Expansion and then more expansion: A successful formula for Selmach Machinery

Selmach Machinery: Machinery experts expand premises and range to stay ahead of competition

It sounds simple: add more space, add more stock and growth will follow.

In late 2022, I was invited down to Selmach Machinery in Hereford to see their expansion first-hand and find out more about why they’d made their investments.

Demand and stock availability in 2023

It’s not a surprise to hear that the expansion of premises and machinery was down to demand, strong growth projections and, therefore, the need for more stock. 

A significant factor that presented itself after the CoVID-19 pandemic was extended lead times for all capital equipment. Against this backdrop, holding stock became even more crucial as lead times extended further, and delays became commonplace in the market.

During the CoVID-19 pandemic, the purchasing of capital equipment decreased. As businesses reopened, there followed a short period of uncertainty, and capital expenditure decisions were delayed further.

After this minor blip, though, the metal and wider engineering sectors started to perform very well. This was particularly clear in late 2020 as prices increased and then boomed throughout 2021 and into 2022.

The result of this performance is obvious. Profits resulted in investment, equipment orders rapidly outstripped supply and lead times extended.

The market for new and second-hand machinery boomed, and similar to the car markets, stock became highly desirable and often more expensive than buying new. 

Asset managers had seen equipment values plummet in 2020, and then bounce back to historic highs in 2021, and companies that would buy exclusively new equipment had to enter the used market which further increased prices for stock machinery.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve heard the same story over and over again when it comes to the delivery of NEW capital equipment: Delays, delays and even more delays. We’ve seen it most acutely with technology, and in particular in the car industry because of the chip shortages. Although the issues surrounding vehicle supply captured most of the headlines, the wider implications of shortages have impacted us all.

As technology has advanced, semiconductor chips have spread from computers and cars to toothbrushes and tumble dryers — they now lurk beneath the hood of a surprising number of products.

CNBC

Is it just demand, or are there other factors?

There are a number of other circumstances that have further exacerbated the extended lead times for new equipment including:

  • Shipping cost increases and lack of containers
  • Labour shortages caused by the loss of experienced staff during CoVID-19 
  • A lack of skilled workers filling the resulting vacancies, and in the UK a loss of many engineers after Brexit
  • Readily available capital like the Government Super Deduction
  • Bounceback loans in the UK
  • Shortage of raw materials

There are plenty more, but this was the backdrop for our visit to Selmach Machinery in late 2022.

Expansion, and more stock

I’ve seen plenty of industrial units over the years, and many full of stock but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Selmach Machinery. I was initially surprised at just how much stock was available and how broad the range is.

Dave Hargest (Marketing) gave us a tour and then spoke about how strong demand for machinery had been over the last two years. Dave said that expansion had to occur, as they just didn’t have the room for the amount of machinery that the sales teams were supplying.

“It had always been a bit of a juggling act for us in terms of being a showroom for machines, and also having enough space to store the machines, so the expansion has really helped us.”

Of particular interest was how Dave has seen a shift in the UK market.

Fabricators are now producing a lot more in-house because parts that they would have typically ordered outside of the UK were now on longer lead times, affecting production and supply. These issues had been exacerbated by Brexit, CoVID-19 and demand in general, resulting in businesses buying more equipment to be more self-sufficient.

What had been even more of a surprise to Dave and the team was the number of industries that were buying machinery to produce items in the UK that they would not have even thought to approach. This is echoed by other UK manufacturers I’ve spoken with who have been reselling products into markets that they had either stopped doing business with many years ago, or were selling to for the first time.

Another growth area for Selmach Machinery has been in more environmentally friendly machinery. The expanded unit was full of Morgan Rushworth Press Brakes, including fully electric and hybrid options, which I was not aware existed before my visit. 

Dave explained that businesses are looking at ways to use less energy and reduce their environmental impact. The new eco-option press brakes allow businesses to use less or no hydraulic oil, save money on energy, and also benefit the workforce as the machines are quieter, improving staff working conditions.

These new press brake options are less powerful than fully hydraulic press brakes, which still make up the majority of sales, but the eco-options are expected to become more popular in the future.

Anthony Bushnell (Managing Director) talked at length about how Selmach had decided that the time was right to invest and grow the business.

“There was a lack of confidence to invest coming out of CoVID as it was unknown how strong the market would be. It soon became apparent that there was a high demand and the industry bounced back way beyond expectations.”

Sometimes market conditions present themselves in a way that your hand can almost be forced into action. With an established business, Selmach Machinery were in a position where they could make the right investments, and I think given that they’ve had a record-breaking sales month in January 2023, the investment is paying off.

At the end of 2022, there was a lot of talk in the UK about a recession. The metal and engineering sectors are typically the first to go into a recession and often the first to come out the other end, but trading still looks strong, and with machinery lead times unlikely to improve in the coming 12 months and beyond, I think Selmach Machinery will have another strong year in 2023.

Selmach Machinery

From plasma and waterjet cutters, fibre lasers, shearing and grinding equipment, to press brakes, pillar drills, punching machines and even saw blades (manufactured in-house), Selmach Machinery is set up to service the fabrication and sheet metal sectors in the UK.

Providing a first-rate service before and after a sale, Selmach Machinery has grown by developing first-rate relationships with its clients.

A nice touch is that you can specify a plug and cable length for your equipment purchases (3 phase or 3 pin for example), so when your new machine arrives on site, it’s ready to go without having to call in an electrician. They even produce band saw blades in-house, and supply these with each band saw machine sold.

For more details or to contact Selmach Machinery directly, take a look at their website or contact a member of the team by telephone 01432 346 580.

About the author

Latest articles

Featured article
  • Women with Metal

    Women with Metal

    It’s been 7 weeks since the first Women with Metal event and the 2nd edition of this sell out conference has already been booked top take place on 29 October 2024. Kirsty is increasing the size and scale of the event and has booked a hall at the ICC Birmingham for year 2 with the…

    Read article →

  • Organized Crime Drives Metal Theft Epidemic: UK Economy Loses Half a Billion Annually.

    Organized Crime Drives Metal Theft Epidemic: UK Economy Loses Half a Billion Annually.

    A newly released report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Metal, Stone, and Heritage reveals that metal theft orchestrated by organized crime groups is costing the UK economy a staggering half a billion pounds each year. The comprehensive study, titled “Tackling Metal Theft,” exposes a rising trend in metal-related crimes since 2019, amounting to a…

    Read article →

  • Van Leeuwen: The Energy Project

    Van Leeuwen: The Energy Project

    In December 2021 Jill Clements told me about the Energy Project that had been signed off by Van Leeuwen UK. Jill was animated when talking about the news, and excitedly explained the potential that this opened up to her and the team. “I am very excited about it. I am really happy that finally we…

    Read article →

  • Drywall Steel Sections Secures £9.5 Million WMCA Investment

    Drywall Steel Sections Secures £9.5 Million WMCA Investment

    £13 million was all it took for a family run manufacturing business to make a monumental transformation in the historic heart of the steel industry! Drywall Steel Sections Ltd are on the move after securing loan funding of £9.5 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Their Cradley Heath site was no longer fit…

    Read article →

  • The NASS Golf day & Summer Gathering 2023

    The NASS Golf day & Summer Gathering 2023

    On the 29th of June, Matt Tipper, Stewart Andrews and I had a swing of the clubs at Priory Breadsall in Derby. A week later, on the 6th of July, I attended the Summer Gathering in central Birmingham. Two entirely different events, seven days apart, both hosted by The National Association of Steel Service Centres…

    Read article →

  • The Stainless Steel Industry Meets at the BSSA Annual Conference & Dinner

    The Stainless Steel Industry Meets at the BSSA Annual Conference & Dinner

    The British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) met at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham in May 2023 for their annual conference and dinner. Having attended the last four BSSA annual conferences and this year’s Food and Beverage Industry event (link to article), it was great to catch up with familiar faces from the industry and new…

    Read article →

  • Q2 Review: Analysing The Recruitment Landscape

    Q2 Review: Analysing The Recruitment Landscape

    Large corporate companies are facing challenges attracting new talent and retaining skilled staff especially when their salary structures, work flexibility and staff benefits are outdated compared to smaller, more agile SMEs. Smaller companies can have the advantage of being able to offer more flexibility and quicker decision-making, meaning they’re a more appealing option for certain…

    Read article →

  • How to use LinkedIn for YOUR Metal Business.

    How to use LinkedIn for YOUR Metal Business.

    The below presentation was given at the National Association of Steel Service Centres (NASS) 2023 Summer Gathering. In 12 days I’ll have been using LinkedIn for 12 years! On the day I joined I thought: “Wow! This business Facebook thingy is incredible! Everyone I want to do business with is right here, this will be…

    Read article →

  • Leading the Charge: Steel Dynamics in the Nuclear Industry

    Leading the Charge: Steel Dynamics in the Nuclear Industry

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently unveiled the Great British Nuclear initiative, marking a significant milestone in the UK’s pursuit of a sustainable energy future. With nuclear power playing a crucialrole in achieving net-zero emissions and reducing greenhouse gases, this announcement signals a remarkable leap forward in the nation’s commitment to clean and reliable energy sources.…

    Read article →

  • Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys.

    Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys.

    Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. Acquires Ferrari Stainless & Alloys Ltd. Launching P&P Non Ferrous: A Gateway to Enhanced Customer Services and Expansion Down South In a strategic move to bolster its position in the industry, Steel Dynamics Group Ltd. proudly announces the successful acquisition of Ferrari Stainless & Alloys Ltd. in Wimborne. This transformative development…

    Read article →

  • Sustainability is key to modern manufacturing

    Sustainability is key to modern manufacturing

    During my time supplying specialist metals into the manufacturing sector, I have noticed several things regarding the supply chain local to me in South Yorkshire. 1 Large Manufacturing companies often have difficult onboarding processes.  This makes it difficult for smaller SMES or new market entrants to be able to supply them. 2 Manufacturing companies are…

    Read article →

  • Lasers: The Tesla of Tooling

    Lasers: The Tesla of Tooling

    Welcome back, I’m LaserEd, and I work with lasers. I’ll be laser-educating for The Metal Magazine and I hope it results in more metal parts being lasered! First of all, I haven’t had an accident after writing my last article about Laser Safety. I have been busy researching. Although it is time consuming, I love…

    Read article →

  • Implementing QMS Certifications for Small Businesses and Start-Up Companies

    Implementing QMS Certifications for Small Businesses and Start-Up Companies

    Welcome to the fourth and final instalment of this short series on Quality Management System certification for small businesses and start-up companies. In this 4 part series I have been explaining exactly what third-party certification involves, and how you can level up your business through this process. The standard we are focussing on is ISO9001:2015, as…

    Read article →

Get notified when we publish new articles!

Want to feature in the next edition?