MEP Ltd, based on the Forstal Estate, manufactures plastic and metal components for the aerospace industry. It has just expanded into neighbouring premises after a long search for a suitable site, helped by Locate in Kent.
“We were ready to expand in 2008, but then the banks collapsed and the economic world fell in so we thought it wise to wait a while,” said Managing Director Phil Hart.
“We have been very fortunate in that during the recession we have maintained growth of about 20 per cent, with the occasional small contraction before going back to 20 per cent growth.”
With that consistent performance came an even more pressing need to find bigger premises and the start of a long and wide-ranging search.
“We looked elsewhere in Kent and were even offered financial incentives to move to areas outside the county with Regional Growth Funding,” said Phil. “However, our main issue was that we have a very loyal workforce, many of whom had no wish to move away.
“Even moving a few miles up the road presented problems as some of the staff have no transport and we would have had to have looked into alternatives such as providing a minibus service to and from work for them.”
Working with Locate in Kent, with which MEP has a long-standing relationship, the answer was eventually found right on the company’s doorstep, when a neighbouring building became available.
“Our new site houses some of our manufacturing equipment and stores and means we can refurbish our original building,” said Phil. “Now we have the extra room, we aim to double our turnover and increase our staff from 60 to 90 over the next three years.”
Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said retaining existing jobs in the county was equally as important as attracting new posts.
“MEP is exactly the type of business we need to be fighting hard to persuade to stay in Kent,” he said. “The manufacturing sector has suffered particularly badly in recent years, and yet here we have a company showing impressive and consistent growth.
“To have retained those 60 jobs for Kent is good news; to know that at least 30 more will be created is the icing on the cake.”