B.B. Price Limited is a steelwork manufacturing company based in Halesowen and Cradley Heath. Established in 1875 by Joseph Price (the great grandfather of the current directors), production began in the trade of nail making out of a simple forge that was built in an outhouse of the family home. During the 1940s, trade diversified as contracts for war work were awarded and B.B. Price were tasked with the production of barbed wire entanglements and tent pegs alongside their normal trade. After the war, the company reviewed its strengths and focused on specialising in the manufacture of steelwork fixtures and fittings to the electrical transmission and rail industries which represents the majority of the company’s production to this day.
The company attributes its ongoing success to putting its customers first. They emphasise the quality of the product, reliability and exceptional customer service which have provided the foundations for their strong customer relationships that last for many decades.
Recognising the need for additional space to facilitate future growth, the company acquired a 49,000 sq. ft. warehouse on the Corngreaves Road, Cradley Heath in May 2018. The new site will house a number of automated machines which the company expects to provide added value to their customers, in addition to reducing their production time.
Acknowledging the industry-wide issue of an ageing workforce, B.B. Price first contacted the Black Country Growth Hub to explore the options available to them to employ an apprentice. Operating in an industry with an impending skills shortage, combined with the implementation of apprenticeship levy in April 2017, prompted the company to look into how their apprenticeship levy pot could be used to invest in the future of their workforce.
The company explained their future plans, and it became clear that they could benefit from services offered by the Black Country Growth Hub (based in the Business Solutions Centre).
After explaining the funding available for apprenticeships, a tour of The Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) National Foundry Training Centre was arranged to showcase the training facilities. Whilst it was decided that the skillset offered by The ECMS wasn’t the best fit for the company, a follow-up session was arranged to see the facilities at Dudley College. This was a much better match and an apprentice is currently being sought to complete a course of a similar nature.
Part of the company’s growth plans included investment in new machinery. The Black Country Growth Hub introduced B.B. Price to a number of different grant providers and following a successful application, the company was awarded a part-matched £25k grant due to the carbon saving benefits of the new equipment.
“The range of services that we’ve benefited from through the Black Country Growth Hub has really taken us by surprise. We approached the Growth Hub to see what apprenticeship opportunities are available through the local colleges but we’ve got so much more out of our partnership with them. I’ve started to think about sales and marketing from many different perspectives due to things I’ve learnt on training courses, and other seminars such as Making Tax Digital have massively helped to put my mind at ease. Having an external review on the effectiveness of our website was also a very useful exercise and receiving a £25k grant due to introductions made by the Growth Hub is evidence of how much we have, and continue to get out working with them”
Financial Controller, B.B. Price Limited
B.B. Price Limited came to the Growth Hub for a fairly routine recommendation on the apprenticeship qualifications that are happening in the Black Country. After an initial meeting and an explanation of the other services that are offered through the Black Country Growth Hub and University of Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre, they have seen numerous advantages including looking at their business from different angles, taking on advice from specialists in different areas and the award of a grant.