Step inside the workshop at Mayflower Engineering and everyone appears to be hitting something with a hammer.
And those who aren’t are noisily grinding, welding, spraying, drilling and lifting large pieces of metal from one spot to another.
With 50 projects underway, the 80-strong business on Coleridge Road, Attercliffe, is enjoying its best period for 10 years – and is set to double in size over the next three, according to boss Kevan Bingham.
He spent years on the shopfloor before buying the company in 2008 – just as the world was plunged into five “terrible” years of recession. The next four were about building Mayflower back up to its original size.
Today it has an illustrious list of customers and contracts including Rolls Royce, Liberty Special Steels, a retractable roof at Wimbledon, locks, lifting bridges and even a laser-guided piling rig that dug the foundations for The Shard in London.
Mayflower is also about to launch a production line making ‘mini’ piling rigs that attach to JCB diggers, in a deal set to add £1m turnover a year.
So its rude health and huge potential are a source of pride.
Kevan said: “We are going to grow and it feels good. We used to think that because we make nice engineering kit people were going to come to us.
“We have changed, we are more sales focused and we’ve got young people coming in. They really inspire us to move the business forward. They’ve not got the scars and that enthusiasm is rubbing off on people. I want to leave something better than I took on.”
In 2008, almost half of business was making heavy machinery for the steel industry. Today it also serves the oil and gas, renewable energy, water, defence, construction and rail sectors.
But it’s not just about being highly skilled, the firm has a new attitude of “chasing down” every opportunity going.
The high point was a £400,000 grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership for a plasma cutting machine which can slice through thick slabs of steel.
It received a management training grant from Sheffield City Council and, under another scheme, received half the £15,000 cost of a customer management system.
Kevan said: “We’d never had anything until four years ago. We used to think if it sounds too good it’s a con. Now, if there’s money to be had we chase it down.”
MADE IN SHEFFIELD HELPS US WIN BUSINESS WHEREVER WE GO
“I joined Made in Sheffield as soon as I could. I couldn’t believe it cost so little, I never even questioned it. It helps us win business everywhere we go.”
Mayflower engineering boss Kevan Bingham is one of the organisation’s great champions.
“I’m born and bred in Sheffield. To be in this position is enough for me. I’m proud to be part of Made in Sheffield and to be rubbing shoulders with some great business names. We don’t export, but our clients use that name to sell their products.
“We have to compete with eastern European companies, but you don’t get the quality like our products.”