It has been a busy three years for Precision Technology Supplies Ltd (PTS) with the company moving into a new warehouse, tripling its storage capacity; as well as being acquired by Trifast plc to become part of the TR family – all whilst experiencing continuous growth.
Highly regarded as a distributor of stainless steel industrial fastenings and precision turned parts, PTS has always been focused on delivering high-quality products and services. “From the very beginning when we started with micro screws, which we are still known for today, we have always concentrated on supplying the very best quality products and a first class service,” states Jason Collyer, managing director at PTS. “However, we now have around 43,000 products available to customers and can supply a whole host of products and sizes – selling to around 80 countries directly through our well established distributor network.”
PTS’ commitment to continuously grow its product range was a key factor in the company moving to a new site in 2016, which was situated only a few hundred metres away on the same road. “We had been at our previous site for 12 years and throughout that time we grew steadily and as we did, we kept adding additional warehousing,” explains Andy Knight, sales director at PTS. “We got heavily involved in importing the larger diameters in much larger volumes and we simply had nowhere to put it. It just got to the point where the growth of the business was at such a pace we needed to move.”
The new warehouse has taken PTS’ storage capacity from 11,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet (3,716m2). “It was the perfect site, but it did need a lot of restructuring,” points out Jason. “Before we moved in, we installed new racking, relaid the floor, and created an open plan office. We then moved in over the UK bank holiday at the end of May 2016 – to minimise disruption to services.”
With the additional capacity, PTS continued to develop its product range and by the middle of 2018 was once again starting to struggle for space. “When we first moved in, we thought it would be enough to last us for the foreseeable future, but we filled it very quickly,” says Andy with a smile. “Thankfully, there was an opportunity to buy another unit situated directly behind our warehouse, which we did. It required us moving some security fencing, so both buildings where on the same plot, but this was fairly easy and if anything has made the unloading and loading of products easier.”
The new warehouse was once again fitted with racking and dedicated solely to bulk products. “It is literally floor to ceiling of racking,” points out Jason. “We wanted to use up as much of the available space as possible, but the problem is it has only been 12 months and we are already starting to fill up that capacity as well. Thankfully, we still have other opportunities open to us for further warehousing on the current site if needed. So it is a case of seeing how we continue to develop in the future.”
PTS puts its continuous growth down to it having the right stock and quality, as well as the ability to offer the right price and service to customers. “We are known in the industry for doing things ‘the right way’,” mentions Andy. “For instance, when we add a new product we look to include the complete range, rather than just adding a few popular sizes. Obviously, some sizes move quicker than others, but it is about getting your capabilities out into the market. If your customers are confident you will have the range of products they need, in stock, then they come to rely on you and that is when you can build a long‑term partnership.”
Just as important as the relationship it has with its customers, is the partnerships PTS has created with its manufacturers. “Being in the industry for as long as we have, we know the manufacturers and their capabilities,” explains Jason. “Similar to with the customers, we have built long-term partnerships with key suppliers and stuck with them through the good and the difficult times. This means not only can we be confident in the quality of the products, we also know we can count on a consistent and reliable supply.”
Jason continues: “A key factor for us when sourcing products is that unless we have seen the manufacturing, we do not purchase from the company. For all of our suppliers we have visited their factories and we regularly carry out sampling of products. You need to have complete trust in your suppliers and work with them so you both benefit from the partnership.”
Joining the TR family
The most recent development for PTS was in April 2018, when it was announced Trifast Plc had acquired the company, with it becoming a stand-alone business within the TR family. “We had been approached by a number of companies and we looked at which one could take us forward and TR undoubtedly fitted the bill,” states Jason. “We have known the team at TR for many years, and joining them is a great opportunity for everyone at PTS.”
Jason adds: “The two businesses are very complementary, we know a lot about the stainless steel sector and the pool of knowledge at TR regarding plastics, steel, and self-clinching is huge. We can learn from each other’s experience and that will help everybody to grow. In addition, both companies have very similar attitudes towards supporting customers, as well as suppliers, and that was very important for us.”
“When the acquisition was confirmed we brought everybody together – from the warehouse to the offices – and made sure all the employees were aware of what was happening and where we were looking to go in the future,” mentions Andy. “Without our staff we would not be where we are today, so it was vital everybody was onboard.”
Andy continues: “It has now been 10 months since the acquisition and it has been business as usual. We are only 15 miles away from TR, but we have been left to carry on doing what we have done so well for the last 30 years. The only difference is we now benefit from the Group’s services such as HR, marketing, and global sales services, which will open-up international markets and access to TR’s wider customer network.”
Looking to grow
So what is the next step for PTS? “It is about continuing to become the ‘one stop shop’ that we have always targeted – to make it easy for customers to buy any products,” states Jason. “To do this we need to have the range and the depth of products, rather than mass volume. Going forward, availability will continue to be key. Everybody knows where to go if they want to buy five pallets of one particular product. However, it is about being able to supply boxes of different products – all from one source.”
“We will also continue to add key brands and high-quality products where possible, according to customers demands,” points out Andy. “A few years ago we added the BUMAX® range of brands, which has been very successful for us. We are extremely proud to be connected to such a well known and strong brand in the market. Having such a renowned brand on our website has been tremendous and we have found that when customers are buying the BUMAX brand they are buying other products as well.”
PTS’ webshop has proven very popular with its customers and has evolved a lot since it was first introduced. “Our website has been a big success for us,” says Jason. “We are always developing the site, which is now multilingual, has multi-currency options, includes 3D models of every item – including dimensional data – and includes various search options to make it as easy as possible for customers to find products with just a couple of clicks.”
The company is also currently in the process of introducing a new barcoding system that will help it streamline its processes. “The aim is to improve the efficiency and control the product and traceability – down to the tightest possibility,” states Andy. “We can then provide reports for customers as and when they need them.”
“We are already able to provide traceability, but it involves paperwork and is a little long winded,” explains Jason. “To ensure we benefit from the barcoding system as much as possible we involved our warehouse staff on their thoughts and the features they would like. By getting them onboard at the start of the process you can make sure they buy into the process and the system.”
Jason concludes: “We are always looking at the next opportunity to grow as a business, whether that is through our products, our services, or by targeting new markets. We are committed to providing the overall package and provide customers with a first class service, supported by the highest quality products – from stock.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 10 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.