Polished Stainless Steel in The Rail Sector

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Professional Polishing Services Limited, setup almost 40 years ago, is a Birmingham based metal polishing business supplying around 500 customers in the UK and Ireland from three factories in the West Midlands. They predominately work with stainless steel and aluminium for clients in a range of industries, including in rail, pharmaceutical, nuclear and food and drink. Producing 25,000 tonnes of material a year, the company is the biggest flat product mechanical services finisher in the UK and in the top three in Europe.

Professional Polishing Services applied to DIGl-RAIL after working with the University of Birmingham on two other projects in the previous year. The company aimed to develop relationships with industry networks and needed support and funding to do this. The goal of Professional Polishing Services was to understand how they could differentiate themselves within the rail industry marketplace, to win new business and deliver added valueto customers.

Professional Polishing Services thought the most valuable thing about DIGl-RAIL was the expertise of the team and the industry guidance on supplying into the rail sector. This was especially useful for Professional Polishing Services, who often do not have full visibility of where their client’s products end up being used. By seeing how products are used in the rail industry the company could identify where they can best showcase how their services can benefit companies in the rail supply chain.

Another focus for Professional Polishing Services was sustainability and carbon reduction, which has been one area of investment in the rail industry. The company saw DIGl-RAILas an opportunity to explore where sustainability could provide commercial advantage, particularly the sustainability of using stainless steel in architectural cladding.

As a result, Professional Polishing Services have forged connections with specific rail industry clients, with potential to collaborate on projects in the future. The company has also identified better ways to market itself to the rail industry.

The questions the DIGl-RAIL experts ask you make you think differently’.

One practical example of how DIGl-RAIL has helped Professional Polishing Services communicate better with the rail industry is ongoing re-development of the company’s website to specifically target industries. This means changing the language of how services are described so customers in different sectors understand how Professional Polishing Services can help them specifically. The new website will include case studies, examples of best practice and links to improve the brands visibility in all sectors. This change has come directly because of engagement with the DIGl-Rail project.

Professional Polishing Service is pleased to report DIGl-RAIL exceeded expectations. The company’s experience is that the DIGl- RAIL team were proactive throughout and constantly reviewing how else they could support the business and where they needed to draw on wider expertise across the BCRRE. Professional Polishing Service were also impressed with the quality and longevity of support. The benefits experienced from DIGl-RAIL and Get Into Rail have encouraged the company in touch with the DIGl-RAIL team during the 18-months following the initial support.

For SMEs there is this fabulous pool of talent to tap into for a negligible cost’

Professional Polishing Services is sure the programme has had a positive impact on their growth plans, and they look forward to the new approach to marketing and branding leading to increase turnover.The support has helped establish contacts which should lead to new contracts in the rail industry.

DIGl-RAIL has also led to wider benefits outside of the direct supportprovided. For example, DIGl-RAIL has signposted Professional Polishing Services to contacts working on innovation in Light Rail whichcould lead to further commercial benefits in the future. The business also used the DIGl-RAIL programme as a springboard to develop an online course on stainless steel in the built environment for architecture students.

Looking into the future, the company anticipates further growth,building on new opportunities created by DIGI-RAIL. They plan to develop the team of 23 employees and progress apprentices through the business. Professional Polishing Services is focused on having a carbon neutral factory by 2024 and launch a new type of finishing in 2-3 years’ time.

More case studies available here

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