Leeds manufacturer, Pland Stainless, has reported a positive 10% growth in sales during 2021, despite the market challenges faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty. The business, which has been manufacturing stainless steel products, mainly for the commercial market since 1919, has seen the largest growth on bespoke made-to-measure products from all sectors including healthcare, catering, secure accommodation, and education.
Pland had a busy year all round with lots of investment secured in the business too. They purchased and have been trialling two robots for welding and polishing, designed to be used for repetitive tasks, particularly where vibration causes health and safety concerns for their skilled polishers. They have had a new guillotine machine installed, a new heavy lifting machine for stainless steel sheets, additional space heaters for the building and new racking for storage.
The building, which has been occupied by Pland for over 100 years, also required some maintenance and during 2021 they re-covered parts of the roof and disposed of a 60-year-old press no longer in use. The press, which weighed in at 80 tonnes, had to be cut in half to be removed at a cost of over £16,000. All this as well as investing in more finished stock to secure supply and maintain lead times for customers.
“2021 was a busy year for everyone at Pland, but a successful one and it’s all credit to the team that we achieved so much in very challenging and uncertain times.” Said Steve Duree, MD of Pland Stainless, who has over 40 years of service with the business.
“We have to plan our steel supply a year in advance and submit our intended usage to our supplier. Forecasting is never an exact science, but it was particularly difficult in the current climate. Our stockholding has increased by around 25% to ensure continuity of supply and all at a time when overall steel prices were running around 18-25% higher than the prior year.”
Pland Stainless managed to finish the year without any price increases being passed to their customers, albeit in January 2022 they have had to succumb to a 6% product increase. In a business where there is so much fluctuation in raw material prices and a need to constantly invest in the latest, expensive machinery and technology, the experience of the team has a massive contribution to its success. Pland’s employee retention record is certainly above average with a number of employees achieving over 30 years of service with the business. It employs traditionally skilled craftsmen and continually recruits apprentices to learn and continue the trades. It’s this experience and knowledge, coming from years in the market, that has helped Pland make the right choices over the past two years, helping it to grow in unprecedented times.