Steve Hutin has completed 10 years as the owner and managing director of Bridgend, South Wales-headquartered rigging equipment supplier Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd.
Registering his interest in acquiring the business, Hutin, now a 22-year veteran of the lifting industry, returned to the company in March 2006 having ended an earlier spell to seek career advancement at Lloyds British Testing. The sale went through three months later.
Hutin said: “When I heard the owner of Rope and Sling was interested in offers for the business, the decision to make an approach was an easy one. Once the financial side of things was taken care of, I knew I could implement a business plan that would generate growth.”
Under new leadership, Rope and Sling was hitting short-term targets and justifying Hutin’s investment, but progress was slowed by the recession. Not to be deterred, in 2008 he opened the company’s second depot in Templeborough, Rotherham to enter the market in the north of England. Offices in Aylesford, Kent (2011) and Grangemouth, Scotland (2013) followed, while a Hayes, West London base—the company’s fifth—will be opened this year.
Hutin said: “Each ribbon-cutting ceremony has placed a marker against our progress towards becoming a truly national rigging equipment supplier. To achieve that status we will probably need a footprint in another five regions and from 10 facilities we could effectively provide a comprehensive, UK-wide below-the-hook service to our varied customer base.”
Hutin credits much of the company’s success to its ability to serve local customers, shifting fast-moving, low capacity rigging equipment, whilst working in the long-term to position the business to serve blue chip customers and mega-size projects.
He said: “Rope and Sling was a business accustomed to ordering 20 1t, 1m slings. We reshaped the model and were soon placing orders for 1,000 units at a time. We recognised that in South Wales our focus is steel professionals, while in London, those working in infrastructure and construction require different product and support to our offshore contacts in Scotland and more varied community in Rotherham.”
Over 10 years, Rope and Sling has expanded from a handful of staff to personnel approaching 50, while turnover has quadrupled. Hutin concluded: “I’m lucky to have in place a really good team of people who share my vision to become a truly national lifting equipment company. I am grateful for all the support I’ve received and look forward to the next 10 years.”