For Tinsley Bridge July 2012 marks the completion of 25 years as a privately owned business. The company history stretches back to 1841, but in 1987 the business returned to private ownership with a Management Buy Out from British Steel Corporation.
In the period since the MBO, the pace of change has accelerated significantly, both in terms of external markets and in Tinsley Bridge’s internal design and manufacture capabilities. “Being a business where the shareholding, executive board and manufacturing plant are all in one location gives us significant benefits. We have the ability to change quickly and take advantage of new opportunities” says Mark Webber, Managing Director.
At the time of the MBO, the business was almost 100% automotive with little emphasis on exports. Today, global exports account for 70% of output. The expanded Group structure consists of three award winning engineering companies. Together they provide a highly responsive, flexible and customer focused range of specialist engineering facilities and technologies. “The innovative spirit that led the company to develop the world’s first parabolic leaf spring, still drives the company today” comments Mark. “We have successfully established new companies in Tyzack Machine Knives and Tinsley Bridge Engineering, and entered new markets including Defence, Rail, Renewables, Waste Recycling, Machine Tools, Steel, Scrap and Demolition.”
Supported by the financial stability of the Group and large scale engineering facilities of a 6 hectare site, the company now has new ambitions. “An innovation led culture is the key to our future. We recently developed our high strength Extralite™ torsion bars for use in armoured defence vehicles. The performance advantages they delivered have made them extremely successful and there is potential for other applications. To ensure our design and manufacture capabilities remain world class we continue to invest in new technology and equipment for all three businesses”.
Most recently the company received an R&D funding award from Innovate UK, who focus on strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology. Mark Webber says “We are expanding research and development work, and engage with a number of leading Universities and Research Institutions to accelerate development of the next generation of products. This will provide competitive advantage to our customers and ensure Sheffield’s manufacturing legacy in specialist engineering remains in years to come”.
We recognise that the future is dependent on the quality and commitment of all our people. Today, Tinsley Bridge employs over 170 people including new talent at every level. However, there is a core of 30 people within the staff and shop floor who were there at the buyout, who have been a cornerstone to the successes in a rapidly changing world.