engineering. UL, Sunpower, and purEco LED will be joining this prestigious group for the first time, thus creating an exceptional opportunity for delegates to gain an overview of the industry. A lot of interest and excitement always surrounds the Innovation pavilion which features the latest SMEs, and start up companies. This is also where the universities are to be found with some of the freshest thinking to stretch the parameters of LED technology. The technical conference will contain over 20 presentations from international market leaders such as Nichia, Phillips, Osram, and GE Lighting. The Lighting Industry Association will be hosting free one day seminars, but with only limited space available it is important to register your interest as soon as possible.

If your company either uses or produces LED or Solid State lighting technology, this is the must visit exhibition of the year. For more information, register or to book tickets, please contact Michelle Cleaver

T: +44 (0)121 250 3515 E: info@euroled.org.uk

TAKING PLACE ON 13th & 14th JUNE 2012 AT THE NEC, BIRMINGHAM, UK

EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF LEDS: s.ETWORKWITHGLOBALDECISIONMAKERS FROMTHE,%$INDUSTRY s$ISCOVERTHEWHOLE,%$SUPPLYCHAIN ONTHEEXHIBITIONmOOR s'AININSIGHTFROMINTERNATIONALMARKET LEADERSINCLUDING.ICHIA 0HILIPS /SRAM '%,IGHTINGATTHETECHNICALCONFERENCE

Register Now For euroLED 2012: WWWEURO,%$ORGUK

Exhibitors from 30 countries will be showing their products at the exhibition which anticipates an attendance of over 2,000 visitors. The majority of exhibitors, approximately 60%, will be from the UK, with the balance made up mainly from Europe and Asia. Visitors will have the opportunity to network with the major players in the LED industry, and gain valuable technological information about the latest developments in their marketplace. Visitors and exhibitors to euroLED are representative of a broad spectrum of roles from manufacturers to distributors, retailers to R&D specialists. Most of the visitors to euroLED are senior decision makers, and at least 85% are be involved in procurement.

Contact Us: WWWEURO,%$ORGUK 4WITTER EURO,%$ ,INKED)NEURO,%$ 4   %INFO EURO,%$ORGUK

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:19 Page 8

LLeaders eaderss in LED ligh lighting hting solutio solutions ons We’ve ccome We’ve ome a long w way ay sinc since e flick flickering ering was way lighten flame w as the only w ay tto o ligh ten a nightt - but as ener energy prices dark nigh g pric gy es rocket rocket and global minds concentrate concen ntrate on g green reen issues ting th at is destined tto o issues,, it is LED ligh lighting that illumina te the years years ahead. ahead d. illuminate have significant TThe he last tten en yyears ears ha ve seen n such sig nificant investment in vestment in LED (light emitting diode) D eoff A rchenhold Drr G Geoff Archenhold coree technology cor technology that it is now now one of the artificial sources most efficient ar tificial light sour ces aavailable, vailable, perfect per fect for fo or just about every ever y kind kind of lamp technology technology aavailable. vailable. Geoff Archenhold Archenhold knows knows their potential potential exactly, exactly, not just for fo o domestic and or Dr Geoff commercial budgets but, ultimately u ultimat ely the planet - he heads up LE D lighting fixture fixture commercial LED designer manufacturer (IST),),) based Aldridge. designer and manufac turerr IIntegrated ntegrated SSystem ystem TTechnologies echnologies (IST b in Aldr idge. “Just the the tube tube of of the the most most efficient efficient fluorescent fluorescent lamp lamp is is about about 105 105 lumens lumens per p er “Just watt (light (light o utput p er eelectrical lectrical w att) w hile tthe he llatest atest LLEDs EDs ccan an g et tto oa b out watt output per watt) while get about 135,” he he explains. explains. 135,”

Now Archenhold No w Dr Ar chenho old is kkeen een tto o eevolve volve the consumer side of the business - and see it companyy within the nex nextt fifiv fivee yyears. become a £100 m million global compan ears. expanding says. good ““We’re We’re expa nding g very verry rrapidly,” apidlly,” he sa ys. ““We’re We’re a go od old-fashioned old-ffashioned business in wee ma manufacture and are byy a any bank high ttechnology; echnologyy; w nuffacture in the UK a nd a re not n rrestricted estricted b ny ba nk o verdraft or loa n n. overdraft loan. ““We We a re gr owing g our turno ver b etween 50 a nd 100% % a yyear ear a nd have have been been are growing turnover between and and profitable sincee 2008 b byy mak making pr ofitable sinc king high qu alitty pr oducts at a good good pric ess, allo wing us quality products prices, allowing tto o in vest ev errythiing back in the company.” company.” invest everything An yone look ing to to find out more more about LED Anyone looking benefits should g i e IST a call iv give call.. ““We’re We’re ha ppy tto o in vite p eople tto o se happy invite people seee the ffacility acilitty a nd d manufacturing manuffacturing process process and a nd demonstr atte our products,” productss,” sa ys Dr and demonstrate says Ar chenhold. “Or visit our ne wly upg raded Archenhold. newly upgraded w ebsite wher o can do ou wnload pr oduct website wheree yyou download product info ormation. Giv information. Givee us a call call..

Trimless T rimless LED MR16 Replacement Replacement

each ab a out 220 lumens “By 2020 they will rreach about per watt, wattt, so twice twice as efficient efficcient as the most per fluorescent tubes. tubes. efficient fluorescent “If fluorescent tubes “If you you replace replace yyour our fluor e ent tub esc es with the best best LED technology technology ttoday oday the payback can advanced can be be quite quite quick if ad dvanced ccontrols ontrols are however byy 2020 yyou’ll are implemented, implemented, ho wevver e b ou’ll get an an immediate immediate 50% rreduction eduction in your your energy enerrgy costs.” costs.” Do Do you you use halogen MR16 M lights? Dr eplacemen e t Replacement Archenhold says says one has the efficienc Archenhold efficiencyy of LED MR16 R only about 20 lumens per watt w - rreplace eplace that top range LED version, version, such as those produced produced by by IST an nd yyou’ll ou’ll ha ve an with a top and have energy saving energy sa ving of up tto o 80% % instantly. instantly. There’s even even mor “If you you were were buying a new MR16 MR R16 fixture fixture you’d you’d There’s moree benefit, he adds adds.. “If probablly pay ab out £12-1 15 for the tr aditional light source source then n about about £2.50 tto o probably about £12-15 traditional replac l e the th lamp l mp every la everry so often. offt ften. replace “With an an LLED ED iit’s t’s a bout a £ 30 o utlay b ut yyou ou d on’t h ave tto o rreplace epla ace tthe he llight ight ssource. ource. “With about £30 outlay but don’t have Most people people stay stayy in in ttheir heir houses houses ffor or about about 20 20 years years and and they’ll they’ll last last tthat hat llong.” ong.” Most

Light Fantastic Q

High quality, cost effective LED lighting

Q

Hotel, office/commercial, retail, outdoor, architectural and domestic applications

Reduce your lighting energy bills by up to 80%

But, he he warns, warns, don’t don’t be be tempted tempted b ow-cost aalternatives lternatives flflooding ooding iin n ffrom rom A sia. ““They They But, byy llow-cost Asia. usse lower lower quality quality LEDs LEDs w hich fail fail quicker quicker and and if if you you buy buy 20 20 they they won’t won’t all alll be be the the use which same co olour. By By contrast, contrast, we we have have a process proceess that that ensures ensures they they all all look look the the same.” same.” same colour. With the future future energy energy supply s concerns dar kening, LEDs ar e, Dr Ar chenhold With concerns darkening, are, Archenhold emphasises, the way way ahead. ahead d. emphasises, He likens likens tthe he ccurrent urrent market market to to a gold gold rush, rush, with with the the industry industry rushing rushing tto o llaunch aunch a He myriad many myriad of of products, products, but but with with m any llacking acking tthe he ccorrect orrect sskill kill sset, et, ccompanies ompanies aare re tturning urning to manufactured, quality products. to the the experts experts to to provide provide well-designed, well-designed, eeasily asily m anufactured, q uality p roducts. eallly good good p o osition b ecause w e’ve b een dev elopin ng LED pr oducts “IST is in a rreally position because we’ve been developing products well over over ten ten years, yearss, and and d have have a group group of engine ers who full ly understa nd the for well engineers fully understand technologyy,” he says. says. technology,”

D E S I G N E D A N D M A N U FA C T U R E D I N T H E U K

T: +44(0)1922 457712

www.SerenityLighting.co.uk

You Y ou can rreach ea ach IST on 01922 2 457712 457712.. T The he w website e ebsit e is w www.istl.com ww.isttl.com 8


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:19 Page 9

“Our customer will save 60% of the electricity bill for lighting that is an equivalent of £90k per annum,” reveals Stefanos. It’s not just the financial benefits of LED lighting that have him convinced that it’s the way ahead.

COVENTRY’S Ledison Lighting is quite literally, shining a light on how we’ll be illuminating our lives in years to come. Owner Stefanos Kandilidis is in no doubt that LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are the future of lighting and he and his team are dedicated to making the transformation to this technology from the more conventional sources easy and affordable. The successful online business supplies quality LED lighting for domestic and commercial use and prides itself on only using the best, through its own product range - Ledison - which is manufactured under strict quality control procedures.

“They’ve been around for many years but, in the past, were confined to mundane applications such as small blinking lights often seen on electronic equipment,” he says. “Recent developments have led to better efficiency, increased power output and more generally acceptable light quality, resulting in a new lights for domestic and commercial use.” Ledison is a trade name of Voltacon UK Ltd, a company focused on the design and development of cutting-edge power conversion projects, such as solar, wind, and hydro, however, the company is also the official distributor for some of the industry’s award-winning manufacturers, such as Lemnis Lighting (Netherland) and Ledon (Austria-UK). Furthermore, warranties are also available to everyone who purchases LED tube lights directly through the company.

In a nutshell, he concludes, use an LED light and it’ll last five times as long for less maintenance costs, be safer to use and simpler to dispose, provide a bright, white flicker-free light, reduce your carbon footprint and save an extra 60% more than ‘energy saving’ tubes. “They will pay for themselves in as little as two years from energy savings alone,” Stefanos points out. “It’s the best investment for your home and business.” As more and more of us look to reduce our carbon footprint, cut our energy consumption and reduce our fuel bills, LED lighting looks set to be the illumination of choice for everyone.

“We can provide you with a variety of innovative energy efficient, economical LED bulbs and tubes, the complete range, in fact, which also includes bulbs and spotlights, candles and floodlights,” says Stefanos. “One of our key, unique, services is bringing customised solutions to meet the requirements of specific applications.” It’s that flexibility for clients’ specific requirements that has led to much demand for Ledison Lighting’s expertise - it’s most recent success involves retrofiting 3,600 T8 LED tubes in a Birmingham factory where automotive parts for one of the UK’s biggest car companies are manufactured.

For more details about the products and services available from Ledison Lighting Visit: www.ledison-led-lights.co.uk Call: 07795 436 749 / 02476 550 216 Email: sales@ledison-led-lights.co.uk 5 Argosy Court | Scimitar Way | Whitley Business Park Coventry | CV3 4GA

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:19 Page 10

CIPS

Paul Simlett, Unipart Expert Practices said “supporting CIPS is important to raise the profile of what UEP has to offer in terms of our expertise in Procurement & Supply Chain to the external marketplace and for UEP to give something back to the profession in terms of education and knowledge sharing’’

Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply

Respecting the past, Building the future The Chartered Institute of Purchasing (CIPS) Birmingham branch reaffirmed its commitment to support CIPS members and the local business and education community at a recent event to celebrate its 80th anniversary.

Chamber Business Training with CIPS CEO David Noble Antony Meek, NextiraOne said “we took the decision to sponsor this event to promote ourselves in the region. We are not a well known brand around the midlands and we are looking to change that. This is a great opportunity to do that’’ Ian O’Donnell, Real Point Design (official designers of the event presentation display) said “as the Chairman of the FSB we are keen to engage with large companies to ensure they consider small / medium businesses. Supporting these events is a good way to do that’’

Unipart Expert Practices and CIPS CEO David Noble Held at the Birmingham Council House, the branch were proud to celebrate its’ achievement as the longest-serving branch in the CIPS network. Branch Chairman, Susan Randall said “we plan to continue growing our 800-strong membership by building strong links with education providers and businesses in the region – we are contributing in times of recession’’

Christine Lambe, Chamber Business Training said that branch events ‘’ are a fantastic opportunity to showcase what we do and how we work with the branch. I have to say, this is one of the best branch event I have ever attended’’

Effective Purchasing with CIPS CEO David Noble

NextiraOne and CIPS CEO David Noble The event attracted over 125 people, with speakers including CIPS CEO David Noble, Birmingham City Council Chief Executive Stephen Hughes, and Managing Director of diamond drilling company D-Drill Julie White, who won Vitalise Business Woman of the Year in 2011. Commenting on the benefits of branch activities for CIPS members, Birmingham City Council’s Head of Procurement Nigel Kletz said “It is often their only connection with other procurement professionals. It allows them to network, share experiences and learning, and see how things are done in other sectors. Outside of this, there are limited ways in which people can gain that kind of experience.”

Geoff Roberts, Effective Purchasing said ‘’I didn’t hesitate to come forward as a sponsor. I have already met with someone who is a regular visitor to other branch events and he is very impressed with the Birmingham branch’’ The event was also an opportunity to honour past branch Chairman and showcase memorabilia through the 80 years. It is the local volunteers from the Procurement and Education profession and valued CIPS members that have successfully kept the Birmingham branch alive and kicking. Ken Davis, a longstanding member of the branch said ‘’It has been great being part of the Birmingham branch. Over the years I have attended many events whereby I meet different people with different experience from different markets and also events like this whereby it is high profile’’ LONG MAY THIS CONTINUE! Special thanks are extended to the Birmingham branch committee. Joanne Prosser, Mercy Mashem, Muddassir Ahmed, Melanie Halstead (Communications Officer), Susan Randall (Chairman), Barbara Afford (Secretary), Alison Churchill, Lloyd Scott, Janice Allen (Education Liaison Officer) All photography by James Halstead Photography.

Real Point Design and CIPS CEO David Noble The event was supported by six Midlands sponsors representing large and small/medium organisations from diverse sectors. Chamber Business Training, Unipart Expert Practices, Nextira One, Real Point Design, Effective Purchasing and Investors in Excellence all value the contribution of CIPS at branch level.

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Call 777

01780

756

CIPS UK Easton House, Church Street Easton on the Hill Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 3NZ For further information Visit: www.cips.org Email: birmingham@cipsbranch.org

Linkedin Group: CIPS Birmingham Branch


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:19 Page 11

funding *SV&YWMRIWW

Business Confidence is boosted by Government Measures to Improve Financing and to support Sources of Alternative Finance for Small to Medium Businesses. Confidence levels among small businesses have improved despite rising overheads and problems accessing finance. In a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses of more than 3,000 of its members, confidence was shown to be recovering, with many of the companies polled reporting plans for growth in the 12 months ahead. The survey found, however, continuing concerns about the cost and availability of finance. More than one in five firms cites access to finance as a major barrier to growth, with 41% of loan applicants being refused. This is an issue the government is seeking to address, through the expansion of schemes designed to stimulate alternatives to bank finance which will benefit small to medium size businesses.

The government has upgraded the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), in which the Government acts as a guarantor on bank lending to small businesses, by increasing the guarantee on 13 % of banks total lending to 20%. They have also extended funding to the Business Finance Partnership (BFP), which operates beside pension and insurance funds, by 20% to £1.2bn. The idea is to encourage a UK market for private lending by these funds, with the Treasury matching the sums that the fund managers have raised. As part of the scheme £100m will be allocated to non-bank sources of finance aimed at smaller companies, such as 'peer to peer' lenders, who facilitate lending directly between borrowers and investors. Peer to peer lenders such as Thin Cats and the Funding Circle are an online marketplace where

real people lend to UK businesses. The scheme is based on the person to person lending model established by Zopa, Quakle and Ratesetter but rather than financing individuals, the loans are to businesses. Businesses get fast access to finance to continue growing their business, and lenders get good returns on their money. Borrowers are carefully screened beforehand, and in the case of Thin Cats have to be proposed by a business “sponsor”. By cutting out the high costs and complexity of banks both sides are better off.

CUS TOME R SOLUTIONS The government has upgraded the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), in which the Government acts as a guarantor on bank lending to small businesses

They have also extended funding to the Business Finance

An independent task force on non bank lending, chaired by Tim Breedon, CEO of Legal & General, which was commissioned by the government to look at alternative sources of funding reported that while bank lending is by far the predominate source of external funding there is considerable scope to develop the supply of non bank lending in line with the US model. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “We need to reshape the UK’s finance landscape to better serve the needs of ordinary businesses, helping more companies find the support they need to start and grow. “Tim Breedon’s taskforce has brought together industry, investors and advisers to provide evidence and ideas on increasing the range of finance sources available to small businesses. I thank them for their hard work and detailed recommendations, and I hope this will represent a turning point in business finance in this country.”

Partnership (BFP)

As part of the scheme £100m will be allocated to non-bank sources of finance aimed at smaller companies, such as 'peer to peer' lenders

VISIT www.thincats.com www.fundingcircle.com www.hm-treasury.gov.uk www.bis.gov.uk/efg

The Government will review the recommendations presented by the taskforce and announce its response shortly.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:20 Page 12

decision on how much to lend and at what rates, so only proposals from the most reputable and professional sponsors are likely to succeed. David concludes: “We arrange finance for a wide range of projects, including commercial mortgages, asset finance, cash flow finance, development finance and mezzanine finance for businesses across the UK.

STERLING

“Our clients vary from small family businesses up to large multinationals and our flexible approach and contacts across the industry mean that our deals range from as little as £50,000 into the millions.”

Capital Reserve Ltd

Sterling Capital Reserve Ltd was one of over 150 companies exhibiting at Business 2012 at London’s 02 arena, at the end of March. The event was the largest Business to Business show held in the UK, with over 26,000 companies attending to hear from speakers that included Lord Sugar, Sir Richard Branson and James Caan. Sterling was especially proud to be part of this event as they sourced the funding to put the show together through their contacts as one of the largest and most respected commercial finance brokerages in the Midlands.

David Griffiths

When David Griffiths, a Chartered Accountant by background, founded Sterling Capital Reserve in 1999, it was in response to a perceived need for commercial funding to fill the gaps left by the banks. David explains: “Although Project Merlin was drawn up in agreement with the high street banks, and designed to help small businesses, it is still falling short of its targets. Many banks only comply with the letter but not the spirit of the agreement. Even when finance is made available, the terms make the loan repayments prohibitive. “Sometimes a loan will be offered, but only on the condition that the company’s existing borrowing is rolled up into one new loan, at an interest rate far higher than the original one. Also, not every bank complies with best practice and suggests alternative lenders as they are required to do. “Perfectly viable businesses in the UK have been stalling for lack of capital and need the help of a properly constructed professional commercial finance brokerage.” Although Sterling does work with a number of high street banks, they have developed excellent relationships across the board with providers of alternative sources of funding, acting as sponsors for loans through panels of individual private lenders such as the Funding Circle and Thin Cats. As sponsors they use their experience and judgement to assess the risk, put a proposal together and submit it to the panel. The panel takes account of the sponsor’s opinion when making a

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Please visit their web site

www.sterlingcapitalreserve.co.uk or telephone 0115 984 9800 Sterling House 10 Wheatcroft Business Park Landmere Lane Edwalton Nottingham NG12 4DG


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:20 Page 13

“We saw the potential in Red Advertising and knew it was a business with a bright future but, unfortunately, banks do not always seem to understand the value in non-tangible assets such as intellectual property. They are used to dealing with bricks and mortar as security and so these traditional sources of funding are often closed to companies in industries involving high technology and software, like Red Advertising.

Where do you go when the banks don’t want to know? The challenges businesses face in sourcing finance are never far from the headlines these days, with stories like recent Bank of England figures – showing that high street banks fell £1.1 billion short of their small business lending target in 2011 – attracting widespread coverage. Funding may be difficult to come by, but accessing the right finance at the right time remains crucial to business growth and survival. So when a business can’t move forward because it can’t source bank funding, what’s the alternative?

Red Advertising-From Left Steve Grice (Ludgate Finance), Richard Clarke (red Advertising), Kevin Caley (Thincats) “Alongside our access to ThinCats, we offer a finance health check service for businesses that want to review their current funding arrangements with a view to restructuring these more effectively or to finding additional sources of finance. “We have also helped a number of clients to make successful applications to online loans marketplace Funding Circle, which offers loans ranging from £5,000 up to £250,000 to limited companies and limited liability partnerships, on a secured, unsecured or large asset finance loan basis.

Steve Grice of Ludgate Finance at the Willenhall office Ludgate Finance, which has offices in Wolverhampton, Coventry and Birmingham, provides a range of business finance services, working with businesses who approach the firm directly and those introduced by professional advisors, such as accountants. Ludgate’s services include a recognised specialism in non-bank lending and business development manager Steve Grice, based at the firm’s office in Gipsy Lane, Willenhall, explains: “Non-bank finance is now widely recognised as an effective commercial finance option, particularly for smaller businesses.

“Our knowledge of Funding Circle criteria and processes means we can add real value to the application process and enhance the likelihood that a bid will be successful. “Non-bank finance is already an established option and we anticipate that it will become increasingly attractive to business borrowers. At Ludgate, we’re always monitoring the funding landscape to assess new non-bank lenders entering the market, in order to provide the best fundraising and advisory service to our clients.”

“Benefits include a faster, case-by-case decision-making process – refreshingly similar, in fact, to the way that old-fashioned bank managers used to individually evaluate applications – and less stringent terms and conditions attached to loans.

The Ludgate Team-From left-Steve Grice, David Grocott, Richard Mason “Among the non-bank finance routes we offer is the Business Loan Network, or ThinCats which brings together private investors in syndicates to make loans to individual businesses. Borrowers can take out loans of between £50,000 and £1 million, at fixed competitive rates, for periods ranging from six months to five years. “Businesses that want to take this route are required to work with sponsors, who carry out due diligence, structure the proposal and present the opportunity to the lenders and we are an accredited ThinCats sponsor. “Our recent ThinCats projects include a £150,000 investment, which we secured to support the growth plans of Cannock-based online job advertiser Red Advertising. Six major high street banks had turned Red Advertising down for finance but we were able to structure a deal for the company in less than five weeks.

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ThinCats.com Business Loan Network Ltd Every time we open a newspaper, switch on the television or listen to the radio, the main topic seems to be money; interest rates, banks, inflation, pensions. If you have some money to invest, what will achieve the best return? If your business needs money, where will you find it at a reasonable rate of interest? Such questions are dominating the business and financial sectors. Banks are failing to meet the targets set by the government under Project Merlin. Small and start up companies, even with excellent business plans are struggling to finance their projects, while even proven businesses are finding that the banks are reluctant to release funding. The economy is stalling for lack of investment while investors are standing ready to do business and looking for suitable prospects.

with which to establish the business and at the same time find 10 founder investors who were also interested in making loans through ThinCats. The founder shareholders are therefore particularly interested in the way the business develops, have a range of skills and experiences to bring to the project and most are active lenders. All three founders are all particularly skilled at project management and share a philosophy of avoiding unnecessary costs; an approach which is disappointingly rare in the financial services industry. This is an exciting approach where lenders make their own investment decisions and set their own interest rates, and how much they would like to lend. Borrowers ask for the loans they need ranging from ÂŁ50k and ÂŁ1million for periods ranging from a few months to 5 years and by bypassing the banks both lender and borrower get an attractive deal. The format is a breath of fresh air blowing through the investment markets, where it has become extremely difficult to manage an investment portfolio satisfactorily, due to very low returns, rising inflation, and the unpredictability of the markets. The concept therefore of setting your own lending criteria and choosing from a range of secured investments is especially attractive to the experienced investor.

The Business Loan Network Founders (L-R) Paul Meier, Kevin Caley, Peter Brown Midlands direct lending group, ThinCats.com, is helping to bridge the gap, offering high quality secured lending opportunities for experienced investors. They are an on-line market for secured business loans, and operate throughout the UK, linking experienced investors with established business borrowers to provide a serious alternative to high street banks. Part of The Business Loan Network, ThinCats.com was established by the successful team that created the Advantage Early Growth Fund (AEGF). Based in Tamworth, the co-founders are Kevin Caley, Paul Meier and Peter Brown, all from the West Midlands. It had become apparent to Kevin Caley, MD of AEGF, and his colleagues, during November 2009, that there was a demand from private investors for lower risk investments that would produce a regular predictable return. Kevin and Paul members of The Claret Club, a group of business angels that meet in Abberley every month, and Paul Meier had access to the technological capabilities to run an on line site and to facilitate business loans by way of auctions and peer to peer lending. By April 2010 the business plan was ready, Kevin, Paul and Peter approached several of their friends and contacts who are experienced business angel investors to raise the equity capital

14

Front Row - Peter Brown, Stuart Le Cornu, David Keene Middle Row - Kevin Caley, Nigel Luckett, Tom Moore Back Row - Paul Meier, Mike Wade


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:21 Page 15

£

For borrowers the availability of loans at competitive rates provides a real shot in the arm, enabling companies to get moving again. There are no penalties or additional costs for early repayment of the loan and so businesses can borrow the maximum they will need and pay of all or part of the loan early if they no longer need the funds. For lenders, ThinCats are offering a different type of low risk, predictable investment which is inherently less volatile than investments linked to financial markets. All ThinCats’ loans are backed by debentures and /or personal guarantees to the same level that a bank manager would require. The borrower’s detailed information pack has been vetted and compiled with the help of an experienced “Sponsor”, who has frequently come from the banking sector. Lenders make their decisions after reviewing the information pack and decide how much they wish to lend and what interest rate they require.

For more information please

Call: 01827 425827 Email: kevin@thincats.com Web: www.thincats.com

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We are proud to be associated with ThinCats and wish them all the best for the new year

Give us a call..

£

you really do have nothing to lose!

£

£

Tel: 0870 700 0214 Fax: 0870 700 0215 Email: mark@bellfinance.co.uk

www.bellfinance.co.uk

www.customark.co.uk

Talk is all very well, but the figures speak for themselves, in the first year of operation the average interest earned by lenders is 10.82%, they have £3.7m under management, and 347 lending members, Individual investments range from £1k to £132k, at an average £7k with 22 completed deals since January 2011 totalling £2.8m.

a

2 Hayes Trading Estate Folkes Road Lye West Midlands DY9 8RG

ThinCats are very keen to establish a reputation for high quality, low risk lending opportunities. Only those applicants that can demonstrate their ability to repay the loan and have good security to offer lenders are likely to be successful. Security is always required but is a secondary consideration

The Barford Exchange Wellesbourne Road Barford Warwickshire CV35 8AQ

Fax 0870 777 3644

Those lenders offering the best interest rates are selected to make up the lending syndicate and get the interest rate they have asked for. ThinCats manages the deal completion including legal documents and security. Without the costs and profit margin of the banks, both borrower and lender get a good deal.

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Whether your business is one week old, just emerged from CVA or in the FTSE 100 we can provide the finance

Tel 0870 777 3645

These are not “soft loans”; the only way that a business can get their loan application featured in an auction is to attract the support of a "Sponsor". Sponsors are generally experienced former bank and corporate finance specialists. They work with the borrower to help them prepare their case. However, these sponsors are risking their hard earned reputations, and will scrupulously check every detail, as lenders will soon recognise those sponsors who have higher standards and better track records.

Bell

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There are no charges or fees and no obligation to lend but investors are expected to have the experience and time needed to study the detailed information provided and make their own investment decisions.

i

Business Finance Asset Finance Business Funding Business Financing

Lending Members take part in an on-line auction to join a lending syndicate for each loan. At the end of the auction the lowest bids needed to make up the loan are accepted and the lenders get the rate of interest they actually offered. The borrower is offered a loan at the weighted average of the accepted bids plus 1.5% to cover operating, deal management and monitoring costs. This class of inherently stable investment provides a regular fixed monthly income with an attractive rate of interest set by the investor. Interest rates have been ranging between 7% and 15% but are likely to settle at around 8-10% as the market develops. ThinCats manages the deal completion including legal documents and security and without the costs and profit margin of the banks, both borrower and lender get a good deal.

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.Specialist Labelling & ID .Thermal Transfer Labelling & Systems .WƌŽŵŽƟŽŶĂůΘŝƐƉůĂLJ'ƌĂƉŚŝĐƐ

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:21 Page 16

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Visit Armstrongs Mill - FREE CAR PARK • RESTAURANT and COFFEE SHOP Middleton Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire DE7 5TT Tel: 0115 932 4913 Open Mon - Fri 9:15 - 5pm, Sat 9:30 - 5:30pm and Sundays 10:30 - 4:30pm

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:21 Page 17

offers as standard. Services cover the complete package of M&E design consultancy services. As well as mechanical, electrical and public health engineering design management, they offer life safety and fire suppression engineering design. They work with architects and professional bodies, contractors and directly with end users. Their diverse client portfolio means that they work across all sectors of the construction industry including housing, offices, schools, factories, business parks, hospitals, sports and leisure and MOD. Their experience within the education sector includes framework agreements from primary and secondary schools, student accommodation to high tech research laboratories and lecture theatres. They strongly believe that their work ethic, investment in staff training and professional development, capital and technology is why their people are so highly motivated to deliver every time. Building Services Design is an independent specialist mechanical and electrical design consultancy. Their primary business is mechanical and electrical services design; they are low carbon consultants, BREEAM assessors, project managers and CDM-C. (Construction Design Management Coordinators)

Contact them to hear some more good reasons to put Birmingham’s expertise and service at the core of your next project.

Building Services Design Suite 323 Fort Dunlop Fort Parkway Birmingham B24 9FD Telephone: 0121 749 3509

Building Services Design is pleased to be associated with Thin Cats.com

They have 6 strategically placed regional offices. The Birmingham office is based in the Grade A listed Fort Dunlop, the landmark building next to the M6 motorway, near to junction 5. The company are M&E design specialists and place great emphasis on understanding what you hope your project will achieve, and realising your aims by the utilisation of their experience and expertise. You can rely on BSD to bring an open and innovative approach to your project and to consult with you every step of the way. Their focus on integrity and mutual respect is why their clients choose to work with them time after time.

Food for thought

A sustainable building starts with a healthy core

Sustainability is at the root of everything BSD does, so they invest in the latest design technology to develop effective, sustainable solutions that have reduced CO2 emissions significantly. Their work has cut the running costs of existing buildings, and new buildings have achieved ‘Excellent’ BREEAM ratings. Their commitment to sustainability means that they operate to ISO 14001. BSD have two qualified BREEAM accredited professionals, two DEC/EPC accredited assessors and accredited Low Carbon Consultants. The group expertise covers low and zero carbon technologies including CHP, solar thermal, wind turbines, photovoltaics, biomass and biofuel, air and ground source heating and cooling. They also offer expertise on water management strategies including rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling and black water treatment. Whatever the project, or market sector, BSD will bring their professional experience to bear. Each office has a strong technical team, and all projects have direct director level oversight and control. Just part of the approach this customer focused company

www.buildingservicesdesign.co.uk

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:21 Page 18

Personalised clothing is a simple and stylish way to establish brand identity, be it for corporate recognition, workwear or sports club identity. Yazzoo print and embroider garments, and are the UK’s leading supplier of custom hoodies to universities; they supply over 80 student unions with club and society hoodies, leavers hoodies and graduation hoodies. Their Cottonridge custom hoodies are the most popular personalised hoodies used in the university marketplace.

efficiency of the order process so that there will be less manual work involved and things will be more automatic. This is personalised clothing made easy. If you’re looking for custom hoodies or printed polo shirts for your club, company or event, then you’ve come to the right place. At Yazzoo you’ll find quality cotton workwear and leisurewear that can be printed or embroidered with a design of your choosing. Whether you want to solidify your company brand, give your sports club livery a smarter edge or put in an order for graduation hoodies, the user-friendly website and affable customer service can have you kitted out in no time. The company’s ethical standards are a point of pride. All their garments are made in factories that do not employ child labour and pay employees a fair rate. They are a leading supplier of Fairtrade custom hoodies or an organic range of clothing should you so wish.

The business started in a small unit in Wolverhampton, one person screen printing, one person packing. Over the years the company has experienced substantial growth and is now based in a factory at Conduit road in Norton Canes, near Cannock. This level of growth required major reorganisation and in order to focus on the customer service aspect of the business they started to outsource the printing and embroidery. The company that ran the printing and embroidery was called Apparel Solutions but once they started outsourcing that, it was decided to start trading through their website www.yazzoo.co.uk. Recognising the popularity of the internet and utilising it to their advantage. Yazzoo.co.uk has built over the past few years and the original director, Richard, is gradually passing more control to his son, Robert. In a nod to the company’s origins they have started doing some printing in house again, but only transfer printing, not screen printing. This side of the business is developing well with companies who outsource their printing calling on their expertise. Yazzoo are investing in this side of the business to turn it into what Rob described as a “well oiled machine.” Rob is very proud of the new website currently under development which will incorporate a system to increase the

18

Rob attributes the company’s growth to excellent customer service, he says “a lot of people come back to us and come to us through referrals, so it’s very important to keep your customer happy. If you’ve messed up a job, do whatever it takes to sort it out”.

For more information, it’s all there on the website

Visit: www.yazzoo.co.uk

Call Us

0154 327 9059


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:22 Page 19

MAS Associates

small and medium-sized owner-managed businesses to become financially sound while minimising the amount of tax they pay.� For many, MAS Associates is proving itself the dream solution to an administrative nightmare as VAT, tax and company secretarial requirements placed on businesses increase. “VAT or tax calculations and returns can be a complex area but our professionally qualified and experienced staff can relieve you of the burden of completing these necessary returns, ensuring that all are completed correctly and accurately. As long as information is provided on time, accounts are guaranteed for completion within 30 days.� says Mervyn.

Chartered Certified Accountants FOR company owners who thrive on the cut and thrust of running a business but balk at a balance sheet, having MAS Associates on board is worth its weight in gold. The family firm of chartered accountants understands how stressful the paperwork side can be for those who want to concentrate on building their business and is firmly focussed on letting them do just that by removing the administrative burden.

Mervyn Sargeant – Senior Partner

Its in-house book-keeping facility helps owners control and manage all aspects of their business and they can also benefit from its other services: accountancy, tax consultancy, VAT, payroll, Registered Office facility, company secretarial services, business acquisitions, mergers and disposals. Unlimited free telephone support, free meetings scheduled to a client’s convenience and advice delivered in straightforward easyto-understand terms also play key roles in MAS Associates’ personal, friendly and professional approach. “We speak to you openly and honestly and will not blind you with jargon,� promises senior partner Mervyn Sargeant. “We want you to feel comfortable to pick up the phone to us whenever you need, for whatever you want and know you'll get good sound, understandable advice. We will work with you in the way that suits you - in person, on the phone or online.�

Trudi Knowles - Accs/Payroll Joanne Hunt – Accs Technician With quality also a byword - the company gained its ACCA ‘Quality Checked’ award last year - MAS Associates is proud to deliver a highly competitive and cost-effective service, that is tailored specifically to individual customers no matter the size of the organisation, and is also relaxed, friendly, efficient and confidential. “We are proud of our excellent client retention record and count many of them among our friends,� Adds Mervyn. “At MAS Associates you will always be more than just another client.�

For further information or to make an enquiry Visit: www.masassociates.co.uk Telephone: 01543 273830

MAS S Associates

Chartered Certified Accountants

;ISJJIVEJYPP] GSQTVILIRWMZI WIVZMGI %GGSYRXMRK&SSOOIITMRK4E]VSPP :%8 8E\EPPYRHIVSRIVSSJ Hannah Shevket – Bookkeeper Steve Denny – Tax Consultant Founded in 1989, this proactive practice with a staff of seven has built itself upon customer recommendation and, today, has clients ranging from sole traders and partnerships through SMEs to larger enterprises. It moved to its current offices at Spear House, Cobbett Road, Burntwood, Staffordshire, just over a year ago and is already looking to expand and acquire an additional local practice. “We specialise in providing an integrated range of services, helping clients realise their potential and achieve their objectives,� says Mervyn.



“As SME specialists, we offer practical ideas and strategies tailored to each company, providing business growth opportunities through marketing, sales and profit optimisation.Our aim is to help

[[[QEWEWWSGMEXIWGSYO 19


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:22 Page 20

PRINCIPAL’S NEW BOND FUND With savings rates at historic lows, interest rates set to remain low for a long period and government bonds providing poor value, one of the most pressing questions for savers and investors is where to find a steady source of income in the current economic environment? Principal Investment Management, one of the UK’s leading investment managers, is in the business of protecting and increasing investors’ wealth, and has just supplied a potentially attractive answer to this question with the launch its new Monthly Income Investment Grade Bond Fund. Principal believes there is currently an excellent strategic investment opportunity in corporate bonds, with company balance sheets the strongest they have been for several years, and the yield enhancement being particularly attractive versus government bonds. This new Fund opens the opportunity to a wider audience, as Principal will not just be offering its best fixed income ideas to clients in their discretionary service, but to outside investors as well. Principal’s Monthly Investment Grade Bond Fund is aimed at investors seeking an attractive and consistent level of income and the potential for capital growth. In line with the company’s cautious approach to investing, the Fund will invest in a portfolio of high quality ‘Investment Grade’ corporate and government bonds, both in the UK and overseas – with specific restrictions on credit quality. The Fund aims to produce a yield of c. 5.5% and an income that can be received monthly or simply reinvested each month. A further attraction is that it can be held in an ISA, investment bond or self invested pension. Not only will it bring a valuable element of diversification in a portfolio with other asset classes, such as equities and property, it also aims to provide enhanced investment returns. Founded in 1987, the Principal Group specialises in providing a range of discretionary management services for clients. It invests in a wide range of asset types and classes, including shares, investment trusts, gilts, unit trusts, hedge funds and cash deposits. The Group manages c. £1.6 billion of assets on behalf of its clients and operates from offices in Bath, Harrogate, Kirkby Lonsdale, London and Sevenoaks.

The Principal Monthly Investment Grade Bond Fund can either be bought from Principal, through its discretionary portfolios, via the Sanlam Portal investment platform or direct from JP Morgan Administration Services.

Lead Manager of the new Fund is Principal’s Head of Fixed Income, Craig Veysey who has 14 years investment experience, and who has been responsible for directly held bond investments at Principal, including the success of its in-house Directly Invested Bond Portfolio, for the past three years. Craig said: “We think our new Fund is unique in the way it combines monthly income provision with Investment Grade Bonds. This underpins Principal’s conservative approach within the sector and our commitment to investing in higher quality securities for investors. This Fund should be among the lowest risk strategic bond funds in the market, enabling investors to meet income requirements not being met by low cash deposit rates. Investment Grade corporate bonds offer a great opportunity for investors. They are particularly attractive at a time when the balance sheets of many developed economy governments are likely to remain under pressure for years to come – and especially in the face of the ongoing eurozone debt crisis.”

PRINCIPAL Investment Management Limited

Bath | Harrogate | Kirkby Lonsdale | London | Sevenoaks

Discretionary investment managers For an investment management specialist who truly understands the needs of private clients and IFAs, please call us for more information. www.principalinvestment.co.uk enquiries@pimltd.co.uk 020 7280 8700

Important information The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.

The views expressed above are based on information which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness by Principal, and any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. This article is for information purposes and should not be treated as advice to buy or sell any particular investment. Principal Investment Management Limited is part of the Sanlam Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Border Asset Management is a trading name of Principal Investment Management Limited. Registered office: 16 South Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1AN. Registered in England and Wales No 2041819

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SWITCHED-ON business people are queuing up to join a new initiative to help them cut through swathes of day-today distractions and information overload to deliver extraordinary results. The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity programme is the latest boost for businesses from FranklinCovey, the global consultancy and training provider whose mission is to enable greatness in people and organisations everywhere. FranklinCovey is probably best known for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People programme, developed by Dr Stephen R. Covey and co-founder of FranklinCovey.

Dr Stephen R Covey FranklinCovey’s Co-Founder & Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Following this world renowned programme FranklinCovey has developed a series of highly successful personal and organisational development programmes covering strategy execution, customer loyalty, leadership and individual effectiveness, which have been delivered to thousands of businesses of all sizes, numerous government entities and educational institutions in over 147 countries.

Launched in the UK at the end of 2011, the 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity programme is a brand new solution from FranklinCovey and it is already generating great feedback and much excitement from all those taking part.

4. To rule the technology - not letting it take charge. 5. To fuel the fire - and not burn out The programme also includes a participant guide, a technical guide with instructions on how to maximize use of platforms such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google Apps and three additional learning CDs featuring toolkits on office organisation, brain health, and goal setting. There’s also the 5Choices website with access to assessments, instructions on how to apply the content to SMART phones, tablets, and web-based applications such as Google Apps The next set of 5Choices programme dates are fixed for March 15 and April 24 and will be held at FranklinCovey’s UK and Ireland Learning Centre, Grimsbury Manor, Grimsbury Green, Banbury.

For further information about the programme, or other training opportunities from FranklinCovey, Visit: www.franklincovey.co.uk Call: 01295 274103 Email: solutions@franklincovey.co.uk

LITT LE BEN.

extraordinary and mediocre is a choice.

In a world filled with opportunities to accomplish extraordinary goals, many are hampered by the demands of their jobs, coupled with the barrage of information arriving through texts, emails, reports, tweets, blogs, web-sites, etc and end up overwhelmed, exhausted and distracted. The result is a threat to the ability to think clearly and make good decisions, thus sinking into a sea of irrelevancy and failure to accomplish the things that matter. By paying attention to the most important things, it’s possible to harness the opportunities and technologies available today and FranklinCovey says its 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity programme will teach participants a process which, when followed, will dramatically increase their ability to achieve life’s most important outcomes. “Backed by science and years of experience, this course will produce a measurable increase in productivity and an inner sense of fulfillment and accomplishment,” says UK marketing manager Michele Stanley. Participants will learn five key choices: 1. To act on the important - rather than reacting to the urgent. 2. To go for the extraordinary - not settle for ordinary. 3. To schedule the big rocks - rather than sorting the gravel.

Launches... The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity OFFICE NIRVANA

5

Be selective, make high-impact choices about where to invest valuable time, attention and energy. attention and energy. Measurably increase your organisation’s productivity with FranklinCovey.

Call 01295 274166 or visit www.franklincovey.co.uk 21


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:23 Page 22

Sean Culey, Chief Executive at SEVEN, said: “Our expertise is in converting business and supply chain opportunity into value adding reality for our customers.

Helping UK Businesses Thrive At the end of our first day with a new customer, we asked him his thoughts. His answer? “I didn’t know what to expect from today, but I certainly never expected you to clearly define how I can put an extra zero on the value of my business!”

SEVEN: “Expect results” A real challenge for many businesses is to stay ‘in control’ of their people, processes, systems and information as they aspire to grow and achieve their ambitions. Unfortunately, in today’s volatile climate, many companies are simply focusing on ‘shrinking to fit’ – surviving through cost cutting. This is effectively selling tomorrow to survive today. The real winners in today’s climate (and they do exist) are those companies that are courageous enough to seek opportunity everywhere; realising that being smarter, not smaller, is the way to go. Significant financial benefit is waiting for those who change their mindset from one of ‘reduce costs’ and into one of ‘being better’. SEVEN Collaborative Solutions Ltd has gained a reputation for helping companies to rapidly identify value opportunities and turn them into quick-wins and efficiency gains. The focus has to be on the customer and this often requires companies modifying the way they view, manage and measure their end-to-end business to become more customer-centric. SEVEN is passionate about helping UK businesses succeed by implementing that which brings tangible business benefit to you and your customers; while remaining aligned to and focused on your business strategy and objectives. 22

We offer independent thought-leading solutions delivered in affordable, structured and achievable plans that can energise and transform your business. The most successful businesses are those that are the most effective – agile, responsive, low cost and able to ‘plan upstream’ activities from suppliers every bit as well as they ‘execute downstream’ activities to customers.” Culey added, “Fit for purpose systems, smart processes, and timely and accurate data are all critical factors in running a successful business; but it’s the people that ultimately make the difference. SEVEN is vastly experienced at coordinating all of these important components and we are confident that we can help make your business more efficient, more effective and most importantly – more profitable.” “Our passion comes from knowing we provide a value adding, cost effective, service to our customers and that we played a part in helping them succeed. And we will never, ever get tired of that.” SEVEN is offering a free, no obligation, initial meeting (or chat) to companies to discuss how we can help you achieve your business aspirations.

Further information is available by Emailing: enquiries@sevencsl.com Visiting: www.sevencsl.com Calling: 0800 298 7293


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:23 Page 23

security incident in 2010. These incidents typically cost the respective businesses between £27,000 and £690,000. This figure is expected to increase and the exposure will cost dearly. A breach of information security can result in other cost areas; crippling fines for the business and in certain cases imprisonment may be levied upon the personnel responsible.

Taking cover

Call: 01793 688990 Email: emmabett@imsm.com Web: www.imsm.com

Easy Target

In a competitive and threatened marketplace an effective Information Security Management System (ISMS) monitors and maintains your business’ information security. The ISMS for any business must protect the three main areas required of it; confidentiality, integrity and availability. ISO/ IEC 27001: 2005 Information Security Management Standard has been designed to ensure the correct and effective implementation, operation, maintaining and improving the business ISMS. ISO/ IEC 27001 is the best way of demonstrating to all concerned that you take the security of all your information seriously.

In the line of fire Your competition has stolen all of your valued customers from under your nose. You lose business. You are forced to fold. Your customers’ contact details are like gold dust to the competition. With ease they can know, straight away, what is being sold, to whom and at what price. Why wouldn’t they want to steal it?

Contact IMSM today on 01793 688990 to arrange a no-obligation meeting with your local Area Manager to discuss your business’ ISMS.

Email: emmabett@imsm.com Web: www.imsm.com

Your information and data resources are one of the most important assets your business holds.

How well is your data protected?

Call: 01793 688990 Email: emmabett@imsm.com Web: www.imsm.com Number 1 target Information and data resources remain a number one target for hackers and cyber criminals; they have a real value in, and from, any marketplace. Hackers and fraudsters are working overtime, over the Internet, to ensure they can break into the known forms of protection available at any time. Information security is a major area critical to the survival of a business. A system that is not secure and maintained with great vigilance is going to be at threat, with catastrophic results. Ultimate loss of reputation and business are the minimum you would expect as a result, a massive cost that most business will never recover from. The fall out From a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) survey; 82% of small and 93% of large companies suffered an information

w ww.i ms m.com

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2xl Commercial Business or property finance is increasingly difficult to find, in the current climate; many lenders are either calling in existing loans or making the availability of new loans increasingly difficult... So maybe your bank manager shouldn’t be your first port of call… Many people are familiar with brokers, utilising them to get the best deal when financing insurance, holidays or mortgages, etc. Increasingly businesses large and small are also turning to brokers to finance their business or projects. 2XL Commercial was set up to fight your corner and act as a broker for multiple lenders. To date we have placed approx £130m of funding, freeing cash for a wide variety of businesses.

assess their requirements and gather the appropriate financial information that a lender would require. After a more formal interview, we complete the credit proposal on behalf of the bank, the application is sent to those lenders with the appropriate funding criteria, formal agreement on the funding is usually achieved with 5 – 7 days. In a recent, fairly typical example, a client approached his bank to fund a Self Administered pension scheme for £500k – The bank quoted Base +5.5% ...yet when approached via 2XL Commercial the same bank quoted Base +3%, a saving of over £300k in interest over the lifetime of the loan. 2XL in your corner can be the crucial difference in a bank approving or declining a case. For more information, to discuss any business funding requirement or to become an introducer to 2xL Commercial contact Darren Willoughby.

Call: 07736 359 413 Email: darren@2XLcommercial.com

www.2xlcommercial.com Accountancy, Tax Planning & Wealth Management

2XL are a useful and effective tool in the bags of numerous professionals such as accountants, solicitors, IFAs, commercial and business agents, all of whom are often consulted about available funding options. At 2XL Commercial during the initial discussion with the client, we

Fitness by women for women, specialist gym, Women Only Workout, or WOW as it’s fast become known, is the brainchild of Gym Instructor Bryony Walters and qualified Nurse and Therapist Sara Beardsley. Bryony and Sara took over an existing gym facility for their new business, and have worked hard to transform the space into something friendlier and more suitable for their clients. The warm, relaxing environment immediately puts members at their ease. This really is a gym with a difference; forget those rows of intimidating machines and complex looking equipment, men and

Bryony and Sara

are pleased to be associated with

2XL Commercial Finance a: 14 Phoenix Park, Telford Way, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3HB t: 01530 833474 f: 01530 812712 w: www.marlow-proactive.co.uk

perspiring Lycra clad bodies. Designed by women, for women, the gym’s entire team is female, giving the business a very special feel. “Many ladies find gyms quite daunting and associate them with people who are already very fit. Bryony and Sarah are very keen to dispel this illusion. They believe getting fit shouldn’t be a chore or time-consuming, it should be convenient and fun, which is why they work closely with each of their members to help achieve their goals, whether it’s losing weight, toning up, improving fitness, or gaining confidence. They also have a beauty room on site offering traditional treatments and a range of holistic therapies like reflexology, body massage, and Hopi ear candling. Unlike most gyms, members are not tied into long contracts, but because they believe members should only pay for services they are actually using and enjoying, membership runs on a rolling month-to-month basis, with no minimum term, that way, there’s no pressure to commit to a costly long-term contract. Members are comfortable just dropping in because there will always be some one to chat to in the gym, making a workout fun rather than a chore. Unit 13 Horton | Court | Telford | TF1 7GY Call: 01952 677101 Visit: www.womenonlyworkout.co.uk

SHROPSHIREVENDINGSERVICES .....delivering promises

DRINKS SNACKS

We are proud to be associated with Woman Only Workout 44 Atcham Business Park Atcham, Shrewsbury SY4 4UG tel 01743 761688 fax 01743 761848 www.shropshirevendingservices.co.uk

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CANS FOOD


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:24 Page 25

the 2012

FYHKIX

+SSH*SV&YWMRIWW# In this Budget the Chancellor pursued the objectives set out in November 2010’s Plan for Growth, part of the Government’s strategy to create a climate in which business could flourish, by removing the barriers that had held back growth in the UK. Their intention is to create the most competitive tax system within the G20; making the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business. The government aims to encourage investment and exports in order to balance the economy.

£77,000 per year will be allowed to change their accounting, from the established accrual method, to a system where tax is calculated on money actually received rather than on forward orders. Giving small businesses, the backbone of the economy, something to actually address some day to day concerns, is widely welcomed. The integration of income tax and national insurance, which was announced in last year's Budget, should also help simplify bookkeeping. While the increase in personal allowances should make more spending power available, hopefully, boosting the retail sector.

Although this budget has made some progress towards these goals, it has received a mixed welcome from businesses. The further reduction in Corporation Tax has been broadly welcomed; the extra one percentage point reduces the rate to 24%, one of the lowest rates among developed economies. George Osborne has indicated further reductions still, 22% by 2014 and ultimately down to 20% - aligning it with the basic rate of income tax and the tax rate levied on small businesses. By making our corporate tax system more internationally competitive, the Chancellor hopes to encourage inward investment, and by attracting businesses to the UK, job creation. However, many business leaders would have preferred the Chancellor to go further, faster. Small businesses get a boost from the simplification of tax systems for small business, changing the way in which they have to calculate their tax payments. From April 2013, companies with sales of up to

It was disappointing that the planned increase in Fuel Duty of 3.02 pence per litre will still take effect on 1st August, driving up costs and hitting the road transport industry particularly hard. The increase signals the government’s determination to pursue its policy of “greening the business fleet”, and means that businesses should seriously consider the carbon foot print of their fleet in order to control costs. The lower tax thresholds for low emission vehicles, and The Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme, a scheme to help local authorities to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, confirm the government’s commitment to reducing emissions.

CUS TOME R SOLUTIONS The governments intention is to create the most competitive tax system within the G20; making the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business

They have also made a further reduction in Corporation Tax

Small businesses get a boost from the simplification of tax systems

VISIT www.decc.gov.uk www.hmrc.gov.uk www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

Our regional airports are very important to the local economies and contribute to jobs and growth. Aviation industry officials fear that increases in Air Passenger Duty, will damage the tourism industry and jeopardise the recovery of the economy as a whole. Only time will tell, if the Chancellor’s strategy will prove to be justified, and if this rather mixed Budget will, in fact, be “Good for Business.”

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On the first of December 2011 Pat Taylor and Paul Paintain came out of their highly successful Prontaprint franchise to become Prestige Print and Design. They are working from the same base, with the same friendly and professional team, offering the same standards of service and quality that made them so successful under the banner of Prontaprint Birmingham Central. Paul and business partner, Pat, have developed the business substantially since first taking over in 1988. “Back then, the centre had just four staff and relied mainly on walk-in business”, Paul explains. “From the very beginning we set out to target the kind of business we really wanted.” The client base increased dramatically due to Pat and Paul’s proactive approach, and soon they were ready to make the next leap. Paul continued “In 1999, we moved to larger commercial premises – a 6,500 sq foot factory unit with all the facilities you would expect from a true commercial printer.” Since then, Pat and Paul have continued to go from strength to strength. They are so busy that production has to run as a 2 shift system over and up to 7 days a week.

The Birmingham based factory/office site is in New Town Row, Birmingham, has on site parking and is conveniently situated for the city centre and the motorway. They produce quality, fast and competitive litho printing, short run colour digital work, creative design, large format posters and display boards, long run black and white photocopying, direct mail and fulfilment, CD duplication, binding and pull up banners and much, much more.

They have successfully produced and delivered world class print requirements to their customers for over 22 years across the globe. In 2010 they gained FSC accreditation and offer all their customers not just a high quality, fast and efficient service, but one using responsibly sourced materials.

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Contact Paul by Email Paul@prestigeprintanddesign.com or call on 0121 359 0880 for a quick, competitive quote, to discuss your next print project, or simply for advice.


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:24 Page 27

Tel: 01543 263377 Email: info@larcuk.com

www.larcuk.com w w w . v c c u t t e r s . c o . u k

Raycanter

Raycanter Print Engineers are proud to support Prestige Print & Design. We would like to wish them every success in their future.

VC Cutters manufacture cutting formes, we can cut a whole host of materials. We also offer an in-house cutting and creasing service from A4 up to a B1 We are proud to support Prestige Print & Design and wish them all the best for the future

print engineers U N I T C U T T E R S

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Unit 4 Redman Business Centre Redman Road Portmarsh Ind. Est. Calne, Wiltshire SN11 9RA

Tel: 01249 811 435 E-mail: info@raycanter.co.uk

www.raycanterparts.co.uk

Mason’s Paper, Birmingham’s local supplier of paper, board, packaging and print consumables to the print industry, is proud to support Prestige Print and Design as a customer and wish them every success in the next chapter of their business. Call your local Mason’s Paper branch today for more information... Birmingham 0121 326 1020

We hold

1500 tonnes of stock for fast SAME DAY or NEXT DAY delivery.

Good luck!

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:24 Page 28

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REFLECTION MARKETING WOULD LIKE TO INVITE YOU TO OUR THIRD CHARITY BALL

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DINNER 7.30PM — 3 COURSE DINNER PREPARED BY ROSETTE AWARDED CHEFS

AUCTION & RAFFLE 9.00PM ONWARDS

TICKETS & ROOM PRICES £45 PER HEAD, £75 ROOM + BREAKFAST FOR 2PP

FURTHER INFO & CONTACT CLAIRE NICHOLLS TEL: 0845 519 2201 CLAIRE@REFLECTIONMARKETING.CO.UK

L CAL9 2201

5 51 084 TO BOOK ETS R YOU

www.reflectionmarketing.co.uk

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 21:24 Page 29

Surveillance UK Businesses with property to protect are going overboard for Surveillance UK. The newest division of security specialist Turners Private Investigations and Security, has been established in response to demand for its expert surveillance, employed using some of the most cutting-edge equipment available. Bespoke covert cameras, recording technology, devices invisible to the human naked eye and GPS tracking that is designed to military standards and used by more than 54 UK police forces - it all sounds very James Bond and glamorous - but actually it’s more about protection of valuable equipment and assets for the company’s commercial clients.

“We can then keep track of the vehicle on a live feed from any computer in the world. It relays the information to us every two seconds; as the car’s moving you’re moving with it, if it stops, tells you where it’s stopped, how fast it’s going, basically everything that vehicle does. “It can be followed all over Europe and we can also set up links if traveling further abroad.” With a brand new JCB costing about £200,000, many businesses can see the value in taking out a yearly subscription on a tracking device which, Lee points out, can then also help reduce insurance costs. Being able to provide bespoke tracking devices means Surveillance UK can apply them to a wide variety of circumstances, not just commercial. Lee cites the example of one fashioned like a belt buckle and worn by an Altzheimer’s sufferer, whose family were able to locate him at all times. “They can be disguised as lipstick holders, cigarette boxes, we can have them made to adapt to anything.” he says.

While the business, which has offices in cities across the UK, including Birmingham, Glasgow, Belfast, Lincoln, Cardiff, London and Plymouth, handles many private assignments, its commercial sector helps companies and Goverment departments combat issues as diverse as metals theft, insurance fraud, benefit cheats, fly tipping and diesel theft.

Currently hot in demand are tracking devices that look like copper piping, which Surveillance UK is using to combat the rising trend of copper and metals theft. “They are mixed in with all the other copper and thieves don’t know anything different but it enables us to alert the police,” Lee says. Tracking devices are now also being used by companies to ensure drivers are delivering when and where they’re supposed to be. Lee accepts there’s a ‘big brother element’ to this but says his clients don’t keep it a secret. It’s also called upon by firms looking to stamp out internal wrongdoing, such as employee theft, and cover "goods in transit" or high valued asset surveillance. Team director Lee Turner says that it’s not always the most obvious high-status vehicles - like Range Rovers - that are thieves’ targets. “JCBs, tractors, diggers, tractor/trailers, arctic trucks/trailer units,” he suggests. “We use very small devices, no bigger than a small mobile phone, which can be well hidden so that unless you’re the person who fitted it you’d never know it was there.

He says: “At the end of the day, companies have to keep on running and all they’re doing is ensuring that their vehicles are being used for what they should be used for, are going exactly where they should be and, if they’re stolen, there’s a greater chance of retrieving them so it also gives them peace of mind.” For further details about the full range of services available

Visit: www.surveillanceuk.co.uk Telephone: 0121 284 0722 29


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:47 Page 30

Birmingham to Oxford Cycle Ride Sunday 1st July 2012 Join The Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy for our 9th year of Birmingham’s biggest bike ride through the picturesque Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire countryside.

This cycle challenge kicks off at Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, and follows a stunning 77 mile route through the beautiful country lanes of the Cotswold Hills. The ride comes to an end at Oxpens Meadows, where you can enjoy refreshments, live music and a well-earned drink in the beer tent!

faulty gene that causes SMA, and around 1 in 6,500 babies born each year have the condition. There is no treatment and no cure. Here at The Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, we aim to provide ‘help for today and hope for tomorrow’ to all those affected by SMA. We provide a range of services including Outreach Workers, Contact Volunteer Network, Information and Education Support, Multisensory Toy Packs, and Fast Response Grants. We receive no government funding, and the Birmingham to Oxford Bike Ride is one of our biggest fundraising events of 2012!

For more information, Visit: www.jtsma.org.uk/box_ride_2012.html Email: fundraising@jtsma.org.uk Alternatively you can register today at www.bike-events.co.uk Registered Charity No: 1106815. Company Limited by Guarantee No: 5137534. Registered in England and Wales.

This event provides an exciting challenge, as it climbs steadily out of Birmingham, before dropping to cross the River Avon near Leamington Spa. It then peaks at 600ft in the Cotswold Hills providing fantastic views of the surrounding area! The ride is well signposted, with marshals, mechanics and first aiders available, and with plenty of refreshment stops along the way. Coaches run in the morning from Oxford to the start, and at set times throughout the afternoon. For just £18 for individual entry, and £17 for team entry, you can join this well established cycle ride! This covers the cost of running the ride safely, but by raising sponsorship, you can take part and help support children and adults with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Last year, the Birmingham to Oxford bike ride raised over £19,500 which made a huge difference – this year you can help us make it bigger and better!

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic neuromuscular condition which causes muscle weakness in varying degrees of severity. In its severest form, Type l SMA is the largest genetic cause of infant death in the UK today. Children affected by Type ll SMA will never walk and rely on electrically powered wheelchairs to gain independence and mobility. 1 in 40-60 of us carries the

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Contact Us On Tel

01789 267520 We are Happy To Call You Back Email The JTSMA Office

Help for today, hope for tomorrow


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:47 Page 31

Body 2 Soul offer a great range of packages, for weddings, hen parties, pamper days, little miss parties, or just a special treat, they will create a package to suit you, even bringing their services to you via their mobile offering. Body 2 Soul has just installed a Flabelos express exercise room. Flabelos is a balancing plate system that utilises the natural balancing mechanism of the inner ear for a programme of effective weight loss.

Body

Soul Body 2 Soul has been providing the very best beauty and holistic treatments at 7, Nelson Street, in the heart of picturesque of Tewksbury for 8 years. The salon has recently been refurbished and provides a calm welcoming environment, for both men and women away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Complimentary refreshments are available and clients are requested to put their mobile phones on silent. Just relax, unwind and be taken care of. Body 2 Soul offer treatments to pamper and rejuvenate; anti ageing treatments, body care, tanning, manicures and pedicures, waxing, threading, and holistic therapies. Treatments for men are becoming popular; salons are no longer a male free zone!

Make Body 2 Soul your beauty destination, whatever your requirements and expectations they are sure to fulfil them.

Telephone: 01684 273014 Visit: www.body2soul.co.uk

A range of specialist treatments are carried out by their qualified therapists with over 17 years experience in skin care, and include the removal of Red Thread Veins, Milia, Skin Tags, Blood Spots, Moles, and Botox, and Restylane treatments. Holistic treatments, which provide the ultimate in relaxation, such as Hot Stone Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reiki Palliative Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy Massage are also carried out in one of the 4 comfortable private treatment rooms. Appointments are not always necessary as there is a walk in service for beautiful lashes, and eyebrows. The treatment of the moment is the fabulous Nouveau lash extensions; clients are always delighted with the results. During May Body 2 Soul have a 50% discount promotion on semi permanent Nouveau lashes.

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DAINES & HATHAWAY MADE IN ENGLAND SINCE 1922

British, traditional quality. Daines and Hathaway, one of the UK's leading luxury leather goods manufacturers, known worldwide for their quality and craftsmanship, is now owned by Pittards plc. This merging of two major names in English fine quality leather and leather goods is a natural pairing, as Pittards is also a worldwide quality brand, renowned for its beautiful leathers. Daines and Hathaway was founded in 1922 and is based in the heart of the Midlands at Walsall, the traditional home of the Leather Goods Industry. Demonstrating British craftsmanship at its best, the company manufactures an extensive range of the finest hand made leather products to exacting standards, utilizing traditional skills dating back over the last century. They use only the finest quality leathers to produce timeless pieces that will endure and give pleasure in use for many years to come. Their master craftsmen choose between a wonderful range of classic English bridle hides, beautiful supple calf skins, exquisite printed leathers and a comprehensive range of incredible exotics. Many of their leathers are sourced from Pittards, to produce both classic and innovative modern pieces, keeping up with today’s demands.

flask holders, and a range of elegant travel goods and accessories, many embellished with the distinctive Daines and Hathaway buckle, in a wide choice of colour and finish. Among their celebrated pieces is the iconic military wet pack, first issued to the British forces in the early 20th century. Daines and Hathaway’s products are available to purchase on-line at www.dainesandhathaway.com Pittards is probably the best known and most highly regarded producer of fine leathers in the UK. Pittards have been producing leather at their Somerset factory since 1826, and have always maintained the highest quality and service as primary objectives. Although steeped in tradition and using many traditional methods they are constantly developing new leathers through innovative technologies to meet the demands of an ever changing marketplace. The company’s largely long serving workforce is a huge repository of leather lore and expertise, knowledge which has contributed to establish them as one of the world's leading leather producers. In 2010 The UK Fashion and Textile council gave Pittards their award for Export Achievement. It will readily be seen, therefore, that this is a “marriage made in heaven.” Exquisite leathers crafted into wonderful products, reflecting the best traditions of British production, craftsmanship and design.

Is proud to work with Daines and Hathaway ‘A Great British Company Making Fine Leather Goods in the heart of England’

Ladies Pink Leather Coin Purse £25

Daines and Hathaway’s products are all made at Walsall and are stocked by some of the top prestige leather and luxury sporting goods retailers catering for the most discerning clients, who demand only the highest quality finish and styling. The range includes smart travelling jewellery cases, document folders, iPad cases, wallets,

Ladies Leather Gloves from £25

Handbags and Purses Bag illustrated £39

Belts zHats zJewellery Scarves zSpectacle Cases zClothing Call in and see us - Sherborne Rd, Yeovil, Somerset

Or shop online www.pittardsleather.co.uk 33


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:48 Page 34

MORE than 100 years of the finest tailoring craftsmanship are poured into a suit from PJ Robinson & Son, but its modern approach is ensuring the family business is forging ahead into the 21st century. Current managing director Lawrence Robinson says as with any other company of such an age, it’s seen its fair share of ups and downs - but the latest economic turmoil has only prompted its forward thinking people to come up with innovative ideas that have reinvigorated and kickstarted the business. Here is where four generations have carried the Great British tradition of tailoring and it’s a burden none of them have ever taken lightly. Over the years they have proved to their peers that they really can cut it - Lawrence’s grandfather and aunt won bronze in the 1970 London tailor and cutter competition while his father and cousin made military tunics for the Colstream Guards Lawrence himself came second in a competition at a recent NEC Clothes Show event and achieved fourth at The Golden Shears 2007 competition.

“We are a really family-run business, from great grandfather, grandfather, father, aunties, cousins, myself and, hopefully soon, my daughter,” he says. “We still make the same way my grandfather did with, perhaps, a few modern day improvements” The latest innovations, fitting in comfortably alongside fully

34

bespoke, handmade suits, are made-to-measure shirts and suits and an alterations service, a home/business visiting service for those clients who may not have time to visit the premises in Alcester’s High Street. Combine this ability to meet every individual need in women or men’s styling with PJ Robinson & Son’s consistent commitment to excellence, heritage, experience and expertise and it’s no wonder the company is in such demand. “At some point in life every person should own some form of ‘bespoke’ garment,” maintains Lawrence - but he and everyone at PJ Robinson & Son realise that in today’s challenging climate, that’s not always possible. “2009/2010 was my first experience of the business going quiet,” he says. “Many of my father’s regulars stopped wearing suits due to retirement etc and we found ourselves almost having to kickstart the business.


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:48 Page 35

“We started a coat-making service for the trade and made jackets for other tailors around the country, which was a mixed experience as it meant we did suits for sports stars like Lee Westwood, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Darren Clark. “In 2010 we had a stand at the big CLA Game fair at Ragley Hall and launched our website. Now things have gone from strength to strength and we are at the stage where we have had to stop making for the trade.” There are plans to take stands at wedding fairs in the region later in the year but, for now, PJ Robinson & Son is busy enough providing a - well tailor-made - service to many satisfied clients. “In keeping old traditions and combining them with new fresh ideas we have achieved a balance that has made us one of the most renowned bespoke tailors in the Midlands,” says Lawrence. “In a garment from us you will enjoy superb tailoring, a friendly relaxed atmosphere and will also have the pleasure of knowing that you have made a wise sartorial investment.”

PJ Robinson & Son

Call: 0844 800 3630 www.theliningcompany.co.uk

The Lining Company

pen Monday to Thursday 9am-5pm, Fridays 9am-4pm and Saturdays 9am-noon.

the UK's leading lining merchant

For further information

Visit: www.pjrobinsonandson.com Telephone: 01789 765519 Email: info@pjrobinsonandson.co.uk

J & J MINNIS

JOHN G. HARDY

Savile Row London

of London

Fine Cloths for Discerning Tailors

The Lining Company are proud to support PJ Robinson and wish them luck in the future

www.njraccountancy.co.uk

For all your accountancy needs... We are proud to support PJ Robinson and wish them all the best for the future sCompliance sValue

Services sSupport Services sBusiness start-up sTaxation

Added Tax sNational Insurance / PAYE sHMRC Enquiries

Call:01905 775 022

To arrange a FREE consultation

M: 07816 669 910 F: 01905 771 647 E: info@njraccountancy.co.uk We provide a personal cost effective solution

Suits Us to Work with P J Robinson & Sons Ltd

www.hfwltd.com Unit B5 Warhurst Road, Lowfields Business Park, Elland HX5 9DF

We have been producing the finest worsted cloth for over 150 years and we are proud to support PJ Robinson & Son

5 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 1RL Tel: 01484 421 772 Email: enquiries@dugdale-bros.com WWW.DUGDALEBROS.COM

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:49 Page 36

One hears of businesses starting on the kitchen table but Mask-arade started round the dinner table. Chris O'Nyan cut out a picture of Terry Wogan from a magazine and mounted it onto cardboard with holes for the eyes. He produced the mask at a dinner party and it became the focus of the gettogether. Other masks became such a great hit with friends and family that his bit of fun became the basis for a business. He pitched the idea to two of his friends Dean Walton and Ray Duffy, and 4 years ago Mask-arade was born. Ray said of the first few months: “We didn’t have any proper cutting equipment and would do everything by hand.”

Mask-arade masks - the best thing to happen to parties since the balloon!!! more than 1,800 retail outlets across the country. Mask-arade masks have become a 'must-have' accessory for any self-respecting stag or hen night, birthday party, bah mitzvah or leaving do.

Call: 01962 814 292 Email: info@mask-arade.com www.mask-arade.com Mask-arade Limited Albion House Southfield Road Kineton Road Industrial Estate Southam CV47 0FB

The business had been running for 3 months when the opportunity to go on Dragons’ Den came up. They went on the programme hoping to raise £50,000 for premises, a printer and other equipment; but the Dragons scoffed at their idea and the men left the Den empty-handed, warned by the panel that they would never hit the big time. But Maskateers, Ray Duffy, Chris O’Nyan and Dean Walton are having the last laugh, because the show boosted their profile and business has been booming ever since – and it is all thanks to the Dragons.” Mask-arade has grown into a unique company, which confidently predicts turn-over reaching the one million mark this year; their personalised face masks, celebrity masks and life size standees, are selling more than ever through online orders and can be found in

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:49 Page 37

It means Applegate films are created by teams well versed with working in unusual environments and to tight deadlines and who come equipped with the production values learned over many years with national broadcasters.

PRODUCTION

Limited

Says Graham: “Our background in news is what moulds us, makes us unique and sets us out from the crowd of production companies today. “We are experts in clarifying and crystallising messages; planning and then creating high-impact picture releases.

A HEREFORD film production company has forged a dynamic partnership with an online business-to-business directory to enable them both to harness the power of internet communications for clients. Bubble Production, will be applying the full force of its message delivery expertise to creating promotional films for customers of Applegate Ltd, which is based at Barnstaple in north Devon. Those wanting to boost their profiles and drive their communications forward via the burgeoning world of video-driven visual engagement can call on Bubble, based at Burcott Park, to create informative, engaging and entertaining films to promote and market their services and products.

“Speed, efficiency, quality and passion are all just words: we put the pictures to them to create productions that deliver messages of distinction.” Today, even those companies who are the best in their business do not remain untouched by the harsh economic climate but Bubble Productions believes that the new collaboration with Applegate is one that can only bring success to both of them. “It gives us frontline exposure to a diverse, UK-wide audience of small to medium-sized enterprises and Applegate the security that their clients will get a first-class video produced by broadcast experts,” says Graham. “Our philosophy is ‘don’t just say it, show it’ and we are passionate about everything we do. We truly love our work at Bubble and like to think that this shows in the way we approach each and every job: our passion can be your profit.”

For further information Visit: www.bubbleproduction.co.uk

Call 555

01432

Email: info@bubbleproduction.co.uk

358

Call: 01432 358 555

“Video is an invaluable sales tool, allowing our customers the opportunity to get their message across in the most informative and effective way possible and we’re delighted to be a key part of that process,” says Bubble’s managing director Graham Essenhigh. “Today’s iPads, smartphones and their viewers demand more and more visual engagement and video is supplying this. “YouTube alone has more than three billion viewers per day, with the number of advertisers using display ads increasing tenfold. “Video keeps viewers on websites longer, creates a greater level of trust and better conversion rates and higher traffic from enhanced SEO.

PRODUCTION

Limited

“This increase in SEO directly helps Applegate’s and our clients with worldwide promotion.” If anybody knows about delivering an effective message that will enable businesses to achieve immediate market penetration in a fast-paced world, it’s Bubble Production. Established in 1988, the company is an impact-creating business communicator, drawing on 20 years of shooting and editing to provide broadcast news and current affairs programmes for the likes of the BBC, the ITV network, Channel 4, CNN and many more.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:49 Page 38

The radio station at the heart of the community is back, from September 2011 Stafford FM was heard once again across the county!

Stafford FM’s News team also intends to deliver sport dedicated to the town and beyond. Their Stafford Rangers FC man, Gary Hazlehurst, will report from every Rangers game and will also be first with comments from the manager, players and officials from the club, keeping Rangers fans right up to date. There is more sport to discover in the town, Stafford Town FC is on the rise, sharing a ground with the rugby club, right next to the cricket pavilion, in fact the station will be covering stories on all aspects of sport across the town.

There has been a real need for radio coverage for the county town, and local people are really excited by the station’s return after 8 years since the four initial trial broadcasts in 2001 and 2004.

Stafford FM will play a wide range of music, including melodic popular music during daytimes, catering for all sorts of tastes and genres, including local music, northern soul and Motown, rock ‘n roll, country, classic rock, album tracks and much, more. A local dedicated breakfast show will have news, information, sport, and traffic and travel news. In short, a station for Stafford, by Stafford people from Stafford! The station features some of the old guard plus some new faces, and will focus on local issues important to the community. Along with providing national and international news they will be out in the community reporting on local stories and interests, working alongside the borough council and emergency services, to keep the listener up to date with breaking local news. Not forgetting light hearted stories from around the area, and encouraging support for local events.

For further information Visit: www.staffordfm.com Call: 01785 53 20 20 (if you have a story to tell..)

175 CELEBRATING

Y

E

A

R

S

T: 01785257788 F: 01785256718 E: lloyd.norman@jewson.co.uk Tilcon Avenue Baswich Stafford ST18 0YJ BUILDING

JOINERY

PAINTING

TOOLS

LANDSCAPE

www.jewson.co.uk 38


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:49 Page 39

wool

ountain When Sarah Hillman took early redundancy 3 years ago it was to realise the dream of a business of her own. Consultancy was one option, but a chance remark during a conversation with a friend that the owner of a local wool shop was considering selling, led her in another direction. Sarah freely admits that when she thought of her own business, she hadn’t any intention of buying a wool shop, and revealed that the purchasing process was something out of “How not to buy a Business”! However, the chance paid off, and business is so good that they are having trouble keeping up with demand. The first year showed sufficient promise for the business to be relocated to larger premises in a better location, and their success continues; so much so, that the business has been nominated for an award by the Coventry Evening Telegraph.

For more information call in at Wool Mountain, Unit 11, Abbeygate Shopping Centre, Nuneaton,

Call: 02476 346222 Email: sales@woolmountain.co.uk Web: www.woolmountain.co.uk Call: 01535 609798 www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk

Their customers range from charity knitters, through to the budget and mid price knitters who knit for family and friends, to the designer knitters who appreciate the range of beautiful yarns including silk and alpaca that Sarah sources from all over the world. Wool Mountain also stocks a full range of patterns, haberdashery and knitting accessories, Sarah says “If we haven’t got it it’s because I haven’t heard of it.” One of Sarah’s friendly team is always on hand to help and advise, and the shop is developing a real community feel. Their informal knitting and crochet club, Cro-Knits, is a great place to learn new skills, or pass them on to others over a cuppa. Sarah also has an on-line store for those unfortunate enough not to be able to visit in person

are proud to support Wool Mountain and wish them luck in the future www.kingcole.co.uk

cole

Completely devoted to the art of knitting

We are proud to supply Wool Mountain and wish them luck in the future

Email: enquiries@kingcole.co.uk Tel: 01535 650230

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:50 Page 40

A CLEVER, but simple, solution for growing families struggling to find enough storage space within the home has arrived in Birmingham. Clever Closet is the product from Smart Storage Ltd that has taken Ireland by storm since it launched there in 2010. Having now brought the easily accessible home storage system to Britain’s second city, and with plans to launch in many of the country’s larger urban areas, the company is determined to become the market leader in home storage solutions.

“With this in mind, we developed a storage unit that would fit in to the unused space under the stairs and attic.” He installed the first prototype in his own home and the rest, as they say, is history, with his company, Smart Storage Ltd, employing three fitters and planning to launch further products in the coming year. It’s also ready to keep up with the expected demand expected following Clever Closet’s Birmingham launch, not least via its busy Facebook page or through its website, www.clevercloset.co.uk where clients can submit measurements in return for a quotation. “The UK has a potential market of over 10 million suitable housing units, we are looking for a minor percentage of this per annum,” states Paul. With spring is just around the corner, we can’t escape the niggling need to declutter the mess that’s been lurking under the stairs since autumn. With the quick and easy installation of Clever Closet, the pain of sifting through that mess of rackets, odd shoes, bats and football gear can be eliminated altogether.

Nowadays, as couples become families, and families expand, it’s not so easy to go out and purchase a larger house to accommodate the ever-growing demands for space.

Call

11 0800 0

4804

However, those feeling the squeeze have found that the Clever Closet can provide a simple, quick and cost-effective answer. Says managing director Paul Jacob: “Clever Closet is a fantastic solution and we are going all out to show people that it is easy to install - it can be fitted in a day by our expert teams - into terraced or semi-detached houses and maximises storage space for school bags, shoes, toys etc.”

For further information Visit: www.clevercloset.co.uk Email: sales@clevercloset.co.uk

Clever Closet is an under stairs storage solution. Catering for your storage requirements

The Clever Closet unit is custom-designed to fit under a main stairwell, maximising space by installing slide-out drawer units. These fold away seamlessly into the wall space using a soft close push panel mechanism, leaving no drawer handles to obstruct the hallway. Perfect for shoes and gear bags and big enough to store golf bags and vacuum cleaners, the units can also be customised for individual uses such as wine racks. With prices starting from £270 for a single drawer unit, and the most popular units which measure 1,200mm by 1,200mm (4ft by 4ft) and fit perfectly into the standard semi or mid-terraced house, retailing for £500, it’s easy o see why they are so popular for families where budgets as well as space are under pressure. Paul, the director of a construction company, came up with the idea for Clever Closet after his business, like many others in the sector, was affected by the economic downtown and he recognised the need to transfer his skills and expertise. “With fewer people trading up to bigger homes, we identified a demand for clever and neat additional storage in their existing home,” he says.

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Call us on 0800 011 4804 Email us on sales@CleverCloset.co.uk Clever Closet, Unit 2, Beach Court Kilcoole, Co Wicklow

Website www.clevercloset.co.uk


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:50 Page 41

Central Joinery Ltd is a specialist manufacturer of bespoke wooden staircases. From standard softwood flights to one-off stunning architect designed hardwood and chrome feature installations, Central Joinery can do it all. Whatever the style, traditional or contemporary, straight, winding, cut string, open or closed, a wooden staircase is one of the most important features of a home. Central Joinery’s designers will work with you and your architect, to supply a staircase perfect for the application, tailored to suit your home. Neil Bark MD, who founded the company in 1993, is very proud of the way the company has developed. Their success, due to a reputation for quality, first rate service and value for money, has resulted in the company becoming one of the UK’s leading producers of timber staircases. In 2004 the company invested over £1.5 million in moving to an environmentally friendly manufacturing facility in Swadlincote, where they employ over 40 people. Central Joinery is fully accredited to manufacture and supply staircases in accordance with FSC and PEFC policies. The company’s environmental credentials were further enhanced by the installation of a biomass heating system which utilises the waste materials generated within the manufacturing process and thus reduces the level of waste sent to landfill. In such awareness of environmental issues Central Joinery is certainly in tune with the times, and the growing public demand for natural materials, but only those that have been responsibly sourced. They have established partnerships with several of the UK’s leading housebuilders and in recognition of the standard of service and the high quality of their products have received several NHBC Certification and preferred supplier awards. Although still supplying basic softwood flights to developers, the company is increasing its penetration of the bespoke market, supplying to architects, the higher end of the building trade and to individual clients looking for something really special. The sheer satisfaction of working in beautiful hardwoods such as Ash or Oak and creating a stunning statement for a special property which delights the end user cannot be overstated. The woodworking skills of their superb

team of highly experienced craftsmen combined with the latest cutting edge technology produce the highest quality staircases available anywhere in the UK. Neil says: “Total Customer satisfaction is our company ethos, from first order through manufacture, delivery and installation (if required) we take great pride in everything we do, striving to exceed expectations and developing valued relationships with customers large and small for many years to come.”

If you have a project in mind that needs a staircase contact the company t: 01283

212142 w: www.centraljoinery.co.uk e: info@centraljoinery.co.uk New from Central Joinery Ltd, is a range of top quality doors and windows. a: Cadley Hill Industrial Estate | Ryder Close Swadlincote | Derbyshire | DE11 9EU

heights new Reaching As key business advisers to Central Joinery Limited, we’re delighted the firm continues on the up and up. t • 01332 295544 e • advice@cooperparry.com cooperparry.com

DERBY / LEICESTER / LONDON / NOTTINGHAM

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:50 Page 42

IN what is seen as a very staid and traditional market, Steve Soult Ltd’s innovative approach is becoming increasingly sought after. A manufacturer supplying coffins to the region’s funeral directors, the awardwinning company is proud to be the only one of its kind in the country to offer certain products and services. It’s also England’s only coffin maker to be a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen – an indication of the quality, traditional skill and care that goes into the creation of every item. In June it opened a second workshop, a short distance away from its headquarters on the Lowmoor Business Park at Kirkby-inAshfield, Nottinghamshire, specifically to manufacture a range of coffins which, until now, have been imported from Italy. With the recruitment of a new van driver, two new vans and an expansion of its customer base, the continued investment sees the business looking confidently ahead to marking its 10th anniversary in 2012. Founded by Steve Soult, the 25-employee company’s coffins have graced the funerals of many local dignitaries, servicemen and women. Every coffin is handcrafted to order and can be delivered within 24 hours – or even on the same day - be it in solid wood, studio painted or from the company’s unique, personalised, engraved range; “Artiste”.

“We also developed two other colours; white and medium oak other than the usual dark mahogany, and promoted them to the trade at exhibitions earlier this year and they’ve been very successful.” The new “Signature” workshop was then set up to accommodate the new contract and our handmade solid wood coffins. In a sector which has already seen several coffin manufacturers come and go within the last few years, Steve is proud of his company’s sustained success and is looking forward to marking its decade this spring.

“We are the only one in the industry offering engraved coffins, having invested hugely in new CNC machinery to do this,” says Steve. The company has done the most “outrageous things” and the most “beautiful things”, but whether it’s simply a person’s name or nickname, the Lord’s Prayer, a depiction of a favourite hobby, it can meet every detailed personal request.

Receiving requests for its engraved coffins coming in from funeral directors customers, it is clear the quality products and service from Steve Soult Ltd will be in demand for a long time yet.

For further information,

Call: 01623 721123 Web: www.stevesoult.com

“We give people the best. Even if a coffin is the lowest price item in our collection, it’s still made beautifully and with care,” adds Steve. “The whole point is everybody wants something that’s remembered and treasured and having a name engraved on the side has very strong impact.” It was Steve Soult Limited’s ability to respond to these wholly personal demands, with such uncompromising quality, that enabled it to secure a major contract for more specialised work.

We supply everything for the woodworker

The company was approached, explains Steve, to see if it could supply a range of grand coffins which, for years, have only been available from Italy and, more recently, as lower quality versions from the Far East.

the one thing that all woodworkers require..

“We developed the ornate range in our workshops and feel that ours are nicer than the ones coming in from Europe,” he says.

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TIMBER | TOOLS | MACHINERY | HOBBIES | GIFTS

from machinery, hand and power tools to hundreds of accessories and of course

..timber !

Call us: 01935 822207 Yandle & Sons Ltd Hurst Works | Martock | Somerset | TA12 6JU


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:51 Page 43

James Caan

XEPOWEFSYXLMWRI[FSSO

7XEVX]SYV&YWMRIWWMR(E]W In this incisive practical guide from one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs, James Caan offers his 30 years of expertise which could save budding entrepreneurs years of wasted time and thousands of pounds of wasted money Caan hit our TV screens when he joined the panel of the BBC's Dragons' Den in 2007. He is a regular commentator in the national and business press, advises Government on business policies, and initiates a number of philanthropic projects via The James Caan Foundation. He says ‘Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. Every day of my life I am being pitched by people with new business ideas. But sadly 90% of new businesses are still failing. Entrepreneurs just need to ask themselves the right questions before they start their business journey.’ Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. Every single day of my life I am bombarded by people with pitches. But 90% of new businesses fail, because their founders failed to ask themselves the simplest of questions. I can save you years of wasted time and thousands of pounds of wasted money by giving you the ammunition to ask the right questions, and helping you make the decision that is right for you. I will show you how to spend a maximum of seven days deciding if your idea is workable and bankable. How to say ‘I’m in’, but equally importantly, to have the courage to say ‘I’m out’. How to become your own Dragon. Each piece of advice in this book is based on my thirty years of starting businesses. You will find all the fundamental ingredients for any new company, whatever sector you want to be in, whatever size of business you have in mind, along with the tools to make it work. Answer all the tough questions I am going to get you to ask yourself and you will have a business that genuinely has a chance of success. You can be one of the 10% of businesses that do make it.

’

DAYS

Bev James, CEO of the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy and bestselling author of Do It! or Ditch It

Turn your business idea into a life-changing success

7

‘Many people achieve success in business, but not everyone is willing to share their blueprint for success. The information in this book is priceless’

JAMES CAAN START YOUR BUSINESS IN

‘

ÂŁ0.00 PENGUIN Business / Self-help and Personal Development

What questions are those? “You must ask yourself whether or not you possess the DNA of an entrepreneur? Can you identify your personal “Power of Why�? Do you have the inner blend of determination, hunger and fearlessness that you will need to succeed?� How do you know whether your idea is worth pursuing? “Your idea does not have to be ‘unique’. You don’t have to change the world. The most successful business ideas are often simple, ingenious tweaks on an existing way of doing business, but delivering it faster, better, cheaper or more easily. You need to find your compelling selling point. Your first idea does not have to be your final idea. Be strong enough to say ‘I’m out’ early on and move on to another idea that might be the one that works.� He says: “Share your ideas. Tell as many people as you can. Ask for feedback and you’ll be amazed what you can learn. Somebody will give you a piece of advice or the one angle you hadn’t thought of that could make all the difference between success and failure.� He added: “Research is absolutely fundamental to your ability to succeed.�

James Caan So OK, got the idea, done the research, what next? “Concentrate on landing your first order as early as possible. Don’t get distracted by all the peripherals of setting up websites, designing logos or choosing the office door, find out if somebody is prepared to put down good money for what you are selling. If a buyer is interested, listen carefully to what they tell you about pricing, size, packaging, delivery times. They know their market inside out, far better than you. It’s front-line research. He added, “When it comes to costings, work out the money that’s coming in, the money going out, and what’s left is your profit. If there is no profit, there is no businessâ€?. Start Your Business in 7 Days is a book for absolutely anybody with a good idea; Caan will provide you with the ammunition and advice you need and guide you towards the right decisions for your business. Published in paperback by Portfolio Penguin, priced ÂŁ12.99

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:51 Page 44

THE NEW SPACE FOR

BUSINESS & PLEASURE Versatile, spacious and comfortable, with superb top floor views of the spectacular Malvern Hills …

PERFECT FOR • • • • •

Conferences & Seminars Exhibitions & Trade Fairs Product Launches & Video Shoots Training and Team Building Days Parties & Weddings

EXCELLENT FACILITIES • More than 300 square metres of space on each of two floors • An additional 2,200 square metres of exhibition space • Fully equipped for audio visual, internet and plasma • Provision for catering and bars • Break-out rooms • Ample parking and access

FIRST CLASS SERVICE • Accomplished event organisers • Established venue • Tailor-made packages and multi-day discounts to suit your business budget

Clean Air for Clear Thinking ... Don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself! Contact: Olivia Buxton, Venue Hire Co-ordinator, Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. WR13 6NW. Telephone: 01684 584924

For more information on the Three Counties Centre visit: venuehire@threecounties.co.uk

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:51 Page 45

open its 10th centre in Hammersmith, London, has become one of the most sought after providers of professional serviced offices, virtual offices and meeting rooms in a quality environment. Also, Orega are able to reach out to start-up or consultancy businesses with its virtual office products, which give homeworkers and businesses on the move the opportunity to take advantage of Colmore Plaza’s address, phone number and meeting rooms.

space to inspire COMPANIES happily esconced in the Orega offices in Birmingham know they are in a fantastic working environment - but the serviced office provider wants everyone else to know that too!

“We believe strongly that the right environment enhances business productivity: colourful space encourages creativity, buildings that impress encourage inspiration and a great location means employees work longer,” says Jessica.

Orega, which runs business centres across the country, plans to make its Birmingham building, Colmore Plaza, THE place to work and meet for quality service, not only from the grand entrance, but right down to the quality of refreshments, furniture, and customer service.

“It is therefore our mission to not just offer businesses workspace, but provide them with intelligent offices. “We listen and cater for the needs and requirements of our clients and offer the perfect solutions so that they have the space and services needed to not only function, but improve their business.”

For the last two years the former Birmingham Post & Mail tower has been a 17,000 sq ft home to a selection of recruitment agencies, financial firms and insurance companies, with office and meeting room space on a mezzanine floor which overlooks a stunning hotellike reception where visitors and guests check in and are directed to automated pedestrian turnstiles leading to high-tech intelligent lifts. Being an Orega centre, it bears all the company’s hallmark features: stylish conferencing suites and executive lounges in which to hold interviews or big events, fresh, vibrant, and modern interiors and award-winning customer service.

Call

9 0800 840ca5ll5b0ack

Says marketing manager Jessica Cox: “Everything about this 14-storey, landmark building in the prime business district of the city shouts style and quality and we are proud to offer over 17,000 sqft as premium serviced office and meeting room space strategically designed to help businesses flourish.

or request a

To find out more about Orega and its services, or to Bham Post Orega.pdf 1 28/02/2012 09:31:51 book a tour of Colmore Plaza, go to www.orega.com

C

“Rivaling the most prestigious buildings in the City of London and Canary Wharf, Colmore Plaza not only offers superb facilities for its occupants but is one of the highest profile addresses available in Birmingham.” All are fitted with the latest IT and telecoms solutions - new this year is the MPLS system for IT and Telco, meaning clients can work in multiple buildings in the same network, and broadband is even more reliable and faster. On hand is the Orega team of four comprising business centre manager Caron Salter-Hill, her assistant Sarah Richards and customer service representatives Natasha Silk and Angela Hargreaves who handle calls to reception, mail, customer service to the office clients, serve refreshments at meetings, maintain the building, oversee the arrival of any new clients and help with any ad hoc requests.

M

SPACE TO INSPIRE

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CM

MY

CY

CMY

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Caron also welcomes prospective customers to show them around the building and its outstanding facilities and advise on which office space and services would cater to their individual needs best. All in all, Comore Plaza is a shining example of how Orega, which opened its first centre in Staines back in 2001 and is now about to

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An exciting future beckons for West Bromwich - and The Public is destined to be at the forefront of all the developments. The venue - housed in an eye-catching building which has been turning heads since it arrived in Sandwell in 2009 and is now listed as one of the world’s 1001 ‘Must Sees’ - is a thriving hive of activity that is set to increase as the area’s regeneration plans come to fruition.

The area’s residents regularly call in for activities as diverse as the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations or fortnightly tea dancing while 18 companies, employing roughly 120 people between them and providing placements for 150 apprentices, call it home. Add a busy daily conference and room hire programme and you can see why The Public has clocked up more than 380,000 visitors since it opened. Not even the economic climate can dampen enthusiasm. “We have continued to grow our earned income from conferences, lettings, ticket sales year on year thus reducing our dependence on public subsidy, which dropped by 25% last April,” Linda reveals. “We were able to respond to this and continue to grow because of the sound basis we are building for our earned income.” Part of The Public’s success has been down to overcoming the challenge of changing people’s perceptions of it, helping them understand what it offers.

“We will capitalise on the major changes and the new people this will bring to build ourselves a regional role – as leaders in interactive and digital art, as a business venue for conferences and location, as an amazing place to visit,” says Linda Saunders, Managing Director. “The new college opens at the end of February, building work is under way for the new retail development due to be completed in 2013 and major work to improve the public realm begins in May, giving us some really exciting opportunities.” Set in the heart of one of the UK’s most deprived areas, The Public is a creative, community, cultural and business space home to a gallery, music venue, theatre, learning centre, meeting place, community centre and work space. It is run by the Sandwell Arts Trust, a registered charity and any one day’s activities can see an apprentice challenge on the ground floor, tea dancing in the Long Room, school children drawing robots in the Learning Area, a product launch in the theatre and people simply visiting and enjoying the interactive galleries or a drink in the café. There is also a regular, eclectic events programme of music, comedy, theatre and film; the last 12 months have seen appearances from artists such as Toyah Wilcox and Patrick Monahan, upcoming comics and local bands while the visual arts programme has included new commissions for local and regional artists and work by international artists.

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“We work hard to ensure we offer value for money – controlling our costs but also ensuring that our prices reflect the difficult times,” Linda says. “Many local people are now regular visitors and we have won the trust of local businesses. “Our ever-increasing visitor numbers and the positive feedback we receive are both testament to the extent to which we have responded to this challenge. “We look forward to establishing The Public as a place for opportunity and innovation – through our approach to digital and interactive art, performance, business opportunities in an exciting work space.”

To find out more about The Public,

Call: 0121 533 7161 www.thepublic.com concepttdesigntprinttcommunications We are proud to support The Public by providing literature design, print and signage. Studio Six, 153 Middleton Hall Road, Kings Norton, Birmingham B30 1AS dowedaviesdesign@blueyonder.co.uk 0121 605 0741 07779 0000 25

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:51 Page 48

So look at your local theatre in a new light, not just for an evening out, but as an exciting venue with a multiplicity of uses.

For more information on any of these initiatives please contact Hannah Hallam, Head of Business Development

Call Us

0116 242 3560

Curve – Not just a stunning new theatre, but a creative way to do business. Hannah Hallam

Business and the arts have long enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, but Curve theatre, Leicester’s magnificent home for theatre and the performing arts, situated at the heart of the city’s Cultural Quarter, is initiating a number of mutually beneficial schemes involving businesses further in the life and work of the theatre.

Email: development@curvetheatre.co.uk or visit the website for more details of this season’s programme of events at www.curveonline.co.uk

Curve is at the forefront of innovation in the arts and is proud to support new writers and directors, but is also looking at initiatives to bring the building into use by the wider community, particularly local businesses. So in addition to seeing some great performances at Curve there are now a multitude of ways for businesses to get involved. From joining Curve’s Business Club, to attending networking events with a unique twist, sponsoring just one performance or a whole production, corporate hospitality, holding a meeting in one of the rehearsal rooms, a conference in their practical seminar rooms or an AGM in the main theatre.

Suppliers of chilled, frozen & ambient foods to Caterers Please call 01298 871435 to discuss how our service could assist your business info@holdsworth-foods.co.uk www.holdsworth-foods.co.uk Head Oĸce: The Mill, Manchester Road, Tideswell, Derbyshire. SK17 8LN

To add an extra dimension to training days, Curve offers a range of arts-based training sessions, led by an actor or director. Let Curve create unique workshops for your business to help develop presentation skills, without the use of Powerpoint; networking, communication and team-building. Led by a professional who can communicate to an audience with just the raise of an eyebrow or command a space without shouting, business speakers can get tips to help in being a more confident presenter and the management of nerves and ‘stage-fright’.

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catering, bar facilities, special events, competitions and of course networking opportunities with other businesses at the club. The deal includes a yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth of two four-balls per week, one to be taken on a weekday, for only ÂŁ2,000.00, a significant saving on individual green fees! For more information please contact the club on 01527 543079 or visit their web site www.redditchgolfclub.com. Originally founded in 1913, the club relocated to its present Callow Hill site in November 1972 due to the expansion of Redditch town centre. The parkland course is recognised as one of the finest in Worcestershire and was the imagination of the world renowned golf course designer Frank Pennick.

Open for Business! Redditch Golf Club is busily preparing to celebrate its Centenary year in 2013, and there is a real buzz of anticipation throughout this popular club. As part of the Centenary celebrations Redditch Golf Club are introducing a new corporate membership programme. Many of their members already use the facilities for corporate events so a special Centenary Corporate Membership seemed a natural progression.

As part of a continuous improvement programme at the club, the greens were reconstructed to USGA specifications. As the course progresses the holes become more challenging, golfers of every level will find the last 6 holes particularly testing. For new golfers, or those seeking to improve their game, the Club Professional is always on hand to help and advise. Redditch runs a number of Open competitions throughout the year, with visitors from all over the Midlands attending. They are usually fully subscribed and typically followed by vibrant evening dinners and presentations. Redditch Golf Club Lower Grinsty, Green Lane, Callow Hill Redditch, Worcestershire B97 5PJ

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The Centenary Corporate Membership package gives businesses the opportunity to offer clients the enjoyment of one of the finest golf clubs in the Midlands. And, there are many inclusive benefits; conference facilities, free WiFi, tee sponsorship, corporate log-in and links to your web site, superb

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:52 Page 50

Broadway Casino was opened in April 2005 in the building that housed the former Birmingham Children’s’ Hospital, the striking listed building forms an exciting setting for the city’s leading independently owned casino. Despite competing with 6 other casinos 5 of which are owned by multinational casino chains they are now recognised as the leading casino in the West Midlands and have the most successful casino card room outside London. Broadway Casino provides a fantastic mix of first class gaming, friendly atmosphere and excellent dining all within a relaxed and welcoming environment. Their excllent facilities extend through a spacious and stylish lounge area to the Mirage Fusion restaurant. Launched in 2009, the Mirage Fusion restaurant offers an eclectic mix of Indian, Chinese, Italian and Thai cuisine for up to 100 diners. If you’re looking for a bite to eat during the day, choose from the Mirage Fusion's delicious snack menu.

Broadway Casino

In addition to The Mirage the two well stocked bars also offer an impressive selection of wines and cocktails. This year the facilities are to be extended with a new private area for private parties, corporate entertaining and conferences. There are multi screen televisions showing Sky Sports, Free Wi Fi, full disabled access and plenty of secure, free parking.

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On their fantastic gaming floor, guests play American Roulette, Touchbet Roulette, Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Punto Banco and a range of fantastic slot machines which are changed on a regular basis, to add variety. Broadway Casino offers something for everyone and enjoys welcoming customers back time and time again.

Call: 0121 456 5557 Email: members.broadway@btconnect.com Visit: www.broadwaycasino.co.uk

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:52 Page 51

growth

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The nation’s hoteliers are celebrating as new figures for the last 12 months reveal that domestic trips and holidays were at their highest levels for five years. More than 104 million domestic overnight trips were taken in England alone during 2011, an increase of nine per cent on 2010 and the highest since the survey began in 2006. Meanwhile, the number of domestic holidays remained above pre-recession levels for the third consecutive year, indicating that the ‘staycation’ trend is still strong.

Business trips and trips to visit friends and relatives also showed recovery after a number of years spent in decline, with an increase of 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. However, neither trip type has regained the peak volumes recorded in 2006, before the onset of the recession. VisitEngland has also released the latest wave of its ‘Staycation Tracker’ research this month, which revealed that the majority of UK residents who took a holiday at home in 2011 had a positive overall experience, 85 per cent reporting it as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.

CUSTOM ER SO LUTIO NS Brits are increasingly inspired to discover the fantastic destination that is on their doorstep

UK residents who took a holiday at home in 2011 had a positive overall experience, 85 per cent reporting it

Value for money was also rated highly, with 78 per cent of those polled saying their holiday in England offered ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ value.

as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’

Looking forward, the number of trips taken is expected to be broadly similar in 2012 as in 2011; beyond 2012, the positive domestic holiday experience means that almost half expect they will take more domestic breaks than they used to before the recession.

England offered ‘excellent’ or

Value for money was also rated highly, with 78 per cent of those polled saying their holiday in ‘very good’ value

While welcoming the good news for the industry, Mr Berresford warned that challenges still lay ahead.

Further figures released by the national tourist board VisitEngland show that total spend rose by 13 per cent year on year, representing almost £18bn. James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive commented: “These totals, coupled with our recent Day Visits research which revealed that 1.3 billion domestic day trips were taken in England last year, clearly demonstrates that Brits are increasingly inspired to discover the fantastic destination that is on their doorstep.” Holiday trips in particular grew by six per cent to 46 million, and holiday spend hit £10bn; an increase of 11 per cent from 2010. In terms of location type, 2011 saw an increase across the board – domestic overnight trips to towns, cities and the countryside were all up by just under 14 per cent each compared to 2010, while trips to the seaside were up by just over 11 per cent.

“We have seen a double-digit growth in holiday spend and this is part due to inflation, and increased operating costs while, as we approached the Easter break, one of our most important holiday periods of the year, the news was saturated with talk of a potential fuel shortage, which could have seriously hindered a successful start to the holiday season.

VISIT www.visitengland.com www.enjoyengland.com

“As an industry, we will only overcome challenges such as these, if we continue to work closely together, maximise opportunities that 2012, this special year, with the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, brings, and support the development of one of the country’s few growth industries."

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“To see the hotel open to guests after five years’ research, planning, designing and building, is a watershed moment in what we hope will be a long and successful history for Hotel La Tour. We pride ourselves on being a four star-standard hotel with a five star attitude to service, so now the hard work begins.”

Birmingham’s newest city centre hotel has opened with more than £1m in advance booking inquiries. The £24m venue in Albert Street has been built by independent operator Hotel La Tour and it is the first of five properties planned over the next five years. In a prime city centre location, the new hotel is within easy walking distance of the Bullring shopping centre and Selfridges, and both New Street and Moor Street railway stations.

Jane Schofield, Managing Director, and Adrian Colman Operations Director, celebrate the opening of Hotel La Tour Birmingham

The 90-cover Aalto Restaurant features Modern Classics inspired by Marcus Wareing with main courses ranging from £12 to £21. Dishes include Cornish sea bass with creamed leek, mussels and grain mustard; Hereford beef rib eye steak with red wine sauce, horseradish and chips and Field mushroom and thyme crumble with smoked Applewood cheese and a herb salad. At Alvar Bar, cocktails have a local theme – including The Chamberlain (named after father and son Joseph and Neville, one an MP, the other PM) – and bar snacks are available throughout the day. The Auden Rooms offers a stylish venue for business events with a choice of flexible meeting spaces, business lounge, plus a team of dedicated hosts to ensure your event goes without a hitch.

Discover more at

www.hotel-latour.co.uk

It features 174 bedrooms and suites, Aalto Restaurant inspired by Michelin-starred Chef Marcus Wareing, a stylish bar, coffee shop plus dedicated conference and events floor accommodating up to 140 delegates.

Aalto BUSINESS LUNCHES 2 courses for £9.95! Dine in 45 minutes or stay all afternoon with free wi-fi access. Available 12-2pm Monday-Friday. The company is headed up by the former management team of Hayley Conference Centres which was sold to private equity firm Permira in a £358 million deal in May 2007. Much of the private equity for the development and planned future properties has come from the sale of Hayley. Managing Director, Jane Schofield, explained: “We’ve developing a new hotel concept where the emphasis is on having helpful and hospitable people delivering superb customer service in stylish surroundings. As always, our focus is on looking after our guests so, following our March 26 opening, we’re getting on with the business of delivering great customer service.

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Book now at hotel-latour.co.uk/restaurant or call us on 0121 718 8000

Modern Classics inspired by Marcus Wareing, cooked for you by Alex Penhaligon & his team.


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:55 Page 53

On a cold blustery evening our party of seven met at Birmingham’s most exciting new venue, the Hotel La Tour’s Aalto Restaurant. We had booked the Kitchen Table, a stylish semi circular table that seats up to eight, and faces into the kitchen, enabling diners to interact with Head Chef Alex Penhaligon and his team, an experience which made the evening extra special.

with an intense depth of flavour perfectly offset by a blend of horseradish and creme fraiche. The hand cut chips were satisfyingly chunky with a good texture. We asked Daniel to recommend wines and he brought several for us to taste, we went for Loredona, a Montray Pinot Noir a warm fruity red that stood up to the steaks and Mad Fish a light, slightly spicy white with fragrant finish.

Michelin-starred Chef Marcus Wareing is the inspiration and driving force behind the brasserie style menu which Alex interprets using fresh local produce. He is very enthusiastic about the quality of our regional ingredients, and is especially keen to support small artisan producers, waxing lyrical about some of the products he is discovering.

Among the desserts the Jaffa Cake Pudding was voted a winner as was the Bread and Butter pudding with caramelised banana and rum and raisin ice cream. A carefully chosen selection of local cheeses served with walnut crisps rounded off the meal. The hotel aims to differentiate on customer service, and certainly Daniel was extremely attentive and professional without being obtrusive; our delightful waitress was very helpful but needs a little more polish for an establishment of this standing.

The Kitchen Table gave us the opportunity to discuss the menu with Alex himself, two of our party chose the starters that he recommended, the mulligatawny soup prepared with haddock, curry spice and lentils was pronounced “very tasty” and the bacon olives, “too good to share”. A choice from the lunchtime menu presented no problem, and the celeriac and roast garlic soup was served without the egg as requested and much enjoyed. Unfortunately, the Smoked Beetroot Tart was spoilt by the beetroot’s overwhelming smokiness.

We had a very pleasant, interesting evening, with good food imaginatively presented and charming service. The Kitchen Table is a great experience, and one I would recommend. Main courses range from £12 to £21 Business lunches available 12-2pm Mon to Fri: two courses for £9.95 dine in 45 minutes or stay all afternoon with free wi-fi access

Tables at Aalto Restaurant can be booked online

For the main course, our fish lover wavered between Cornish Sea Bass, creamed leek, mussels and grain mustard, and my choice, salmon served on a really delicious fennel puree. Claire was tempted by Suffolk Stew, a mixture of mutton, barley, lentils and mash before joining the rest of the party in Hereford Beef Rib Eye Steak with a red wine reduction, horseradish and chips. The 5 steaks were all brought to the table at the same time, cooked perfectly to individual taste, tender and flavoursome. The red wine reduction was superb

Visit:

www.hotel-latour.co.uk Call: 0121 718 8000

to book the Kitchen Table and for other inquiries

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:55 Page 54

Or something slightly different - previous successes include hosting the teams for a wheelchair basketball event, tumbling and badminton events and Liberal Democrat fringe gatherings. With many hotels situated in the city centre, there’s no doubt the competition is strong but Jurys Inn Birmingham is one of the leading contenders. Established nearly 11 years ago in Britain’s Second City, it is part of the Jurys Inns organisation which offers great value, stylish and comfortable accommodation in the very best city centre locations throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

The hotel team’s quest for the ultimate home-from-home stay begins the minute guests step across the threshold and experience the facilities. It could be the welcoming bar atmosphere or the relaxed quality of the restaurant. Check into the newly refurbished bedrooms and the hotel’s superb features are even more noticeable. With 445 en suite double bedrooms in total - a number of which are fully wheelchair accessible - Jurys Inn Birmingham is the largest hotel in the city centre. Spacious enough to accommodate three adults or two adults with two children, or just one guest, these well-lit relaxing spaces have been designed around occupants’ comfort and boast a range of features essential for every modern traveller. They include air-conditioning, multi-channel flat screen TV, tea and coffee refreshments dock, high-speed internet access, hair drying facilities and spacious bathrooms with complementary spa toiletries. As any modern hotelier will agree, the hotel industry is not just about providing a comfortable place to rest weary heads at night it’s providing valuable support and meeting places for dynamic businesses which demand the very best 21st century facilities.

The company was awarded Best Independent Brand at the 2012 and 2010 Business Travel awards, named Most Improved Business Brand in 2009 by BDRC, and 2012 Best Irish Hotel Chain. Based within walking distance of world-class convention centres including the National Exhibition Centre, the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena, as well as the world-leading Symphony Hall, the Birmingham Rep and the UK’s second largest retail centre, Jurys Inn Birmingham is the ideal base for business or leisure travelers. With special deals always available - such as the Friday or Saturday night Comedy Highlights offer, a family break at Cadbury World or an Advance Purchase rate when booked seven days ahead - when you’re choosing accommodation in Birmingham, this is where the jury is definitely in.

For further details & booking for Jurys Inn B’ham, Visit: www.birminghamhotels.jurysinns.com/

,ŽƚĞů&ĂĐŝůŝƟĞƐĂŶĚ^ĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ For Jurys Inn Birmingham, based in Broad Street, that’s no problem. It has a dedicated meeting floor comprising 20 modern conference rooms, with natural daylight and air-conditioning and which come complete with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, multi-media projectors, screens, audio systems, and high-speed internet access.

445 Refurbished Standard Bedrooms- Bar and Restaurant /ůĂƌŝƐƚĂŽīĞĞ-ϮϬĞĚŝĐĂƚĞĚDĞĞƟŶŐZŽŽŵƐ 25 Syndicate Rooms ->ĂƵŶĚƌLJͬƌLJͲůĞĂŶŝŶŐ &ZtŝĮƚŚƌŽƵŐŚŽƵƚƚŚĞŚŽƚĞů- Public car park on site

Whether the gathering is for two or up to 275 delegates, the hotel has the appropriate room for the event - and can cover banqueting for up to 200. With a team of meeting and event specialists dedicated to understanding individual requirements, every space can be tailored to the specific event, be it a conference, wedding, interviews or private dining.

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Tel 0870 4100 800 Visit www.birminghamhotels.jurysinns.com bookings@jurysinns.com 245 Broad Street Birmingham B1 2HQ

*rates from £49 per room per night B&B

THE verdict’s unanimous on Jurys Inn Birmingham. Every visit there is exceptional.


Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:55 Page 55

The Old Hall Country House A RIGHT royal welcome, with all the comforts of home awaits those checking in to The Old Hall at Madeley. Here is a place steeped in history; it has sheltered two crowned heads and provides a five-star welcome and luxury to bed and breakfast guests that make every one of them feel like a king or queen. Or even princesses for a day - brides eagerly bring their grooms to the 16th century country house, located in the village of Madeley, near Keele, drawn by its uniqueness as a venue, specialising in smaller celebrations of up to 70 people.

Originally a farmhouse, it was built as part of the the Crewe estate and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s believed that in Tudor times, Queen Margaret is believed to have stayed here. Famously, during the Civil War, the future Charles II hid himself from the Roundheads in its priest hole. Since Simon and Garyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arrival in 2008, the business has gone from strength to strength. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our bed and breakfast occupancy rates trebled in that time and we now get booked up for months in advance, particularly at weekends,â&#x20AC;? says Gary.

Civil ceremony or weddings, couples looking to plight their troth can choose the spectacular two-acre gardens, or a cosy indoor ceremony, complete with log fires, candles and special ambience. Event organisers also have the beautiful Tudor black and white building high on their list for meetings and conferences, its original dining room proving a perfect function/meeting room, with others available for breakaway sessions.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Launching the weddings was a particular challenge as neither of us had experience in this field but we learnt as we went, without customers realising! Now we are very experienced and our guests enjoy a seamless, relaxed and unforgettable day.â&#x20AC;? Already things are looking good for 2012, thanks to various initiatives. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a new guest lounge boasting two comfy couches, a log fire and huge 50â&#x20AC;? plasma TV so guests can enjoy themselves,â&#x20AC;? Gary explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is very common for friends and family to book all our rooms and have the house to themselves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also plan to continue expanding the weddings business and then market our unique B&B experience overseas.â&#x20AC;? The Old Hall at Madeley may date back to the 16th century but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well and truly sorted for the 21st.

For more information, visit www.theoldhallatmadeley.com For bookings and further enquiries, call 01782 752543 or email garywhite@theoldhallatmadeley.com.

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Owners Simon and Gary White really want their guests to feel at home, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re happy to give the whole building over to a celebration, be it a wedding, anniversary, christening or other special event. Parties of up to 50 can use the downstairs rooms, plus two other reception rooms and the Orangery, and have the option of a sitdown meal or buffet and the provision of a bar service. All organisers need to do is discuss their individual requirements for flexibility is one of the cornerstones of The Old Hallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success. Built circa 1530, Simon and Gary have run it as a top class bed and breakfast for more than four years, the combination of its relaxed atmosphere, luxurious and historical surroundings proving an absolute winner - as an appearance on Channel Fourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 4 In a Bed series proved. The TV competition which sees B&B owners visiting and voting on each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s establishments, was won by The Old Hall at Madeley, prompting a busy six months in the wake of the programmeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broadcast.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:55 Page 56

We are looking forward to welcoming our regular and new guests to the Holiday Inn Birmingham City. 2012 promises to be a great year with fantastic opportunities for the City. Bora Sayar, General Manager

Holiday Inn Birmingham City is a Licensed 3* modern, yet stylish hotel which offers: 241 high specification air-conditioned guestrooms with sleek flat screen TV, and a laptop safe. The double glazed windows and choice of pillows help to ensure that guests enjoy a good night’s sleep.

For further information,

Call: 0121 634 6200 Web: www.holidayinn.co.uk/birminghamcity

Charisma Design & Print are proud to support Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre and wish them continued success in the future.

It is one of the most iconic buildings in the City Centre. It opened as an Albany Hotel in 1962. By the late 70’s it was taken over by Trust House Forte then by Granada. In early 2000, it became a Holiday Inn. Since becoming a Holiday Inn the hotel has undergone a total refurbishment programme and was re-branded with the latest IHG brand standards.

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The large conference facilities are popular with events organisers, who return time and again. The Albany Suite is ideal for Weddings, Conferences, and Exhibitions.

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The hotel is proud to be one of the ‘Great Hotels Guests Love’.

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The hotel is looking forward to another busy year hosting many national and international business guests attending events at the NEC and ICC and is also a favourite stop over for local corporate clients.

They aim to carry on offering the excellent service on which they pride themselves. By measuring guests’ comments regularly, they confidently adapt to accommodate ever changing guest expectations. Their attention to detail and levels of customer service have resulted in winning the local award for resident bar, and are the proud recipients of the Torchbearer Award through EMEA .

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Birmingham Edition 32 (4):Layout 1 07/05/2012 22:55 Page 57

The Ramada Birmingham City Centre Hotel offers 5 accessible rooms. Small pets are accepted.

BIRMINGHAM CITY

The Lounge Restaurant and Bar offers traditional cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients, the superb menu offers something for everyone to enjoy, from a full English buffet breakfast, a special intimate dinner or a larger group or business event.

The Ramada city centre hotel is situated at the vibrant heart of Birmingham within the stylish Mailbox Development, and conveniently placed for the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor

Ramada Birmingham City hotel offers a conveniently located convention centre in Birmingham. Their fully equipped meeting rooms are all situated on the same floor with a spacious breakout area for coffee breaks and registration. For further information or to make a booking Arena. The location is ideal for shoppers and business people alike and provides an oasis of calm near with views of the canal to unwind with a coffee, light lunch or indulgent treat in the smart-in house Starbucks restaurant. The hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lounge bar serves drinks throughout the day and evening and has free WiFi. Staying? The Ramada offers all the facilities this luxurious chain is known for. All 90 bedrooms are en suite with power showers and offer free broadband internet access. Cots & family rooms are available. Standard rooms offer either a double bed or twin beds (two single beds). For business guests, executive rooms are available with a larger working space, mini fridge, and fresh filter coffee and enhanced toiletries. Rooms with canal views are available on request.

quick bites cafe The warmth of the welcome, and the freshness and good value of the food, brings Fresh Bitesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; customers through the door again and again, to this friendly traditional cafĂŠ, in Duke Street, Staveley. Whether for just a cuppa or a bite to eat, you are sure to find something to enjoy. For full English breakfasts, Regular at ÂŁ3.00, Whopper Breakfast Bap, ÂŁ3.45, or for those with a really hearty

Call: 0121 643 9344 reservations@ramadabirminghamcity.co.uk 4PERX%7IIH0XH EVILETT] XSFIEWWSGMEXIH[MXL 6EQEHE1EMPFS\ ERHWYTTP]XLIQ[MXL XLIMVXVSTMGEPTPERXHMWTPE]W

8IP*E\ toasties, pies and pasties, and omelettes with a good choice of fillings. Chips are served as a side or in a butty, and there is always a choice of healthy or vegetarian options. Owner Diane Davis prides herself on the standard of their food, particularly their home baked offerings, all the large pies are home made; as she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;That way, we know whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in them!â&#x20AC;? Dianeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home made scones are very popular, generously studded with sultanas or cherries they taste far superior to commercially made scones. The cafĂŠ offers a 10% discount on production of a loyalty card to schoolchildren and pensioners. Quick Bitesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; outside catering buffets are becoming increasingly popular for business meetings and family occasions due to the wide choice and quality of the food at very competitive prices, offering real value for money. For more information speak to Diane

Call: 01246 474718 Visit: www.quick-bites.co.uk Offering an extensive range of chilled, frozen and ambient foods. appetite, Monster at ÂŁ4.10, with the optional extras of hash browns or black pudding, they simply canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be beaten in the area for portion sizes and prices. Breakfasts are served from opening at 7.30 am through to closing time at 2.00pm.

all available at highly competitive prices.

They offer a great range of freshly made, generously filled, sandwiches hot or cold, to eat in or take away served on small or large cobs. There is a tasty range of jacket potatoes, burgers,

4VIQMIV5YEPMX] *SSHW0XH

Call us on 01977 613053 ;IEVITVSYHXSWYTTSVX 5YMGO&MXIW

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Fir Tree Inn

Offering warm hospitality for over 200 years, The Fir Tree Inn is situated in the village of Dunhampstead, in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside, between the Worcester – Birmingham Canal and Trench Wood.

The Fir Tree is a traditional Country Inn and Restaurant, with a fascinating history, the Murderers Bar tells the story of the Oddingley Murders, which took place nearby in the early 1800’s. But there is nothing in the least sinister about the Fir Tree nowadays, it is just a comfortable informal place to enjoy great food, drink and meet up with friends. When Martyn and Tracy Perrins took over the business as freehold proprietors, 8 years ago, it was rather run down, and their first week’s takings were so low, that they did wonder, in Martyn’s own words, whether they had been “Nuts” to take it on. However both Martyn and Tracy have many years experience in the hospitality industry, and had recognised the inn’s potential immediately. After a major refurbishment was carried out in 2007 the Fir Tree Inn provides a comfortable refuge to motorists, boaters, walkers and cyclists in search of a good meal freshly prepared from local ingredients, complemented by a comprehensive selection of Real Ales, Beers and Wines. There are two very comfortable dining areas, a sheltered patio and garden. The Fir Tree Inn prides itself on its warm informal welcome, everyone feels comfortable and at home. Their menu varies to reflect the seasonal availability of local produce and is based on the best traditional cuisine with contemporary touches. Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner, a meal for family, or a business event, lunch, bar snack, or simply a freshly prepared, and served at your table, traditional Sunday lunch. You will find something to please everyone. Open 7 days a week.

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Fir Tree Inn Dunhampstead Droitwich WR9 7JX Ring on: 01905 774094 or visit: www.thefirtreeinn.co.uk


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 11:14 Page 59

Restaurant

Review

Bangladeshi | Indian Cuisine

Thrishna is in the pretty riverside town of Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire, and specialises in authentic Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine. The cosy, candlelit restaurant provides a warm welcome and offers an extensive menu of freshly prepared dishes using home-ground spices.

We visited Thrishna early one evening for a family meal, in a large party ranging in age from mid sixties to a young baby. From the moment we stepped through the door we were made warmly welcome by Chondon Miah and his team. The staff rearranged the tables to make space for us all including the baby, and fussed over the children, chatting to them and making them just as welcome as the adults. The restaurant was established in 2007 by Miah, who has over 20 years experience of preparing and serving original and traditional Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine. The menu is very extensive, and includes many dishes, that although I enjoy Indian food, I had not

come across before. I definitely needed help! The waiters are really friendly and take real pleasure in discussing the menu with you. We chose a mixed selection from the starter menu to begin, including a mixed Tikka platter, onion bahjis, butterfly king prawns, pakoras, poppodums and pickles. My son was especially enthusiastic about the small, freshly prepared and cooked onion bahjis, which were light and crispy; a far cry from the heavy lumps one is often served. For our main courses, while the waiter suggested Chicken Korma for the children, we chose Lamb Rahad Green Herb, a delicious, medium spiced dish cooked with tomatoes, green peppers and fresh coriander; the flavours subtly enhanced by a sprinkling of ginger and a garnish of chopped spring onions. Another of the house specialities, South Indian Garlic Chilli Chicken, which is one of their more popular dishes; is steam cooked chicken, in a hot chilli garlic sauce, garnished with coriander. Hot Chicken Massala which Miah prepared to taste with extra fresh lemon juice to compliment the flavours of the spices. Lamb Rezella, a classic North Bengali dish cooked with herbs and spices, green pepper, tomatoes, butter chilli, coriander and yoghurt sauce. From the exotic fish section of the menu we had Masli Tanisha, marinated salmon, barbequed in a clay oven and served with potatoes and cauliflower and Sea Range a medium spiced selection of seafood, deep fried prawns, and tandoori king prawns. All the dishes were prepared to order, and to taste and were thoroughly enjoyed. Our waiters had guided us through the menu, discussing our choices and preferences regarding spices and relayed these to the chefs, who then, provided precisely what each of us had ordered. All the team take a great interest in making sure that you enjoy your food and will make every effort to ensure that enjoyment. Thrishna is licenced and stocks a comprehensive list of wines, beers, lagers and soft drinks. They have a take away service and offer an outside catering service.

34 Old St | Upton-upon-Severn | WR8 0HW Call: 01684 594900

VISIT www.thrishnarestaurant.com

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JAYNE Devlin has an Olympian challenge in front of her and she can’t wait to get stuck in. Jayne Devlin

The catering and hospitality management expert is working with one of the Olympics’ official hospitality caterer - Smart Event Catering - and will be on duty at the world’s biggest sporting event later this year. “I’m delighted to have been selected,” says Jayne, whose company, Devlin Consulting brings a range of hospitality expertise to some of this country’s biggest blue chip caterers and destination venues.

“My project managing role has started with client meetings and operational planning and will culminate in being on site for six weeks during the mobilisation phase and the Games themselves.” London 2012 is a real gold medal for Jayne’s Harborne-based business that is already accustomed to the winner’s podium within its sector. Having spent 12 years leading the outdoor catering division of The NEC Group, Jayne, who has also worked for four and five-star London hotels and luxury outdoor catering company Payne & Gunter, launched Devlin Consulting in 2010. “My first contract was to provide a hospitality management service to the official caterer for the Farnborough Air Show,” she recalls. “I was subsequently retained by Twycross Zoo to develop the management team and its catering product and services alongside Commercial Director Rob Bracken and this is ongoing.” Last year the client portfolio was boosted by a number of bespoke caterers who were seeking advice on tender document content and presentation and the opportunity to work with leading wedding planner Linda Cooper to project manage two ceremonies in France. In December, Jayne was appointed as venue manager for The Greatest Party Ever for Quantum Leap Events at Event City, Manchester.

established a professional management team, launched the conference and banqueting and wedding business, seen the catering spend grow while delivering a quality product using locally sourced suppliers which gives real value to customers. I believe my contribution has made a difference and created a positive legacy.” All in all it’s been a busy and exciting 18 months, with Jayne tackling the new challenges of running her own business, concentrating on building the brand and establishing strong business foundations. Now more and more prestigious companies are seeking out her services which cover project managing catering facilities at large-scale events, researching and implementing successful catering strategies, planning, auditing and tendering catering and hospitality requirement at events and venues, guidance on winning tenders and mentoring. And to broaden Devlin Consulting’s reach even further, she now has three experienced associates who can provide HR, logistics and marketing expertise. “Clients chose Devlin Consulting for various reasons,” she says. “Maybe it's because they like our long track record in the industry, perhaps it's the way we're able to quickly understand each client and get the vision they're trying to achieve. It might be because they appreciate our honesty, clarity and straightforward approach and presumably they like the fact we deliver great customer experiences and significantly boost revenues.” “Whether catering is your sole focus or part of a wider business we can help raise your standards, develop your team and strengthen your business to improve profitability.”

For further information about Devlin Consulting and its services,

Visit: www.devlinconsulting.co.uk Email: jayne@devlinconsulting.co.uk

More than just a Sunday Lunch

Offering a delicious menu featuring locally sourced ingredients from our suppliers, this fantastic Sunday Lunch is perfect for celebrations and special occasions to treat all your family and includes: r r r r r

NEW table service restaurant Reserved car parking                                Private entrance Panoramic view of aviary Delicious 3 course a la carte lunch

Adults £14.95, Children £8.95 (under 12 years old)

To book please call:

“This was very exciting as I was responsible for managing the entertainment, security, catering, licensing, for up to 1,600 guests per night,” she smiles. “My time at Twycross has also been rewarding. We have

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0844 474 1777 www.twycrosszoo.org We are 5 minutes from Junction 11 of the M42 Twycross Zoo, Burton Road, Atherstone, Warks CV9 3PX


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 11:14 Page 61

failing delivery promises

Jeopardising On Line Sales Companies Falling Down on their Delivery Promises are Jeopardising the Growth of On Line Sales GOOD communication and living up to delivery promises are key to sustained success for those offering online sales, according to two recent surveys. The studies, carried out by Prolog, one of the country’s leading privately owned communications and logistics outsourcing services companies, saw eretailers quizzed on a range of subjects, including what they offer and promise their customers regarding the delivery of their orders.

When it came to providing information, the survey found that, of those questionned, 30% of emails did not advise the expected delivery timescale for the product something of key importance to all online shoppers. Proactive customer service was even more lacking, with 60% of communications not allowing selfserve order tracking and 80% not containing a customer service contact to aid clients. Today’s fast-paced society also wants its items to be delivered more quickly - but the Prolog survey showed a huge variance in delivery promises.

CUSTOM ER SO LUTIO NS Online shopping is increasing in the UK, retailer’s delivery promises should be an important part of a retailer's plans for growth Today’s fast-paced society wants its items to be delivered more quickly

The average was 4.97 days, the best was one day and the worst was 14 days - yet, only 90.12% of the orders placed, as part of this survey, were delivered on time and within the retailer’s delivery promise.

They were also asked about how they communicated with clients during the goods order and despatch process. The surveys showed that while email is the medium of choice for the vast majority when sending out their order and despatch confirmations, information, such as the expected delivery timescale, was often lacking. And where details were provided, not only was there a wide variety in delivery promises, too many were failing to be met. The results have highlighted issues which the country’s online sales companies need to take on board, says Prolog Commercial Director Ian Dignum. "With online shopping being more popular than ever, this survey has found that there are positive lessons to be learned for all those who manage online sales within the UK,” he maintains. “They need to provide the right detail and communication channels to ensure that the customer experience is positive. “With so many companies trying to increase their market share, those that support their customers through all stages of the process will be the winners."

The studies also went on to show that customers are being charged on average £3.38 for standard delivery and £6.70 on average for the next day option. Furthermore, some e-retailers were looking to improve even further and 22.58% of those orders placed offered free standard delivery, but needed to have an average basket value of £72.86 to apply.

VISIT www.prolog.co.uk

"Online shopping is increasing in the UK and with challenges on the High Street, should be an important part of a retailer's plans for growth,” said Ian. “This part of our survey showed the significant range in promises to customers, that people will pay more for premium services, but, during the survey period, 9.88% of deliveries were not made within the retailers own promises - a figure that is simply too high to encourage customer loyalty." For more details on the survey visit www.prolog.co.uk

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offering competitive prices and quotes across the complete range of freight forwarding services. “We have a professional team that is dedicated and enthusiastic, that pays close attention to customers at all times and provides a friendly and reliable service,” says Alan.

BK NO wonder BK International Freight’s MD Alan Cave is smiling - three decades in business and a host of loyal customers and staff are all cause for celebration.

“We also enjoy strong relationship with excellent carriers, both for air and sea.” A member of BIFA (British International Freight Association), BK International Freight’s tailor-made services also include road transport, packing and personal effects along with storage facilities for those wishing to hold their goods until they are ready to be received at the destination point.

1982

Years Freight Forwarding

2012

“Thirty years of keeping customers happy and loyal - we must be doing something right!” he declares happily. “Some of our customers have been with us right from the start and many for more than 15 years while our staff are incredibly loyal too. We have one who has been with us for 23 years and others for 10.”

When it comes to moving freight by road, the company has its own fleet of vehicles covering the UK but also has established relationships with other companies to cover clients’ every need, including global trailer operators, meaning that wherever in the world an order needs to be, BK International Freight can get it there. Making sure that it gets there in one piece is a key priority too. “We can pack items of any size and of any shape,” says Alan. “We have specialist knowledge in the packing and casing of various consignments, ranging from antiques, furniture, and personal effects to automotive equipment and commercial machinery, and can provide made-to-measure pallets and cases or standard/euro-size pallets.

However, Alan and his team are not just looking back, there’s much to celebrate in the months to come, not least an extensive contract involving the transportation of telecom equipment alongside regular shipments of household effects to Cyprus. Be it air, sea or land, BK International Freight, based on the Maguire Industrial Estate in Coventry, can provide the means of moving goods around the globe; goods of all sizes and in all quantities. “We send anything from a jiffy bag to a full 40’ container,” promises Alan. In its 30-year history the company has evolved from a one-man operation handling the shipping requirements for a machine tooling company to an established member of the industry

(L-R) Bob Knight founder of BK International with current Director Alan Cave.

Export | Import Shipping | Airfreight | Courier | Transport | Export Packing | Marine Insurance | International Removals | E

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Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 11:14 Page 63

“All our cases are marked with international shipping marks to meet regulations and our wooden cases are made to withstand the constant lifting and moving and other rigours of transportation.” It’s not just the physical moving of goods - BK International Freight’s decades of expertise prove invaluable when it comes to all the associated tasks, such as arranging insurance and complying with international rules and requirements. Its very independence is also a bonus for those needing sea freight because, it is not tied to any specific shipping line nor restricted by agency agreements.

Definitely a company worth its ‘freight’ in gold. Air Conditioning & Building Services Never Ever Beaten on Price...

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For further information about BK International Freight Ltd

Visit: www.bkfreight.co.uk To make an enquiry

Call: 024 7646 4983

Fox Evans Chartered Accountants “More than your average accountant” Pleased to have acted for B.K. International Freight Limited for the past thirty years

We offer fixed fees and a free initial consultation Abbey House Manor Road Coventry CV1 2FW 024 7625 7317 enq@foxevans.co.uk visit www.foxevans.co.uk to see how we can help your business

Congratulations to B K International Freight Ltd on 30 years of trading! Towergate Insurance is pleased to provide insurance solutions to B K International Freight Ltd and wish them continued success in the future

Call Mike Orton on 07778 928289 Email: mike.orton@towergate.co.uk Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered Office: Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

movals | Export | Import Shipping | Airfreight | Courier | Transport | Export Packing | Marine Insurance | International Removals

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proud to provide the wide range of professional car tuning programmes using some of the finest equipment around. “All our software is developed inhouse using various diagnostic tools at hand and we are always keeping up with new technology to give our customers the best possible outcome,” states managing director Chris Wells. “We are constantly investing in the future of tuning and, having already reprogrammed cars for Derby Audi and other main dealers, we are increasing our already UK-wide dealer network all the time.” With prices higher than ever before and global warming concerns, the need for fuel economy and greener living has never been more important. In a world where cost savings are critical and fuel consumption key, CC Tuning Ltd is certainly putting itself on the map. The Burton upon Trent business has written more than 6,000 economy engine tuning remaps, saving thousands of pounds for private customers, companies and fleet operators across the region. Combined with its in-house custom engine control unit programming, two-wheel drive rolling road services and workshop carrying out repairs and services to all makes and models, the company is a powerful partner for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Diesel remapping, advises Chris, can provide up to 20% fuel saving and helps to lower your carbon foot print. For the non-technical, economy remapping is the mapping of a car for specific needs like better fuel consumption, or the specialised needs of modified cars. For years remapping or chipping have been the preserve of the performance vehicle market but now fleet operators and individuals are seeking to make substantial economies. CC Tuning has developed software which can not only enhance a car’s performance but also give huge savings of as much as 25%. “The products work by reorganising the software so that, in normal driving, fuel consumption is minimised by reducing the number of gear changes and the number of instances of wide open throttle,” he explains. “So, on an average of 20,000 miles a year, with fuel at £1.32 per litre, a vehicle doing 30mpg before an upgrade could save £1,092. “Add to this 7 to 15 fewer fill-ups each year and, for fleet owners that means less vehicle downtime and less expense. “If you multiply these savings to numbers of vehicles and the amount of money saved increases dramatically. “For example, a small fleet operator running 10 typical large vans, covering 40K miles per annum per vehicle would save more than £31,000 each year.”

CC Tuning aims to carry out every job to the highest quality but at the most competitive price - not just in the region but in the UK. Members of the public and trade bring their vehicles to CC Tuning’s Green Line Business Park site as well as the numerous dealers located throughout the UK. Twenty years’ motor trade experience and expertise are harnessed in the form of expertly trained technicians who are

We are a full-service remapping facility offering a wide range of professional car tuning programmes We also specialise in vehicle repair and servicing.

Call us now on 01283 515616 cctuning Unit 9 Greenline Business Park | Wellington Street Burton upon Trent | DE14 2DS

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www.cctuning.co.uk

The figures are impressive but CC Tuning sets out to be impressive in everything it does, ensuring the customer enjoys long-lived results.

To find out more about its full range of services, Visit: www.cctuning.co.uk Telephone: 01283 515616 or 07967 007 947 Email: sales@cctuning.co.uk

Performance Maps ECU Remapping Chip Tuning Economy Remaps 20% fuel efficient Mobile Service Available 814 Wolverhampton Road | Oldbury | B69 4RY | 07836 359677


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 11:15 Page 65

proud of the fact that no other tuning company spends so much time and money developing its range. Explains Paul: “An economy tune can provide up to 15% better fuel economy, although it is dependent on the vehicle - whether it’s petrol or diesel, its, age etc - and driving style. “A performance tune can result in an increase in power of up to 40% for a turbo diesel.

AWARD-winning Viezu Technologies is all revved up and raring to motor into an exciting 2012. The UK’s leading vehicle tuning company - one of the fastest growing globally - is planning to launch a host of products in the coming months, and has just become fully ISO 9001 certified, not just for its products, but the supply of ECU enhancement services including training and program development. All this while continuing to watch its dealership network expand from the current 340 across 32 countries.

“Viezu Technologies, the result of years of research, development and experience in automobile technology and car tuning, offers only the very best in custom ECU remapping, car tuning and engine tuning and uses the latest ECU programming techniques and software available to do so. “Our core technical skills are combined with a passion for outstanding performance car tuning and customer service to thousands of motorists and businesses worldwide.” Further peace of mind for those clients comes with the fact that all Viezu’s products are fully insured and come with a full money back guarantee. It was the technical skills and innovative qualities, along with some impressive figures - the company has helped motorists save 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions - that were recognised last year with the national Innovation through Technology Award 2011, following its Midlands win, at the Chamber of Commerce Awards. Viezu, a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and UK Trade & Investment, was also a finalist in the International Business category and more recently was nominated in the 2011 Midlands Business awards for Exporter of the year, Innovation in Business and Entrepreneur of the year.

CEO Paul Busby and his team of ten know exactly what it is to be tuned to perfection. At its state-of-the-art training and research centre on Bromsgrove’s Aston Fields Industrial Estate, Viezu specialises in a range of tuning upgrades and services for just about every modern petrol and turbo-diesel vehicle, resulting in either improved fuel economy and the lowering of CO2, or performance. If required, it can provide a bespoke combination of both, thus enhancing the overall driving experience, and it is also a soughtafter research and development establishment, carrying out special projects for select customers and organisations. All tuning files are developed on its 300bhp environmentally controlled rolling road and emission testing system and Viezu is

Straightline PERFORMANCE

Specialist for for all Audi Audi,, V Volkswagen, olkswagen, SSkoda koda & SE SEAT AT servicing, ser vicing, mechanical repai repairs r s and perf per performance formance tuning

All in all there are plenty of reasons to welcome in the new year at Viezu and plenty of new products to look out for, including the award-winning Blue Optimize fuel economy tuning. 2012 is starting on a really high note for this tuning specialist.

For further information about the company and its services, including a range of experience days for the true motoring enthusiast, Visit: www.viezu.com Telephone: 01527 579 345 Email: info@viezu.com

SGM

Performance Engineering

SGM Sports Limited, Unit 132 Hartlebury Trading Estate DY10 4JB tel: 01299 250009 www. sgmsportsltd.com

ECU Remapping in Kidderminster and the surrounding areas Sales and Servicing Specialists for Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin and Maserati

PM P M AUTO AUTO ELECTRICS

MOBILE M OBILE A AUTOMOTIVE UTOMOTIVE ELECTRICAL SPECIALIST

TEL: 01664 852 605 MOBILE: OBILE: 07828 617 080

are pleased to be associated with

Viezu Technologies Ltd a: Unit 1, Spring Lane North, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 1BU t: 01684 566 656 w: www.straightlineperformance.co.uk

 Diagnostics - 99.9% of Makes & Models  Remapping / Engine TTuning  Keys & Immobilizers

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Windmill Collection

CLASSIC motors and traditional friendly, top-class service plus the most modern of facilities for the 21st century motorist can all be found under Birmingham’s Windmill Motors roof.

known since he was a baby and has been with us since he left college. Our driver/delivery man Michael has been with us about 15 years. We’re a very close-knit team.” But the customer loyalty is not confined to Birmingham - through its established - and esteemed - classic car sales division, Windmill Motors has a strong network of clients and contacts that spans the globe. “I’ve sold cars all over Europe, in Australia, America and up and down this country,” says Mike. “People will buy vehicles from me now from a description of the car and photos that I give them, they don’t always come and see them.

Here is where the day-to-day requirements of today’s drivers MOTs, repairs and servicing - are catered for while the sales division focuses entirely on the golden age of motoring’s past. Windmill Motors is Birmingham’s only classic car dealership. Founded in 1972 by by Mike Yarm, he and his expert team pride themselves on their seamless integration of the motoring ages.

“We say that if, when we deliver, they don’t like it you don’t have to have it but we’ve never had one back.” Apart from Mike himself, albeit under different circumstances. A classic car is not just for Christmas it seems.

“We don’t do restorations of classic cars,” he points out, “but we do have customers with semi-modern classics like MGBs and Morris Minors, things like that as we’re good with those –it’s hard to find a mechanic who can do carburettors nowadays. “Sometimes people think we only do old cars but we don’t, we do everything: general servicing and MOTS. We don’t do bodywork on site but we’ve enjoyed a close professional relationship with a very good bodyman for many years whom we recommend to clients.

He owns three himself: a Mk 1 Jaguar, a 1959 Mercedes and a 1929 Rover - which has been in his possession on five separate occasions. He explains: “The first owner had it for 40 years and it spent 30 in a museum. After that it came back into the trade and, over the next 10 year period it was returned to me five times. The last time it came back my wife said ‘I think it’s trying to tell you something’ and we kept it.” For further information about the full range of motoring services available from Windmill Motors or to see a selection of classic cars currently for sale, go to www.windmillmotors.co.uk. Opening times are Mondays-Fridays from 9am-6pm and on Sundays (most weeks, ring first to check), from 10am-1pm. To make an enquiry,

Call: 0121 427 4050 Email: yarm30@hotmail.com

www.windmillmotors.co.uk “Our prices are very competitive and we have access to the latest diagnostic equipment for the most up-to-date vehicles.” It’s the friendly personal service that has resulted in strong customer loyalty throughout the area, with many on first-name term with Mike and his staff of six, all of whom have spent years with the business.

Congratulations to the

Windmill Collection

PARTS 4 CARS GROUP Jaguar - Daimler - MG - Triumph - MX5 - Mini - Morris Minor

With more than 25 years experience in the industry we have the knowledge and understanding to

“Christine Humphries, who does our books, was here when I came 28 years ago while our main mechanic Mark Hawkins has been with me for 25 years,” reveals Mike.

ensure customer satisfaction for classic and modern vehicles. Don’t forget our unique part numbering system that tells you if a part is Genuine Jaguar, OE manufactured or a high quality replacement, this lets you know exactly what you’re getting. Give us a call or visit our website where you can view prices, stock availability and securely purchase

“I have a part-time mechanic, Martin, who has been here for 15 years while our junior mechanic is Mark’s son Daniel who I’ve

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your parts the fast way!

0121 544 40 40


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:43 Page 67

Clamouring for space on the accreditations wall is British Standard ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, IIP and ConstructionLine and awards for its conservation work and Small Business of the Year 2005. Only last December it picked up another plaudit - being cited by the Forum for the Built Environment, for its contribution to a flagship low carbon housing development in Derby. PLANS to site outsize handbags around London for a big publicity drive were suddenly threatened by safety concerns - until GCA (UK) Ltd got involved. It was 2pm on a Friday afternoon last November when Westminster City Council contacted the Company, desperately needing calculations to validate the stability of the huge structures which were due to be erected in Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square among other places.

“We’re a family run business with strong ethical values and always strive to build good relationships with clients,” says Geoff. “We strongly believe that, through our extensive engineering experience we can provide significant added value combined with dedicated, personal service. “For example, we have a long relationship with Birmingham Airport and have been providing civil and structural services to JCB for more than 30 years.” Happy to enjoy long-term professional relationships, GCA always welcomes new initiatives. It recently won a three-year commission from Birmingham City Council for structural appraisal of its Building Regulations applications and, as the market recovers and opportunities arrive, is actively planning expansion with the firm intention of opening a Birmingham office later this year. 2012, it seems, is in the handbag.

For further information about GCA (UK) Ltd Visit: www.gca-consulting.com Email: info@gca-consulting.com Telephone: 01332 362411

However it didn’t take long for GCA’s unflappable, always professional number crunchers to resolve the problem.

............................................................................................................................

The required calculations were on their client’s desk by 9.30am the next day - and the handbags were erected as scheduled. Not every job undertaken by GCA requires such a fast turnaround but it enabled the company to demonstrate just why its civil, structural and highway engineering professional services are in such demand from public and private clients in all sectors “We pride ourselves on being able to apply our engineering knowledge to add value to any project,” says Chairman Geoff Collett. “We can provide advice from the earliest feasibility stage through to detailed design and construction with services including the design of new-build, repairs, alterations and refurbishment, appraisal of existing structures, pre-purchase inspections and appraisals. “We also handle CDM Co-ordinator and Party Wall Surveyor work.” Established in Derby in 1975, GCA also has offices in Stafford, Warwick, Leicester, Worcester and a staff of highly experienced engineers working in all construction sectors, on projects across the UK ranging from multi-million pound landmark buildings to small-scale domestic work. Its chartered engineers and technicians are accompanied by an impressive list of professional qualifications, memberships and awards, including: the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Architectural Technicians, the Institution of Engineering & Technology, the Institution of Highways & Transportation, the Association for Project Management and the Steel Construction Institute.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:43 Page 68

Practical Minds Shop Fitting

Exhibitions

Point of Purchase

“We have provided full design and installation services ranging from small coffee shops and leisure park retail units to full department stores both nationally and internationally,” he adds.

WHEN Nottingham’s Practical Minds team celebrated its move into new, larger premises recently, the occasion marked the culmination of three and a half years’ determination, hard work and success. Managing director Andrew Winstanley is the first to admit that launching a top-class shopfitting service in the economically harsh October 2008 meant the going was initially tough - but the tough got going and, thanks to sheer grit and persistence, plus a quality cost-effective service, the company is now well and truly on the shopfitting map.

“We recently completed a number successful fitout projects, including a collaboration with London agency Barber Design on Robbie Williams���s new clothing brand concessions, Farrell, in numerous House of Fraser stores throughout the UK. “Our professional approach and our understanding of customers' expectations ensure that we offer a quality, cost-effective solution, with commitment and integrity, taking the stress of a project away from the client, allowing them to concentrate on their day-to-day business.” A key part of Practical Minds’ success is its access to a core of reliable and cost-effective suppliers.

No longer operating out of a small loft office on a farm between Derby and Nottingham, it is housed in a 22,000 sq ft building in the city centre, which incorporates a full workshop, spray shop and storage facilities. The company has also re-launched its website www.practicalminds.co.uk - providing an upmarket window on its work.

Explains Andrew: “Our large base of contractors and suppliers enables us to establish cost-effective budgets from the early stage of a project, providing clients with clear, accurate and honest advice that supports effective project decisions before significant development costs have been incurred. “From these vital early phases, our team then manages the project material procurement, design and construction processes, employing robust programme and cost management techniques to ensure timely, cost-effective implementation.” Critical to ongoing development, is the feedback Practical Minds welcomes from its clients - it’s not enough for the team members just to sign off a project and congratulate themselves on a job well done.

“Feedback enables us to not only promote ourselves but is also a useful tool to judge our performance on each project and look for ways to constantly improve the services we offer,” says Andrew.

Practical Minds is proud to offer a full and comprehensive firstclass shopfitting service covering all aspects of a project; from shopfront and roller shutters to the installation of flooring, suspended ceilings, walls, joinery, shelving, cash desks, fixtures and fittings, specialist panelling, skirting as well as plumbing, electrical and mechanical services. All the services are undertaken by skilled teams of tradesmen who are, in turn, managed and controlled by experienced project managers with more than 25 years of individual experience in the business and, indeed, it is the vast industry knowledge accumulated by the entire team that, says Andrew, ensures clients’ expectations are met and that they have peace of mind.

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To see some of the glowing testimonials or to find out more about Practical Minds visit the website

Visit: www.practicalminds.co.uk Call: 0115 9865575

www.leeglass.com

LeeGlass Lee Glaass

Est 1967

Nottinghamshire’s glazing ng and double glazing experts

are pleased to be associated with

Practical Practic cal Mindss a: Unit 7, Charles Way, Cinderhilll Road, Bulw Bulwell, lwell, Nott Nottingham ttingham ngham NG NG66 8R 8RF RF t: 0115 927 9647 f: 0115 927 849 8490 90 e: salesc salescounters@leeglass.com counters@ ters@leeglass.com


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:43 Page 69

JMSS

OLAR

Established 1978

JMS Solar is part of the established family run specialist roofing company JMS Roofing and Building Ltd which was established in 1978. JMS already had a widely spread client base in both the commercial and domestic sectors, when Jude Kennefick, second generation, decided to build on their existing expertise and move into the rapidly growing field of solar panels, and set up JMS Solar. At JMS, they believe that the main beneficiary of solar energy should be the customer, and know from experience that customers want realistic pay back periods and factual feed in tariff estimates, technical assurance and the reassurance of support once the technology has been installed.

The sun is certainly shining on the project, with the company achieving the sought after MCS accreditation in June 2011. This accreditation gives customers access to the government’s feed in tariff which guarantees them a minimum payment for all electricity generated whether you are using it for yourself or not. The tariff (rate) for the electricity exported to the national grid is guaranteed for 25 years. Tariffs are even index-linked so the income will hold its value for the entire life of the installation. Despite an unexpected recent reduction the the Feed in Tariff rate, the technology still remains an attractive investment opportunity. The price of solar components has recently come down dramatically allowing JMS to offer complete installations at a much more affordable cost.

Serving the local community for over 30 years, JMS Solar has earned itself an outstanding reputation for guaranteed workmanship and customer care. So if you are considering Solar Panels, and want to be able to rely on good, honest experienced advice from a well established company, backed by comprehensive insurance guarantees.

Contact JMS Solar on 0121 442 4942 or visit their website www.jmssolar.co.uk

JMS JM SS

O OLAR

Established hed 1978

Save bills generate your own energy

The JMS Solar Team The benefits of solar photovoltaic energy aren’t limited to homeowners – JMS Solar has found that the technology is also a great investment for the commercial and business sector. As well as offering great financial returns, it also has numerous environmental benefits. With energy costs constantly rising, along with environmental and political negatives, Solar offers a clean green energy for our homes and businesses that doesn't cost the earth.

0121 442 4942 www.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:43 Page 70

HADLEY & CO IT may have been a tough few years but hard work and determination are really paying off for Richard Hadley, the partners and the rest of the property team.

(Lettings Manager) and their diligent staff.” acknowledges Richard.

In just a few short years - and through one of the toughest economic climates in a lifetime - he has taken Hadley & Co from a home-based business to a respected part of the Redditch business scene, responsible for the care of many millions of pounds worth of clients' property assets throughout the region.

He launched the company in 2004 and, quickly gaining a reputation for quality, professional and personalised services tailored to clients’ needs, within two years was able to move from home to, first, a serviced office and then commercial premises.

In fact, ask him what his greatest business challenge has been to date and he admits - getting through 2009.

“A year later we moved to a larger office and then in 2008 to Church Green East,” says Richard. “We currently fully manage around 180 properties, 80% of them within Redditch and the outlying area, with properties in Bromsgrove, Alvechurch, Dudley, Alcester and Solihull. “We have to act for more than 800 properties from let only and renewals to full management and now have a prominent position in the residential sales market and a growing commercial property department.” “We moved to very large prestigious offices in Church Green East, Redditch in 2008, I had my first child shortly afterwards and that, with a combination of the world going into meltdown, was tough,” he admits.

Years of professional experience and listening to clients' requirements have enabled Richard and his team to develop and provide the full range of services in a way designed to give peace of mind and achieve the best results.

“We also started selling property which came with additional overheads. However that, due to a lot of hard work, is now paying off and we have built up an extremely good reputation which I am proud of. However, I have to learn you cannot please all the people all of the time.”

Underpinning everything is the skilled and qualified staff’s indepth knowledge of all aspects of property while efficient administration and up-to-date management and office software systems bring additional strength. “This means we are able to satisfy the requirements of clients in this varied and ever changing market,” says Richard who keeps his eye firmly on the future and potential opportunities, such as expanding the portfolio by taking on further areas. “It has long been my aspiration to move into Bromsgrove & Solihull in a large way,” he additionally reveals. He’s also spotted the potential of the internet, suggesting that a web based approach could help the company expand into Solihull - and beyond? “I believe that if a business offers first-class services there is really no need to have high street offices,” he maintains. “The internet and other correspondence methods are becoming the norm for communicating in business.”

Today, with an ever-growing portfolio, Hadley & Co is one of the largest letting agents in the district and now also renowned for offering high quality estate agency in general. “In no small part due to my partners, Steven Cruickshank MNAEA (Sales Director), Richard Potter (Commercial Director), Kathryn Loynes

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For further information about Hadley and Co and its services, visit www.hadleyandco.co.uk To make an enquiry, telephone 01527 60889 or email info@hadleyandco.co.uk


Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:43 Page 71

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hawkstone P

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Hawkstone Properties Plc is a privately owned Property Development and Investment Company, founded by Philip Noott in 1997.

recent downturn in the market, and which means that they are now well placed to take advantage of the expected recovery over the next few years.

Their main area of business is developing retail, office, residential and leisure schemes across the UK, which once completed, are generally retained as part of their long term investment portfolio, which currently has a value in excess of £125m.

Hawkstone are in the process of developing a number of larger sites with joint venture partners. These include construction companies, investors and property funds, all keen to take advantage of the expertise that Hawkstone have to offer, enabling a mutual benefit to both parties through the development process. A recent example, Hawkstone have just exchanged contracts on a site in Kent where they will create a retail led scheme of up to 40,000 sq ft.

Boston Shopping Park, Boston This former ASDA food store was redeveloped in 2005 into a 110,000 sq ft Retail Park with open A1 consent. Tenants include Morrison's food store, Brantano, Home Bargains, Sports Direct and TK Maxx. This development is held within the investment portfolio.

Hawkstone are actively seeking new development opportunities throughout the UK, in a variety of sectors including retail – in and out of town, supermarkets, hotel, office and mixed use. For further information on live projects or to introduce new opportunities please do not hesitate to contact Andy Kirton, Managing Director, or Simon Handslip, Development Manager on 01562 886670 Andy@hpplc.com / Simon@hpplc.com

the key to our success is our They also work in partnership with some of the UK’s leading financial institutions, and use their expertise and contacts to assist them both with the redevelopment of assets within their existing portfolio, and with new opportunities which Hawkstone introduce to them. One of the key strengths of Hawkstone is their in-house expertise in construction and project management. They are able to add significant additional value by having the ability to analyse costs, manage the professional team, procure the build and oversee the construction, delivering an institutionally acceptable product at the end of the project.

Professional Expertise

Davygate, York: A joint venture with Standard Life Investment Fund which involved the redevelopment of a 1960’s retail block adjacent to a Grade I listed church, and incorporating a Grade II listed chapel. The scheme was completed and let to Borders Books, JJB Sports and French Connection. Their success over the last 15 years is a direct result of the close working relationships they have maintained with tenants, agents, banks, financial institutions and consultants. It is these relationships which have enabled them to successfully survive the

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Our competitive prices, range of products and efficient service have given us an excellent reputation with customers and suppliers and we are now able to supply other merchants in the area.â&#x20AC;?

Y^hXdjciWj^aYZgh YEARS of helping the professionals and members of the public with their construction projects mean that Discount Builders Merchants is living up to its name - building a successful reputation for itself. Part of the Birmingham-based Gill Group of companies, the business (DBM) is also continuing to build in size, with its sights firmly fixed on opening more depots around the Midlands.

Raj is proud of his companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to offer one of the largest stock ranges for an independent merchant in the region, from bricks (more than one million in stock) and blocks, fencing and decking, and accessories to insulation, roofing, doors and slabs in fact every household DIY need imaginable. Corporate clients are also well served, with building contractors of all sizes, private developers, housing associations and businesses from the rail construction industry also on its order books. If, in the rare instance DMB doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have exactly what the customer needs, its knowledgeable, expert and friendly staff are more than happy to source it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are fortunate enough to have built excellent relationships with numerous suppliers over the years and can now obtain and offer competitive prices on all requirements,â&#x20AC;? says Raj. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our personal service is just one of the things that gives us the edge on our competitors and our committed staff are happy to help and answer any questions that you have about the products we sell.â&#x20AC;? The depots are open from 8.30am-5.30pm seven days a week and the company operates a 24-hour turnaround for the delivery of goods within the yards until 5pm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Working as a team to achieve the overall aim of growing sales profitably, DBM works on the principle that if you have the right people with a great attitude, carrying out the right activities, with the appropriate skills, that you will get the right result,â&#x20AC;? comments Raj.

DBM currently has four sizeable depots, in Tipton, Handsworth, Kent and Medway, and all are fully equipped to serve its domestic and commercial clients and packed with a vast range of products at fully competitive prices. Each is between one and two acres in size and operates a large fleet of crane off -load vehicles. In Tipton and Handsworth alone, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just been one long success story for DBM. The Tipton branch was the first to open, in 2002, with Handsworth, also serving as a major distribution centre, opening in 2008. In that time, reports managing director Raj Gill, DBM has started manufacturing its own concrete products and sales have tripled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We started from a small individual depot with a single vehicle yet, through our continued effort to provide customers with an excellent service, we have been able to expand rapidly,â&#x20AC;? he states. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have an extensive fleet of vehicles ranging from transit vans up to articulated lorries and this vast range enables us to send the most suitable vehicle, thus minimizing costs and pollution.

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Birmingham Edition 32 (6):Layout 1 09/05/2012 10:44 Page 74

echatherm THE chill winds of economic hardship may be putting the freeze on the activities of many companies - but the only thing on ice at Mechatherm International Ltd is the champagne. This year glasses are being raised to toast the West Midlands company’s spectacular feat of achieving a cumulative total turnover of £200 million since 1991. The pause for congratulations will be momentary however, as Mechatherm, which has been designing and supplying equipment predominantly for the aluminium industry since 1973, is pushing on with its goal to attain a £20 million annual turnover. That should be no problem for this forward-thinking, innovative and worldleading manufacturer, which has done nothing but progress in stature, size and turnover from the start. “We have become a worldwide brand-name for melting, holding and heat treatment furnaces,” says Managing Director Chris Emes. “We specialise in equipment for casthouse technology, including all types of melting furnaces, casting equipment and ancillary equipment to complete a turnkey aluminium process line. “We also provide air recirculation heat treatment and re-heating furnaces for flat, rolled, forged, extruded and cast products for the aluminium market.” More than 50 people, mainly professional and experienced engineers with some administrative staff, are based at Mechatherm’s office in Kingswinford, from where it oversees its global operation - but its reach was not always so far. The company was launched as Mechatherm Engineering by the fathers of Chris and Chairman Andrew Riley, Bryan Emes and Lou Riley, together with a third engineer John Gardner. Those early days saw the business focus on aluminium heat treatment, extrusion and steel with most of the custom UK based - with some exports to South Africa, Europe Scandinavia and the Middle East. Annual turnover was soon marching upwards, from £2-3million to £15million over the years and, in 1991, when Andrew and Chris became the major shareholders upon the retirement of the founder members, exports rose dramatically. With the move reflected in its name change to Mechatherm International Ltd, orders from the Far East, Middle East and Australia accounted for up to 90% of the company’s business during the 1990s.

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“Our commercial turnover has fluctuated between £10 and 12 million consistently over the past few years and is forecast to increase even further over the next few years,” says Chris. “This success has enabled Mechatherm to become very commercially sound and enjoy good banking facilities, ensuring we can continually overcome the arduous commercial challenges in processing multi-million pound projects.” Not every project is a multimillion pound scheme though; ever flexible, the company’s work covers all sizes, right down to small existing equipment re-builds. “Our projects can either be 'part supply', where we only supply detailed design, critical items and assistance for installation and commissioning and the client would then supply all steelwork, refractories, pipework etc to our design drawings and specifications,” explains Chris. “However, the majority of schemes are for 'turnkey' supply, where the client awards a single source contract for the supply of our equipment plus the ancillary equipment required for the overall process. “We then complete all the project management and co-ordination between client and subcontractors.”

S&H Installations specialists in furnaces

are pleased to be associated with Mechatherm International and wish them all the best a: 9 Long Lane | Fradley | Lichfield | Staffordshire | WS13 8NS t: 01283 790740 e: sh_installations@hotmail.com

Wright Electrical SERVICES We are proud to support

Mechatherm International and wish them luck in the future Stafford Court . Boundary Industrial Estate . Wolverhampton . WV10 7EL t: 01902 780060


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All Mechatherm’s equipment is custom engineered to suit’ individual requirements; its expert personnel working closely with them to design and supply the optimum equipment for the specification. A combination of design concepts based on proven technology and experience gained during this period, forward thinking and new innovative ideas ensures that the end result features the latest available technology. With its order book spanning the globe, the staff has considerable expertise in customising furnace designs to suit specific locations, local standards and regulations and the clients’ own specific internal standards. “We use many different contractors for the fabrication, component supply and labour usually locally to where the equipment will be installed,” adds Chris. “We have a wide network and good relationship with many local fabrication and construction companies and also work closely with our licensees and local collaborators / partners to service the many different continents in which we operate. “We have working partners in Thailand, China, South Africa, Russia and India plus many other worldwide non exclusivity agreements with local representatives.” The absence of parent companies, external shareholders or any other third parties, he adds, means active, unhindered and efficient roles in the company's activities. It almost goes without saying that you don’t become a worldwide brand name without a certain commitment to quality and, for Mechatherm, quality is infused with everything it does and always has been. It was certified with ISO9001 in 1992 and has further improved on this with a fully comprehensive 'Total Quality Management' program, which every single person in the business has signed up to, and ongoing implementation of the 'Investors in People' scheme, a status originally achieved in 2001. “To achieve our goal of 100% customer satisfaction we realise we have to continuously develop the knowledge, skills and competencies of our most important asset - our people,” adds Chris.

“Therefore employee training and development is critically important. These needs are regularly assed via our ongoing appraisal scheme and training needs are constantly planned, implemented and their effectiveness reviewed.” The efforts to provide and supply only the very best are not just being rewarded by business success, Mechatherm, a member” of the British Industrial Furnace Constructors Association, TMS, USA and America’s Aluminium Association, is now the proud holder of a lengthy list of awards. They include: the Queen’s Award for Export (1996), the Queen’s Award for Enterprise - International Trade (2001), Exporter of the Year Award (2008), the West Midlands Regional Winner for Export Achievement (1998) and Growing Business Awards (1999). For Mechatherm and its workforce there’s much to look back on with pride - and there’s much to look forward to. There’ve been many challenges - technical, legal, financial and logistical - along the way and, doubtless, many more to come but Chris, who sees the company’s growth to its current level of turnover as one of his biggest business achievements remains practical. “Engineering,” he states with a smile, “is a long learning curve.”

echatherm

For more information about Mechatherm and its services,

Visit: www.mechatherm.com Telephone: 01384 279132 Email: sales@mechatherm.co.uk

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Unit 27-28, Industrial Estate, East Goscote, Leicester, LE7 3SL Tel: 0116 260 1001 Fax: 0116 264 0186 e-mail: design@andrewshydraulics.co.uk Web Site: www.andrewshydraulics.co.uk

Proud to supply Mechatherm International Ltd with Hydraulic Power Units, Manifolds & System Design Support

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The powerhouse behind this drive to the top is Eurofilms Extrusion’s new state-of-the-art bespoke 70,000sq ft extrusion and warehouse facility which operates on a 24/7 basis and contains the latest film extrusion lines and technologically advanced rewind systems.

TELFORD’S Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd may be the largest of its kind in the UK but it’s determined to be top of the wraps in Europe too.

Add to this the exciting new product manufacturing developments of the hugely successful Euro-lite stretch film pallet wrap range and the arrival of new thinner 12 and 15 micron film production for standard machine pallet wrap film products, and it looks as if the top Euro-slot is unlikely to be far away.

Based in Shropshire, at the centre of the UK’s plastic processing industry, the company manufactures pallet wrap stretch film, collation shrink film and a wide selection of other flexible film products which it delivers the length and breadth of the country and into Europe. And it’s Europe that is offering even greater opportunity for a business which prides itself on its continuous investment in product development and an ever-expanding production capacity that keeps it at the forefront of the latest film developments. Last year alone saw 15% to 18% of Eurofilms Extrusion’s production exported to France, Benelux and Germany but, as chairman Graham Humphreys explains, the target is boost that figure to 50% to mainland Europe by 2013. “Collectively these countries are a far bigger market for industrial pallet wrap stretch film than the UK,” he points out. “We are currently the number two manufacturer of pallet wrap pre-stretch films within Europe, marketed under our Euro-lite range, and our continuous investment policy signifies our commitment to supporting our very important customer base we are striving to be number one!”

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“Our continuous investment in product development and everexpanding production capacity have allowed us to be a highly successful market leader and ensures our customers are always benefiting from packaging cost efficiencies,” says Graham. “We will continue to grow and invest. “We can pass on dramatic savings to clients through improved yields, and the added benefit of using less film and, therefore, increased environmental benefits, for these and waste savings are always at the forefront of our product development strategy.” Of course, the drive to succeed has never been at the expense of sound business sense and Graham says one of the big challenges has been to ensure that Eurofilms Extrusion has constantly ensured its medium and long capital investment timing is in line with market and product developments. “It involves essential planning and good future market insight, and it’s critical to ensure all areas of the business, including sales and finance, align and keep pace with large asset purchases,” he says.

CORES FOR PLASTIC FILMS AND FLEXIBLE PACKAGING Corenso develops and supplies tailor-made solutions for the special needs of the flexible packaging and plastic film industries, paying particular attention to smoothness, strength and dimensional stability. We also produce a wide variety of edge protectors for strengthening packaging and protecting of goods during transportation and warehousing

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www.corenso.com www. .corenso.com


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It’s certainly a challenge that has been overcome, however. From it’s launch in 1995, Eurofilms Extrusion has grown to the extent that its turnover today is almost £25 million. It’s only a matter of time before the European top spot will be all wrapped up.

Sheldon Clayton

logistics group

For further information about Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd, Visit: www.eurofilms.com Call: 01952 60 66 33 Email: sales@eurofilms.com

Sheldon Clayton Logistics Group in conjunction with Mike Williams Haulage are proud to be supporting Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd with their warehousing and national distribution

0121 520 7070 www.sheldonclaytongroup.co.uk

email: solutions@sheldonclaytongroup.co.uk

fax: 0121 521 5919

Cygnus Point, Black Country New Road, West Bromwich B70 0BD

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Growth through tough economic times AUTO TIME solutions

During the turbulent economic conditions of the past few years, many businesses across the UK have struggled but Birmingham based time and attendance specialist Auto Time Solutions is a remarkable exception having bucked the trend to record strong year-on-year growth for the past three years.

technology to ensure we’re at the forefront of the industry and this has paid dividends. “Since the recession more and more companies have recognised the cost savings that can be achieved through the accurate monitoring of staff time and attendance. When you consider that staff typically account for up to 80% of a company’s overall costs, it’s an area that cannot be overlooked. “Traditional ‘9 to 5’ jobs are gradually becoming a thing of the past and have been replaced in many businesses by flexible working practices and complex 24/7 shift patterns, so companies need systems in place to help them stay in control.” Auto Time attributes much of its success to its continued product development and innovative use of technology to create solutions to meet customers’ needs.

The company is a leading supplier of time and attendance solutions and is at the cutting edge of the latest technology, offering an extensive range of time management solutions including swipe card and proximity systems as well as the latest biometric and web-based applications. Its products are used across a wide variety of industries across the UK to monitor the working time of employees – including facilities management, manufacturing, retail, leisure, recruitment and sports stadiums. Over the past couple of years Auto Time has secured significant contract wins and has strengthened its position within the industry through the formation of key partnership agreements which have helped the company to enhance its product range and customer service delivery. In the past 12 months alone Auto Time’s turnover has grown by 25% with a contracted 52% increase already secured for this year. The company is well placed for increasing future growth and is currently looking to expand its sales force in 2012. Christian Berenger, Business Development Director at Auto Time explains the reasons behind the company’s success during the economic downturn. He says: “To be able to experience growth during this economic climate has been a tremendous achievement. Over the past few years we’ve invested heavily in the latest

Auto Time’s recent performance has been fuelled by the successful launch of its flagship product Vanquish, an advanced mobile workforce management solution that allows businesses to centrally manage mulitple sites and remote workers. With Vanquish workers can verify their attendance using biometric Handpunch and fingerprint terminals as well as web-enabled devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, which communicate via GPRS mobile networks so that managers can monitor the time and attendance of their employees wherever their location. This allows organisations to be increasingly flexible with their working patterns and enable staff to work from home if need be. Vanquish offers a host of features that enable companies to pro–actively manage staff attendance and absences, and remove the administrative burden and errors associated with processing manual timesheets.

For further information call 0121 773 7222 80


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Furthermore the system assists companies with their compliance to EU Working Time Regulations and Health and Safety legislations. Christian says: “At Auto Time we are always striving to be at the cutting edge of innovative workforce management solutions. With Vanquish we’ve created a whole new platform for mobile workforce management by gathering real-time data from web-enabled devices. “As well as ensuring the welfare of remote workers, our customers can also turn this data into meaningful information to automate the payroll process, pro-actively manage absences and remove the burden of manual timesheets." Since the launch of Vanquish, Auto Time has enjoyed overwhelming success in industry sectors that supply low margin services such as the contract cleaning industry and most notably the recruitment sector, where it has quickly established itself as an essential industry tool in assisting agencies with the management of temporary staff and with their compliance to new Agency Workers Regulations. Christian adds: “We’re pleased that our efforts over the past couple of years have produced such great results. We feel that we have laid the cornerstone for future growth and are excited by the opportunities that the next 12 months may bring.”

For more information contact

0121 773 7222

case study 1 Drayton Manor Theme Park clocks on with Auto Time Auto Time Solutions has successfully installed a biometric time and attendance system at Drayton Manor Theme Park to manage the working time of over 500 part-time personnel employed during the park’s peak visitor period. Prior to the installation the theme park was operating 12 different time management solutions at ten locations throughout the park. Due to this diverse range of time management equipment on site it was proving difficult for the HR department at Drayton Manor to monitor which staff were present on site at any one time. Auto Time Solutions successfully replaced the system with an integrated web-based solution with 10 biometric terminals located across the park. The new system allows the HR department to centrally manage its staff and run comprehensive reports on individuals’ time and attendance records.

helping recruitment agencies conform to AWR regulations Recruitment agencies across the UK are harnessing the features of Auto Time’s flagship product, Vanquish, to assist them in their compliance with new Agency Workers Regulations. The Agency Workers Regulations, which came into force on 1 October 2011 represented the biggest change regarding the employment of temporary staff, with workers now receiving the same pay and conditions as permanent staff at the same employer after 12 weeks on assignment. To support agencies with their compliance to AWR Auto Time have made significant developments to Vanquish to protect them from unknown breaches of the regulation. This includes an alert system which identifies and highlights to managers when workers are approaching the 12 week qualifying period, whilst scheduling features enable managers to plan their resources more effectively. In addition Vanquish is helping recruitment agencies with the administration of travel and subsistence dispensation schemes by recording evidence and storing history of employee claims.

The software highlights to management when areas of the park are short staffed and when staff fail to attend work. This is vital in areas of the park where animals need cleaning out and feeding, for security issues, and for the safety of the general public on the rides. As well as automating the time and attendance process the biometric solution has also helped to streamline the payroll process, which now takes only two to four hours to complete. Clare Beasley from Drayton Manor says: “Instead of processing everyone’s clock card, the HR department can now simply look at a screen to monitor the staff in the park. The report facilities also allow us to look in depth at employee attendance and features like that will prove very helpful as the theme park continues to expand. “A key priority for us was to ensure that the new system did not cause disruption for our users, particularly in the run up to the peak season. Auto Time understood the impact this would have on the theme park and made sure the solution was implemented professionally and in line with our requirements.”

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case study 2 Auto Time scores with The Blues! New time and attendance solution assists Birmingham City FC with management of Conference & Matchday hospitality staff Auto Time Solutions has helped Birmingham City Football Club to streamline its payroll process and improve the health and safety of its 160 Conference and Matchday staff with the successful installation of a time and attendance system at St Andrews.

The software has also helped to improve the health and safety of Conference & Hospitality workers on matchdays as management at the stadium can now see in real-time which staff have registered their attendance at any given time.

For a long time staff had to register their attendance on matchdays using manual timesheets which were calculated, formulated onto a spreadsheet and then emailed to the club’s payroll department.

Carol Deakin from Birmingham City Football Club says: “It is absolutely imperative that we monitor the time and attendance of our conference/events and hospitality matchday staff. “With Auto:Time Premium we know at a glance in real-time which members of staff are on the premises at any given time. This is essential not only for health and safety reasons but also in the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out at the stadium.

Over time this was proving a time consuming task to perform and was often open to administrative errors. To help automate and streamline the entire process, the club sought a solution which would allow them to automatically verify workers’ attendance in real-time and ensure payroll accuracy. The club commissioned Auto Time Solutions to install two proximity clocking terminals linked to Auto:Time Premium, a powerful time and attendance software solution.

“The software also helps us monitor the levels of staffing hours, which in turn has improved the accuracy of our payroll process and eradicated disputes over hours worked by staff.

Clocking On (from left to right) Adam Lamb from Birmingham City Football Club pictured with James Manning, Business Development Manager at Auto Time Solutions.

The software accurately monitors the start and finish times of Conference and Hospitality Matchday workers, and automatically calculates the hours which they have worked. This has helped to streamline the payroll process which now only takes approximately ½ hour to complete compared to 4 ½ hours when manual timesheets had to be calculated previously.

“I highly recommend Auto Time Solutions. Any queries I have with the system is just one phone call away and there is always someone on hand to assist me.”

All staff data is stored in the system and if any member of staff has a payroll query the information is instantly accessible at the touch of a button rather than having to trawl through endless sheets of paperwork. This has made liaising with the payroll department much easier for staff. Meanwhile any discrepancies and disputes about hours worked have been removed as staff attendance is now documented in ‘black and white’.

For further information call 0121 773 7222 82


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Valen Fittings boosts payroll efficiency with biometric solution Valen Fittings, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of specialist butt weld fittings based in Walsall, has replaced its card clocking system with an advanced biometric solution installed by Auto Time Solutions. As a manufacturer employing 80 members of staff, of which 20 employees work night shifts, it is essential for Valen Fittings to have an accurate time and attendance system to ensure an efficient payroll process. For many years Valen Fittings used a conventional magstripe card clocking system to monitor staff time but this was proving inadequate at managing the shift patterns worked by employees and subsequently increased the workload placed on the desks of the company’s payroll staff.

s d r a c t s o P es n i z a g a M

All employee data is instantly relayed to the company server – without the need for human intervention – from which managers can check the arrival time of each employee. By gaining immediate confirmation of staff attendance managers are able to confirm that employees have clocked in and out as scheduled.

TEL 0121 457 4810 EMAIL sales@heronpress.co.uk WEB www.heronpress.co.uk

With the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Jubilee, European football championships, Wimbledon and London Olympics all taking place during the summer in addition to the general school holiday period, businesses could be faced with more requests for time off than normal. James Manning, Business Development Manager at Auto Time Solutions says: “Workforce absence is a constant concern for employers, but one which could peak this year between June and August because of the Jubilee Weekend, Euro 2012 and the London Olympics all taking place within a short period of time. “With people across the UK attending Olympic events and others looking to stay home to watch their favourite sporting events on television, employers could see a significant increase in absences, both planned and unscheduled.” Auto Time’s advanced time and attendance systems can help businesses to significantly reduce the impact of absenteeism by accurately managing staff attendance and complex working patterns.

Having recently extended their premises Valen Fittings saw it as a perfect time to ‘modernise’ their time and attendance system with an advanced biometric solution linked to Auto:Time Express software. When staff now clock in they simply place their hand on a handscan terminal and their identity is verified within seconds. Because the system measures the shape and height of the hand it guarantees that all clocking in transactions are genuine and eliminates buddy punching – the act of people clocking in for one another.

Key-R ings

Employers urged to prepare for ‘Summer of Sickies’

Nigel Genner, Operations Director from Valen Fittings says: “The new biometric system verifies staff identity in seconds so we can see almost instantly which staff are on site at any given time. This has made the administrative process more efficient, resulting in increased cost savings and a more accurate payroll process. “Not only that but the introduction of the biometric system has also improved our compliance to Health and Safety standards as the system is able to automatically generate roll call reports in the event of an on-site emergency.”

Auto Time's workforce management solutions can help you manage your staff more efficiently while reducing administrative burden and operational costs. To experience these benefits for yourself why not take advantage of our exclusive

FREE Proof of Concept trial* ...plus enjoy 12 months free system support with this offer!

AUTO TIME solutions

Call us now on 0121 773 7222 *Subject to terms and conditions. Offer must end 31st May 2012.

or visit www.autotime.co.uk or email sales@autotime.co.uk


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