A Birmingham manufacturing firm has celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special reception for the Lord Mayor of Birmingham alongside an open day for customers and suppliers.
In 1963, engineer Roger Williams spotted a gap in the market for a lightweight pedestrian stacking truck and, five decades after founding Wilmat, the company is still going strong.
One of its best selling product lines, the Diamond Stacker, is still based on one of Mr Williams’ original designs and has since evolved to meet a wide range of customer applications.
"Over the past half century we’ve developed an extensive product portfolio that also includes tow tractors, scissor lift tables, stackers, prime movers, cranes, and platform trucks," he explained. "We’ve also established ourself as a leading provider of bespoke handling products."
Key to the company’s success has been a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of British manufacturing, a commitment that’s proved particularly important in the face of imports from overseas, particularly the Far East.
"There have been some tough times, but we’ve now survived four recessions. To do this we’ve continued to innovate and evolve but never lost sight of our commitment to customers."
Following a management buyout six years ago, day-to-day running of the company has been in the capable hands of Managing Director Teresa Hands and Technical Director Andrew Capella, with Mr Williams retaining the role of Chairman.
Wilmat now looks set to contunue flying the flag for small to medium-sized manufacturers. Such companies play a vital role to the West Midlands economy – a fact recognised by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mike Leddy.
Speaking during Wilmat’s birthday celebration, Councillor Leddy said: "Birmingham is built on manufacturing, both big and small. It contributes greatly to the local economy."
"Today’s GDP is heavily dependent on manufacturing and I am delighted to say the region is the only one that can boast a positive GDP, this is entirely because of the manufacturing business throughout greater Birmingham."