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Business of the Year flying the flag for Powys in export markets

One of Europe’s largest producers of wheel balance weights for the automotive industry, which was named Powys Business of the Year 2017, continues to build on its success by promoting the county overseas.

Trax JH Ltd, which has a workforce of 50 based at Newtown and Welshpool, increased sales by 22 per cent last year and is on track to beat that growth rate in 2018.

Eighty per cent of the company’s products are exported to 25 countries overseas and half the production is supplied to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), primarily car companies.

Major orders have been secured from Smart Car and Mercedes since the company won the Powys Business Award and more work is in the pipeline from other car manufacturers.

“We are looking to do more business with OEMs to grow the company further and we have now purchased our factory in Newtown,” said managing director Adam Watkin. “We produce 85 million parts a year and 50 per cent of our production is supplied to OEMs compared to only seven per cent 12 years ago.

“We re-geared the company and improved the quality systems and standards to enable us to compete for business from car manufacturers and it has paid off.”

Trax JH Ltd designs and manufactures balance weights for a range of clients, including GM/Opel, Nissan and Renault, meeting their strict technical regulations.

It has developed production lines designated for clients and has secured new business over the past three years that has seen a significant increase in sales. In 2016, the company achieved both ISO TS 16949 and ISO14001 quality standards.

Mr Watkin revealed that winning the Powys Business of the Year and International Trade Award had helped to raise the company’s local profile and made the workforce proud of the achievement.

“Although we don’t sell our products locally, we have tried to improve local recognition and put the business on the map so that we can continue to attract good quality employees,” he said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the 50 people that are involved in the business.

“The Powys Business Awards were important to us because they gave us something to aim for internally and you automatically try to improve the business. It’s also nice to be competing against other managing directors in the county.”

Trax JH is a sponsor of this year’s awards, which were launched earlier this month and is therefore not competing.

By speaking about the company’s success story at a Mid Wales Manufacturing Group business networking meeting, Mr Watkin hopes to inspire other Powys businesses to succeed in the export market.

During a recent visit to a trade show in Germany, he took with him local products to give customers a flavour of his home area. One of these products was beer from Wilderness Brewery, a neighbour on the Mochdre Enterprise Park.

“Our customers liked the beer that much that I’m having to send some out to Italy,” he added. “I think it’s important to represent the area where you live.”

Organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group and sponsored by Powys County Council, Powys Business Awards celebrate business excellence across the county.

The awards are open to all businesses, social enterprises and charities in Powys, no matter how large or small they are.

Ceri Stephens, group manager for Mid Wales Manufacturing Group, said:

“Powys Business Awards provide a fantastic platform for businesses to raise their profile, as Trax JH has demonstrated.

“We are delighted that Adam has become a flag bearer for the county and is sharing the company’s success story with the local business community.”

The categories for the 2018 Powys Business Awards are:

  • Start-up Business Award sponsored by The County Times
  • Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Welsh Government
  • Outstanding Commitment to Training Award sponsored by NiBS Ltd
  • Small Business Growth Award sponsored by Myrick Training
  • Social Enterprise/ Charity Award sponsored by Mid Wales Housing Association Ltd
  • Micro Business (Under 10 Employees) Award sponsored by The Cambrian News & Brecon & Radnor Express
  • Excellence in Leadership & Management Award sponsored by Nidec Control techniques
  • Mentor of the Year in Hospitality & Lifestyle sponsored by Cambrian Training Company
  • Growth Award sponsored by Development Bank of Wales
  • Small Business (Under 30 Employees) Award sponsored by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group
  • International Trade Award sponsored by Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors
  • Technology & Innovation Award sponsored by Trax JH Ltx
  • Best Tourism Business Award sponsored by NPTC Group
  • Business of the Year sponsored by Powys County Council

Full details on about this year’s awards can be found on the website www.powysbusinessawards.co.uk and deadline for submission of entries is Monday, July 9.