Solarglide set to double workforce after weathering turbulent year

Solarglide Limited is preparing to double its workforce after weathering a turbulent time to forecast a 30% increase in turnover

Solarglide's range of products includes specialist blinds for ships and oil rigs
Solarglide's range of products includes specialist blinds for ships and oil rigs

A maritime navigation company is preparing to double its workforce after weathering a turbulent time to forecast a 30% increase in turnover.

Solarglide Limited said it expects to see sales to rise to £600,000 in the next 12 months, a substantial increase at the seven-strong firm which has grown to compromise offices in Newcastle, Blyth and Durham as well as a manufacturing site in Cramlington since it was established in 2008.

Headquartered in Hoults Yard, Byker, the family-run firm plans to double its workforce to 14 in the coming months following a successful year producing navigational products for ships and oil rigs worldwide.

Having battled through a tough global recession, the company has seen a surge in demand for its products, prompting it to invest heavily in its social media strategy to increase brand awareness and drive new business.

The company, which also has four production staff based at its manufacturing site, already operates on an international scale with a network of agents around the globe selling its range of products including solar screens, privacy blinds, window wipers and navigational products for seafarers and the firm boasts a collection of international clients including influential marine architects and airport control towers.

It plans to launch a string of lots of new products in 2014, as well as making substantial investments in new recruits. The company’s focus in 2013 has centered around product design, functionality, testing and market preparation and it will continue to develop its growth strategy now that is has relocated to a larger premises at Hoults Yard.

Commercial director Paul Pringle said: “We have a loyal list of existing customers and we have seen a large increase in new customers coming to us. We have also increased our distributor and international agency network and developed our marketing strategy.

“The maritime industry suffered badly from the global recession with lots of large shipping companies and shipyards going into administration. Many organisations suffered huge losses from a decline in international trade and a large increase in fuel and bunkering costs. However things appear to be getting a lot better for us.

“We export 95% of our products internationally. The majority of our customers are ‘moving’ vessels so the destination of our goods could literally be anywhere in the world.

“Our plan is to increase our UK team and we will be recruiting new personnel within 2013 to be stationed at our new larger head office at Hoults Yard. I knew I wanted to be close to Newcastle city centre, and I wanted a place with the opportunity to expand with easy access for freight forwarders and couriers.”

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