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Date: 31/07/2018 | By: Kevin Brent

Funding received by Think Aluminium from WBA has
delivered huge benefits to its production process

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The Company:

The business was founded by owner Duncan Rutter in 2015
after using capital from selling shares in a windows company
he had previously established.Duncan established Think
Aluminium after wanting to branch out to further develop his
ideas surrounding the production of low volume but high
specification products instead of the high-volume offerings
which dominate the fenestration market.
Designing his own range of extruded aluminium window
profiles, Duncan was able to have dialogue with a major UK
supplier of door and window systems which resulted in
investment into his designs. Think Aluminium still produce these designs along with a complete range
of high specification products, including the latest bi-folding and sliding doors, plus casement and
‘tilt-n-turn’ windows.
The company also specialises in complex designs and irregular-shaped frames for barn conversions or
glazed gable ends.

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The Challenge:

The new business was suitably financed initially, but locating an affordable local factory with kerb
appeal, access for large supplier vehicles, sufficient working height space, ample lighting levels and a
pleasant working environment was no easy task.
However, the biggest challenge facing Think Aluminium was not about locating the right premises or
generating business – it was in finding the right quality of suitably-qualified employees to join the
team.
Duncan and his original works manager decided to set up their own internal training scheme to train
new employees to their high standards in conjunction with an integrated training course through an
industry body. But with this came the fresh challenge of a strain on time management and outgoings
related to dedicated training time facing a new company.

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The Solution:

Assisted by an advisor attached to the Worcestershire Business Accelerator Programme, Duncan was
assisted by an initial grant towards setting up costs as well as several hours of consultancy support
through BizSmart.Further funding from the Worcestershire County Council scheme allowed Think
Aluminium to fast-track their growth by purchasing a CNC mitre saw which in turn gave the company

an improved ability to expand its product line.
“We were greatly encouraged from the onset with the help
and guidance from the Wyre Forest team in Kidderminster
who were able to promote Think Aluminium towards an
initial grant of £2,500 for new business development and
setting up costs,” said director Ken Rutter.
“From this initial introduction at the Kidderminster office
we had visits to the factory to see and view progress, and
they were fully instrumental in putting us in touch with the
team at Worcester who were also keen to engage suitable
businesses into their Business Accelerator Programme.
“All throughout, our company was encouraged to consider
what might best suit its progression and growth, and it was
then that discussions took place towards improving both quality and output by the purchase of a
CNC double mitre saw.
“Normally, such a machine would be out of reach for a new business like Think Aluminium, but
fortune favoured the brave, and a suitable reconditioned machine came on to the market at a cost of
£26,000, instead of £100,000 for a new one.
“The grant available was 45% of the purchase price excluding VAT, thus the final sum made available
was approximately £11k with the rest being raised by ourselves.”

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The Results:

Support from Worcestershire County Council has allowed Think Aluminium to deliver huge benefits
to its production process. The purchases made from the Business Support Programme grant directly
improved the quality of cut materials by ensuring complex angular trimming is quick, precise, and
computer controlled. This step change in quality has led to a rise in product demand and, in turn,
the creation of two further jobs.
Forecasts currently suggest an annual turnover increase from £120,000 to £220,000 over the next two
years. Further increases in efficiency levels could achieve a £263,000 turnover, thereby significantly
improving profitability from £13,000 to £78,000 by 2020.
“We now look forward to a great 2018,” said Ken.
“A big thank you to the Worcestershire County Council and BizSmart teams in recognising our potential,
and then speedily assisting us through the process of the grant application, it’s approval, and finally
the funding.”

 

The WBA programme is managed by Worcestershire County Council, and delivered by BizSmart Ltd.

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