A company which provides quality and recruitment services to automotive, aerospace and rail manufacturers, utilising technology, has announced ambitious plans to double its turnover.

Smart Manufacturing Solutions, SMS Ltd, started with just three people when it launched in November 2020, when the country was in the thick of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Today, it employs a team of 10 office staff, who are based from its headquarters at Byron House on Seaham Grange Industrial Estate, and 10 offsite management staff, while also having over 100 quality inspectors working on a sub-contract basis within OEM’s and Tier One manufacturing firms across the North East region.

The team behind the growth of the business, Pete Williams, Craig Wood and Adam Smith, are now looking to take the business to the next level, with plans to increase turnover from £1.6m to around £3.2m by expanding its client portfolio, staff and inspector headcount.

Pete Williams and Craig Wood came up with the business idea after the two worked together in the Midlands, and were frustrated at the lack of support that quality containment companies were offering.

Pete said: “We launched the business at probably the worst time, as we were in and out of lockdown and the economy was on its knees.

“However, for us it was an opportunity to streamline our processes and get the correct managerial systems in place. It also allowed us the time to gain our 9001,1401,27001 and 45001 ISO accreditations.

“Since then we’ve secured several high profile automotive manufacturing clients which supply directly into Nissan and other OEM’s. Our aim now is to raise the profile of the business so our potential clients know exactly what we can offer.”

SMS offers expert solutions which enhance production and quality levels for its clients. This is done via an app which enables SMS to accurately record client data. This also ensures that SMS is now fully paperless with all operating processes supporting their environmental vision and Net Zero targets.

The company provides a managed service of experienced team leaders and inspectors, who are integrated into companies to quality-check parts before they’re packed ready for distribution or sequenced onto line.

Through its recruitment arm, which is managed by Adam Smith, SMS sources the very best in current and future talent and fully vet them to ensure they’re placing the right people in the right positions. The thorough process also involves internal managers from the team pre-interviewing the candidates before sending them over to their clients.

Adam said: “When Pete and Craig were in the development stages of the business, I was running my own recruitment firm, which specialises in the oil and gas industry. A mutual friend introduced us, and it was clear from the first meeting that there was a synergy between the three of us, so we decided to create SMS, allowing us to become a fully integrated provider of quality and recruitment services under one roof.”

SMS has recently signed a three-year Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Cummins Engines in Darlington and a further three-year SLA with a Tier One supplier in Newton Aycliffe, adding to its growing portfolio of clients within the automotive industry. The aim now is to add further clients within the aerospace and rail industries as part of its plans for growth during 2022.

Craig added: “We fully understand our industry because we worked in it, we lived and breathed it for many many years, and we believe this gives us a real advantage.

“We’re also visible on the factory floor, we embed ourselves within the businesses we support, so we can fully understand their needs and can come up with solutions which improve their production and efficiency levels.”

Adam added: ‘’People say three is a crowd but in our case it’s a good thing – we all bring our own experience and expertise to the table and that is what has helped us grow when many businesses were struggling due to the pandemic.”