The Midlands’ manufacturing industry has come a long way, from producing Spitfires and trailblazing motor manufacturing, to embracing the digital revolution, there’s so much to be proud of.
While the region’s manufacturing scene may have changed just as much as the Midlands skyline over the centuries, one thing still holds true – family-run SMEs are the lifeblood of the manufacturing supply chain, providing the vital link between larger companies at the raw materials stage and the final manufacturing and sales process.
And we’re one of them.
We first started off life almost 40 years ago, back in 1981
Engineer, Tom Butler, was made redundant from his role as works manager at Colgrip so decided to set up his own business, with Archie Wilson, who already had his own company.
Our first premises were on Glover Street in Birmingham and were so small they were little more than a hole in the ground. Tom and Archie, who had decided to wrap up his company so that he could 100% focus on the new venture, worked in the factory, alongside with two other employees. They offered two services - bending 8mm materials and welded assemblies.
Of course, that was a while ago now and both Tom and Archie are no longer a part of the business today. And we are no longer based in a ‘hole in the ground’, but in modern 5,000sq ft premises at the Stirchley Trading Estate, which we have plans to expand in the future.
We’ve changed a lot since 1981
But are extremely proud of the fact Tom’s and Archie’s legacy very much lives on. While Archie sold his share some 20 years ago, Tom handed his over to his children, Tracy and Mark, who are the current directors of Rochford Engineering.
From the outset, the business has very much been a family affair, with three generations so far playing their part in shaping and delivering what we’ve come to be renowned for – delivering quality and excellence in metal. Here’s a quick plotted history of the family connections and how they run through the business:
Tom Butler – Founder and Director.
Margaret Butler (Tom’s wife) – Director.
Mark Butler – (Tom’s son) – Director – started working for Rochford in the factory in 1982.
Tracy Rushton (Tom’s daughter) – Director – Started working for Rochford in the office in 1997.
Stewart Lowe (Mark’s son-in-law) – Account Manager – started working for Rochford in the factory in 2008.
Jack Webb (Tracy’s son) – Assistant – started work for Rochford in the office earlier this year.
Looking to the future and remembering our roots
Our family connections are one of our core strengths. The older generations set the scene in many ways, sharing with us how they worked, which has instilled a culture of quality and getting things right first time around, that’s now instinctive to us.
Meanwhile, the younger generations have brought new, innovative ideas with them, which has enabled us to move with the times and drive the company forward with a fresh energy and drive.
Our strong heritage has enabled us to carve a name for ourselves within the Midlands’ manufacturing scene, as well as establish long-standing relationships with many of our customers, who know us ‘from old.’
And while we may have evolved, continuously reviewing and refining many of our systems and processes so they are up to speed with modern day requirements, our wire forming, welding, machining, presswork, thread rolling, screw cutting and garden architecture services are to the same Rochford standards that our customers know and trust.
Being a family-run SME in the Midlands has paid dividends for us and our many customers who we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last (almost) four decades. It’s provided us with the flexibility to efficiently and effectively work with our customers and suppliers; adapting our services to every brief we work on, while giving us the foundation and confidence to fly the Midlands manufacturing flag for another 40 years and more.