Business Masters: Focusing on the Manufacturer categories

HEAVYWEIGHT manufacturers will be fighting it out at’s West Midlands Business Masters Awards 2014 next month.

Amongst the three shortlisted companies in the Manufacturer (Large) category – presented here in alphabetical order – is Birmingham’s Aston Manor Cider.

It is a business with sales in excess of £110m a year operating in the region’s thriving food and drink manufacturing sector.

It is the largest independent cider maker in the UK and its managing director Gordon Johncox joined Prime Minister David Cameron on an important trade missions to China in December.

It will be competing against Coventry-based Brose UK which is on a rapid growth trajectory. Between April last year and March 2014 the firm, a component supplier to automotive businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, added more than £35m of annual sales to its turnover, increased its workforce by 50% and invested more than £15m in new machinery and a second site.

The third contender for the large manufacturer crown – celebrating the region’s top manufacturer with a £25m+ turnover – is Smethwick-based Hadley Group, Europe’s largest independent cold roll-forming manufacturer.

The firm has continued to invest in research and development and has a dedicated mill, solely for prototyping new and refining existing products.

Its Ultra STEEL process utilises a lighter gauge of metal to achieve the strength and performance standards of a heavier gauge.

Meanwhile, in the Manufacturer (SME) category – for firms with annual turnover of below £25m – Mereway Kitchens will compete for the award against RDM Group and Teal Patents.

Birmingham’s Mereway Kitchens re-assessed its entire operation during the recession and introduced a three point plan which included staff development, effective use of machinery and assistance to retailers.

The company is now growing quickly and has an annual turnover of £22m.

It has now launched Mereway Bedrooms to sit alongside its kitchen manufacturing operation.

It will be competing against Coventry-based RDM Group, which develops technological advancements to aid the automotive sector.

The company says it thrives on innovation, both in the way it develops new products and the way it delivers advanced solutions to the automotive sector.

The third company shortlisted by the judges in this category is Solihull-based Teal Patents which designs and manufactures mobile and portable hand wash stations.

Currently producing more than 12,000 units a year, the firm manages to turn orders around in 24 hours because of the need for speed when containing the spread of infection.

The shortlisted firms will go forward to our gala awards dinner at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on June 18 when the winners will be announced – but only after all the shortlisted businesses are interviewed.

We will be looking at the shortlisted companies in the various categories of the awards every day week.

West Midlands businesses have signed up to be sponsors of the Masters. They include law firm Higgs & Sons and automotive sector manufacturer Sertec.

If you would like to join them as a sponsor of these prestigious awards please call Brett Murray on 07875 499667 or email him at

Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be obtained by following the link below.


Those attending the Masters Awards who want to stay in Birmingham that night are being offered a special room rate at the Hilton Garden Inn in Brindleyplace.

Those wishing to book should call the hotel on 0121 643 1003, choose option 2 and quote GECGA to obtain the £99.00 bed and breakfast rate.

To read more about the Masters click here



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