Meeting the Demands of a Modern and Evolving Manufacturing Industry


The Carfulan Group has been selected to appear in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report 2018, a publication that celebrates the nation’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small to medium-sized businesses.

The report lists companies that have shown consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers.

But exactly how has a company whose staffing level has increased by 400% over the past 15 years achieved success so quickly?

Here, Managing Director Chris Fulton provides an insight…

In a small corner of Derbyshire around three decades ago, Independent Calibration set out with a mission to offer services to co-ordinate measurement machine users – and a pretty good job it made of it too.

Within two years globally recognised names such as Land Rover, Rolls-Royce and Ford had contracted Independent Calibration to oversee the maintenance of all of their machines, leading to a decision to start selling its own.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The Carfulan Group evolution has happened remarkably quickly. Today it supplies, installs and services the full range of complementary manufacturing technologies across OGP UK, SYS Systems, ZOLLER UK and VICIVISION UK, covering world-leading multi-sensor inspection equipment, 3D printing technology, tool pre-setting and inspection devices and turned-part measurement solutions.

Working with globally renowned companies across sectors including aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, medical, education and design, its annual turnover is approaching £15 million and group customers have surpassed the 700 mark.

Matt and Chris fulton

Chris Fulton, who along with brother Matt took ownership of the business at the start of 2018, explained: “Our mission is to help manufacturers make the best parts they can, in the most efficient way possible. We are inspired by helping businesses to push the boundaries of innovation and exceed their own expectations.

“There is a huge demand for UK-based engineering, with growing confidence in the sector, which has enabled us to identify and specialise in the full range of complementary, front-to-back manufacturing technologies.

“From design through production to quality control, we offer best-in-class solutions at every stage of the manufacturing process – and we’re able to do it for businesses of all sizes.”

Backed by a sound business model, unrivalled products and expert engineers, the group moved its operations to a state-of-the-art purpose-built showroom facility in early 2015, known as the Innovation Centre and housing the very latest technology supporting product development, training and testing.

Chris said: “The move gave our engineers the scope to push boundaries more than ever before and, consequently, they’ve been in greater demand.

“The centre, surrounded by excellent transport links, has given us a huge advantage over our competitors by encouraging high levels of creativity. It helped us to increase turnover from £5 million to £12 million in just two years and further build on our strong reputation.”

The manufacturing sector is one that never stands still, but Chris believes the Carfulan Group is ideally placed for future success.

He added: “There is a growing demand for smaller and more intricate manufactured parts and components, for example in the medical sector where materials and specifications are covered by tight regulations.

“Our products and software can help businesses to meet these demands quickly, efficiently and with unerring accuracy, offering them a rapid return on investment.

“We are constantly looking at adding new and beneficial technologies to the group portfolio and we have a detailed roadmap to success.”

So what advice could the Carfulan Group provide to other small businesses starting out on their own journeys?

“We’d advise anyone thinking of starting a business to take their time, make sure they understand the arena they want to work in and the challenges and competition they may face,” said Chris.

“The product or service they are offering must be relevant, with a suitable demand.

“Spend a lot of time on detailed planning. Only when you’re as certain as you can be that the business will be a success should you go for it. At that point, believe in it completely and don’t be afraid to ask for help – needing support is not failure.”

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