Best in Business: Sutton friction firm fills the gap in the market

Staff at the FMC factory in Sutton
Staff at the FMC factory in Sutton

THIS week the Ashfield Chad is highlighting two more local businesses who have put themselves forward to be part of the Best in Business scheme.

Celebrating the success stories of companies in the Ashfield area, Best in Business has showcased a local salon, garage, pub and gym - along with other thriving local enterprises.

This week is the penultimate week of the scheme, meaning anyone who wants to put forward their business needs to do so by midday tomorrow (Thursday).

Certificates will be given out to all those businesses who have featured in the Chad and the draw to win a place on a trip to the Houses of Parliament as a guest of Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero will be made next week.

The trip will take place on 25th April and includes travel to London courtesy of ACE-ABC, lunch at the Commons and the chance to watch Prime Minister’s Questions.

Reporter Helen Beighton, who has been part of the Chad team co-ordinating the scheme, said: “In times of austerity and depressing economic forecasts, it is great to be able to print some good business news.

“Best in Business has enabled the Chad to be able to give local companies some well-deserved praise and recognition for the bit they do for the local economy and I would urge anyone who wants to put themselves forward to get in touch now.”

Email Helen on if you want to be part of Best in Business.

FEW people who pass Friction Marketing Company on Coxmoor Road in Sutton will realise what goes on behind its doors.

But the company is in fact a supplier of brake and clutch plates for heavy duty vehicles in the earth moving, mining, military and rally automotive industries worldwide - and counts big names such as Caterpillar among its customers.

FMC was established in 1991 and its products were initially taken from GKN Sheepbridge, which was located across the road.

Now independent, the business makes thousands of different friction plates using a range of different materials and in different sizes.

Owner Rob Holden said most companies that manufacture these products only handle orders of tens of thousands, but FMC fills a gap in the market by manufacturing small quantities to order.

And while competitors have been affected by the recession, with some closing or merging with other companies, FMC has bucked the trend and actually grown its business.

Said Rob: “We have been through a recession before and know if you keep your nerve you will come through the other side.”

FMC employs double the number of people it did three years ago, with 27 people now working at Sutton and nearly the same at its Leighton Buzzard site.

It is also growing its sales department and has taken on a new team to increase business in emerging markets such as South America and India.

For the first time it took on two apprentices this year, instead of the usual one, and they are following a two-year training programme with West Notts College that gives them the chance to work in the company’s research and development, production and quality departments.

Operations director Craig Lawrence said: “We are passing on the skills from more experienced employees who may be looking to retire in the next ten years.

“We want that expertise to continue and take the company forward.”

Craig added that one of the main reasons for FMC’s progress is its workforce.

“We work as a team, everyone contributes and we are dedicated to what we do,” he said.