Employees at a Northumberland manufacturing company which faced going out of business less than a year ago will receive a share of the profits if the firm’s new growth strategy proves successful.
Solar Capture Technologies specialises in the research, development and production of photovoltaic systems, harnessing sunlight to provide sustainable energy for a range of end uses.
The future looked bleak for the Blyth-based firm when its Swedish parent company went into administration earlier this year. However, a local businessman with a career in advanced manufacturing and renewable energy stepped in and immediately set to work on establishing a new commercial focus for the business.
Steve Caseley bought all of the shares in what was previously trading as Narec Solar and relaunched the business as Solar Capture Technologies in April 2013.
“The business and its workforce had gone through an incredibly difficult period of uncertainty and while I knew we still faced great challenges ahead, my first task was to secure the employment of our best people,” he said.
“The nature of our work demands a team of highly-intelligent physicists, chemists and operators and while we always had these, we were clearly lacking commercial focus so I looked outside of the business for support.”
Caseley turned to Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading provider of specialist business coaching, which has established a base in Ashington from where it will deliver the Business Northumberland High Growth Programme.
This £1.35m programme offers businesses in the county support to reach their full growth potential.
Programme manager Mike Jobson said: “It was very clear to me from our first meeting that Steve was a very driven and focused businessman with strong commercial acumen on a personal level. Our task was to help him spread that focus across the business.”
Jobson worked with Caseley to develop a strategy to improve Solar Capture Technologies’ approach to customer relations by aligning the business more closely with its target markets.
The company has now identified markets and applications for its innovative product range, including road-side signage, rail network maintenance, mobile and remote communications and off-shore oil and gas.
Caseley said: “As well as coaching me and my team, Mike has really challenged all of us to review the way we worked individually and collectively and we’re already seeing the benefits with a much healthier looking order book and plenty of leads to follow up.”
Jobson added: “Solar Capture technologies is a much leaner organisation now so everybody in the team has a key role to play.”
Solar Capture Technologies now employs 14 people at its site in Blyth and the company is planning further recruitment in order to meet the increasing customer demand.