Grayson Thermal Systems is forging ahead with plans to open up a new subsidiary business in Poland as the company celebrates its 35th anniversary in April 2013.
Grayson was set up as a radiator repair shop in 1978, and today it is a leading designer and manufacturer of heating, cooling and air conditioning products for buses and coaches, specialist off-road vehicles and commercial vehicles, supplying some of the best-known vehicle manufacturers and also the aftermarket.
From its two manufacturing centres in Birmingham it trades throughout Eastern and Central Europe, as well as in China and New Zealand, and it already has one overseas satellite business, Grayson Corp., serving North America.
Managing director Stuart Hateley is one of three generations of the Hateley family currently involved in the business. He said: “For many years now we have placed a lot of emphasis on growing our export business, and around ten per cent of our turnover now comes from abroad.
“That proportion continues to grow and we are committed to providing high levels of support to customers in overseas markets, to the point where we will set up local operations when necessary. Business with Polish OEMs and vehicle operators has reached the point where it will shortly be desirable to have a permanent local presence supporting the representative we already have in the country. We’ll be announcing our plans very shortly.”
Throughout the past 35 years Grayson has continued to invest in its processes, plant and staff, most recently with a £500,000 investment in its in-house fabrication facility which has enabled the company to take control of more processes, and to boost flexibility and quality.
Installing a faster press brake and a powder coating system has helped the company to take control of other previously bought-out services and to offer a high quality and responsive service even on low volume runs.
Chairman Graham Hateley said: “We have been able to grow continuously thanks to a strategy of diversification and to our commitment to working in partnership with customers to find the optimal solution for their specific business issues.”
Grayson’s staff has grown from 180 in 2010 to 230 in early 2013, and its projected turnover for 2012-13 is £20.5m. Its commitment to developing expert markets resulted in a nomination in the Excellence in International Business category in the recent Birmingham Chamber Annual Business Awards.
Blowers are one of those products that it’s hard to get excited about. Lots of them look alike, and they often seem to be working alright even when they aren’t. But they’re an important product, affecting the comfort of passengers and the driver’s ability to demist the windows and drive safely.
They’re a replacement part that the team at the Grayson Thermal Systems Service Centre fit for bus and coach operators pretty much all year round. Over the last few years the company has been working to educate operators and technicians about the importance of specifying the right blower for the job, and installing it correctly. And, according to service centre manager Steve Robinson, the message is starting to get through.
He said: “We’re seeing a significant upturn in sales of premium quality blowers, and especially the Very Long Life (VLL) products that we supply for Thermo King units, because operators now recognise that there are commercial advantages to spending a bit more upfront on a product if this means that they can fit and then forget it for a long time to come.”
Most standard and long life blowers last 5-12,000 operating hours. Costing about 35 per cent more, VLL blowers greatly exceed that lifespan.
As Thermo King’s sole approved distributor for air conditioning products to the UK’s bus and coach sector, the Grayson Service Centre both installs VLL blowers and supplies them to customers nationwide, for installation by their own technicians. And now Grayson is offering them with its own extended warranty so that, if VLL blowers are fitted right and used correctly, the company will guarantee them for five years (20,000 operating hours). If a unit fails during that time, it can be sent back to Grayson, which will examine it and then provide a new one, as long as it was installed and used in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Correct installation is critical to that warranty promise. It is no more complicated than fitting a standard blower, so here’s a handy video on how to do it!
Customer service coordinator, Sarah Currall, did a tandem skydive on Saturday 18th August in a bid to raise as much money as possible for The Stroke Association, and in memory of her grandmother.
The charity supports stroke patients, their carers and families, and funds research into the prevention and treatment of strokes.
Sarah is still fundraising and you can contribute at: www.justgiving.com/sarah-currall
Pack Up and Get Home – July 29th
After all the excitement of achieving our goal, you can easily forget we are 600 miles from home with a long drive ahead.
Rob and Rich head off for York at 5:30am as their Mom is in hospital and not so well. Guys our thoughts are with you and your Mom.
James and Gwyn are desperate to get home to see young ones who have been tugging at the heart strings for a few days if not weeks. It’s tough to leave your loved ones for 2 weeks and focus on the task we set.
I was asked in October 2011 to join James, Gwyn, Rich, and Rob in the challenge to ride LEJOG. I had not ridden a bike for 15 years and stepped out on my old mountain bike struggling to ride 10 miles.
After months of training, I felt ready for the challenge and got stronger as the days went on. “Miles on legs” as Richard kept telling me.
I have had a fabulous time riding with 4 great guys, laughing our way from LE to JOG. We had few lows but when we did, most notably Day 4, everyone pulled together with a great team ethos.
Goofing off on the Severn Bridge
This is the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken and loved every minute of it. If you get the chance, have a cause and a desire, I strongly recommend you take it on. If you are as lucky as I have been, you will have an absolute ball.
Relaxing after a long day of cycling with the team
If you are still reading my ramblings, I must thank a few people for making it possible:
Matt, Andy and Colin – The support crew were fantastic. They get none of the pleasure from the achievement but run around after us for 14 days making sure we are always on the move. Thank you - we couldn’t have done it without you.
The Staff at Grayson Thermal Systems – You have made it possible for both James and myself to be away for 2 weeks - managing the business in our absence. True professionals all the way. THANK YOU!
Charitable Donations – A massive Thank You to everyone who has donated on the JustGiving sites or directly in cash or cheques. We have raised thousands and thousands of pounds for our charities. Thanks to your generosity. Cure Leukaemia and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust will do great things with the money you have donated.
Aishah Minister who diligently updated the BLOG, Facebook page, Twitter page and Grayson website. I hope you have all enjoyed reading everything and seeing the pictures!
Louise and Shelby for travelling all the way to Land’s End to see us off and following us through Cornwall and Devon. Plus visiting Shrewsbury (Louise) to cheer us on.
Pete Williams for delivering a box of goodies, drinks (energy!), and chocolate. Also thank you for taking me to Halfords, St Helens to sort out my loose spokes.
Bobby Taylor – Thank you for travelling to the top end of Scotland to ferry us back to Inverness and cheer us over the line at John O Groats.
Dougie (Nevis Cycles – Fort William) who repaired and tweaked my bike at such short notice.
David Nash (Cafe Artisan, Sanquhar) for your warm welcome and being a fantastic Scottish host.
Ian, Marie, Ryan and Jack for visiting us at Rainhill and supporting us up to Garstang. Also to Ian for coming over to Ardlui on Tuesday. Your turn next time brother!
Karen for supporting Sue in her mammoth drive to Helmsdale and cheering us over the finishing line at JOG.
James, Gwyn, Rob and Rich for being the best team I could have ever cycled with. Thank you so much for inviting me on this journey.
Sue (my wife) – Last but certainly not least a big thank you to my wife. You saw us off at Land’s End, spent the middle weekend in Kendal, and then gave me the shock of my life in Helmsdale. You can now claim to have driven LEJOG and I couldn’t have done it without your loving support.
Thank you to all of the readers over the last two weeks. Remember you can still donate at www.justgiving.com/teams/graysonLEJOG