Firsteel, the specialist coil metal coating company, is undergoing a £1m investment programme, to secure its future and enable it to increase its capacity and efficiency. Recently local MP Valerie Vaz visited the company, along with Paul Jones, CEO of the Northern Automotive Alliance, and What More director Tony Grimshaw to see how they could support their future growth.
One of only two specialist suppliers of this nature in the UK, Firsteel process steel and coat it with non-stick paint for the bakeware and automotive industries amongst others. Parent company What More UK acquired the business to secure their supply chain and enable them to maintain their proud Made in Britain status.
Discussions around the future of the British steel industry ensued, and the importance of decarbonisation and digitisation as key priorities for the future. The Northern Automotive Alliance can also support Firsteel going forward with training to meet supply chain standards required for large companies such as Jaguar Land Rover. The automotive industry is worth £78bn turnover in the UK alone, which makes it key for Firsteel to expand into further.
200,000 people work directly for the automotive industry in the UK, making it a key part of British manufacturing. With 800,000 working in the wider sector, and automotive adding £16bn to the UK economy (GVA), having a secure supply chain is key to supporting the industry.
Ms Vaz was impressed with the facilities and the commitment of the team, and commented: “I'm here at Firsteel where I'm watching the product being made right in the heart of my constituency. It's really important to protect our British manufacturing industry. I'm here with the Northern Automotive Alliance who are representing the automotive industry. It's great to see manufacturing thriving in Walsall South, and I want to see it continue!”
Paul Jones added: “It’s great to be here today with the team at Firsteel. They’ve got a real hidden gem here in terms of their capability making coated strip steel product predominantly for the baking industry, but also for automotive.
"It’s good to see the investment going on here, and also good to see cross party political engagement. We've had the local MP for Wallsall, Valerie Vaz, here this morning and we've had some really constructive discussions about the way forward.”
General manager Paul Didlick commented: “It’s been great to show off our facilities and capabilities, and also to have meaningful discussions about how we can progress in the future, including investing in our apprentices. Many thanks to our visitors for coming in, and hopefully this is the start of a great relationship!”
You can see a video of the visit here
Firsteel are a specialist supplier of coil coated steel for many different manufacturing uses, founded in 1957. The Firsteel business was a global pioneer in the development of continuously coated ‘non-stick’ products supplied into the bakeware sector. If you’d like to know more about them, visit their website www.firsteel.co.uk
Parent company What More UK manufacture metal and plastic housewares of all kinds, from around the sink items to garden, garage and officewares. What More is a proud member of Made in Britain and they export UK branded goods to 76 countries around the world, in addition to every major UK supermarket and another 1600 independent retailers.
For more information about What More UK visit www.whatmoreuk.com