‘We believe in looking after our workforce’

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P&B Metal Components’ Sheffield plant started out as part of precious metals refining and manufacturing business Engelhard Industries, and used to be based at Windsor Street in Attercliffe.

The precious metals side of the business went on to become Solpro, while the manufacturing business was acquired by P&B – a competitor at the time – in 1990.

Ten years later, the company moved to the purpose-built factory it now occupies on Acres Hill Lane.

Operations director Jonathan Howard puts a lot of the factory’s success down to being part of a family firm.

“We are lucky we are owned by a family business, rather than a corporate, as all the money gets put back in to developing the company and getting it ready to take the next step,” he says.

That hasn’t made P&B immune from a changing world.

The company had to cutback and introduce automation to retain business when customers started manufacturing in low wage economies, but it has managed to win through in the current recession thanks to decisions taken in previous years to streamline the business and invest in new premises and new technology.

Investment continues to be made in buying and developing new machines, some of which are designed to run unmanned, and the company has also invested in water treatment and cleaning systems that exceed legal requirements.

The company also believes in investing in its people – and the result is a comparatively low staff turnover.

“I have been here for 26 years and there are many like me. We believe in looking after the workforce and that if we look after them, they usually stay,” says Mr Howard.