Tony Snowdon Tell us a little about FTL Seals?
FTL Seals Technology began in Leeds in 1973, originally fabricating flexible steel hoses, and broke into the sealing industry over 35 years ago. The core of the business revolves around finding and solving problems for customers where we can create added value. We take pride in the fact that we are engineers, with solid technical backgrounds, providing engineered solutions. That is just one of many aspects of our company that makes us different from other businesses.
As an SME, how do you raise your company profile?
We have found on several occasions that the solution we find for one customer draws significant attention from others within that niche area with the same or similar problem, so this potentially equates to additional opportunities for us. This business can come from many different applications, including areas that we wouldn’t have imagined. An example of this is the demand for our central tyre inflation know-how from the Far East. In addition, our main focus is not Cost Leadership. We partner with suppliers and customers and therefore prefer to be recommended for what we can offer, rather than the customer feeling obliged to come to us based on our prices.
As a member of the NAMTEC manufacturing forum, have you found your membership useful?
To date, we have embarked on two projects with NAMTEC; a wind-power gearbox project and a marine renewables project. The work that NAMTEC did for us complemented our market intelligence and
6 The National Metals Technology Centre Quarterly Journal
provided us with superb grounded market research. NAMTEC went about it in a way that I would have liked to, providing I had the time. They have provided us with the first steps into a new industry and now it is for us to take it further.
FTL Technology undertakes Business to Business (B to B) Marketing, explain please?
Yes, B to B marketing rather than Business to Consumer (B to C) marketing- they are two different concepts. A consumer often purchases on emotion and a business purchases on logic. The three important elements to B to B marketing for us are: the flexible nature of SMEs, the technical aspects of gaining approval, and that people are our biggest marketing tool. All three need to be considered in order to be a success. NAMTEC understood this and hence, they presented us with logical methodologies for expanding into different markets.
What developments do you envisage for FTL Technology over the next few years?
Well, we have recently completed the expansion of our works. Going forwards, we hope to expand into the steel, pharmaceuticals, renewables and off road markets. In addition, we aim to supply more product into our existing markets. At FTL Technology, we are very flexible, as we have the capacity to completely redesign a product to make it suitable for a different market, or develop a completely new product. The company has already grown throughout 2011 which lead to 4 new jobs being created. We have at least 2 new roles in the pipeline for 2012 which will take our total workforce to above 40 people.
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