By Bev Hawes
A landmark business deal will bring a £1.5million manufacturing contract back to the county from China and create new jobs.
Staverton-based Future Advanced Manufacture has been awarded the contract to produce a key component for Cheltenham's ADEY Professional Heating Solutions.
And it all follows a chance observation made by Future Advanced Manufacture's managing director Craig Peterson when visiting ADEY's commercial director Rebekah Howard on a leadership development programme.
The two were part of a small peer-to-peer coaching group of four Gloucestershire businesses, meeting monthly as part of LEAD, the Lancaster University Management School leadership programme, delivered locally under licence by QuoLux.
Rebekah said: "We were unhappy with the long lead times, increasing cost and quality issues we were experiencing from our supplier in China, but had been struggling to find a UK engineering company that met our requirements.
"I was discussing this dilemma with my trusted LEAD colleagues, but it was only when I pointed out the actual component as we were walking through the office that Craig realised 'I can make that!' – it was one of those light bulb moments."
Within a month, designs had been agreed and a prototype tested. Within three months, a contract was signed for £1.5million, creating five new jobs in Gloucestershire.
Future Advanced Manufacture makes complex parts for a variety of sectors from the aerospace industry to submarines and won the Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo Business of the Year Award in 2013.
ADEY Professional Heating Solutions developed the MagnaClean Industrial product range which uses a innovative magnetic filtration system to keep central heating systems free of sludge.
Stewart Barnes, founder of QuoLux which provides leadership services to help business grow, said: "This is the single largest deal between LEAD delegates in the 10 year history of the national programme.
"The confidence and trust that develops between LEAD participants as they explore every facet of their business together is fertile soil for new commercial relationships."
Craig believes programmes such as LEAD may be underestimated as a means for growing the economy.
He said: "As the ADEY/Future deal shows, LEAD is the type of programme that delivers on growth, employment and local commerce, keeping revenue and jobs in the county.
"I'd like to see it embraced and promoted by local government agencies and further education, as a proven model to support growing Gloucestershire companies such as ours."
Law firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys is supporting our Made in Gloucestershire campaign, helping to promote the county's wide range of products and services.