From seeing his dad and granddad working ‘in a rat-infested garage’ when he was a child, to MD of a leading manufacturer supplying components and bearings worldwide – we meet Tufcot’s Greg Majchrzak:

I was inspired to start my business by …

My dad and grandad. Ever since I was five years old I was always interested in the family company. My dad would always take me down to our old site so I could see the manufacturing and machining processes, it always interested me. For them both to start the company in a rat-infested garage 37 years ago with one machine and three employees to now having more than 90 machines and over 35 employees is an amazing story and one I am proud to be a part of for the last ten years.

My favourite thing about running my business is …

Seeing the year-by-year growth of the company, not just in terms of sales and turnover but the growth in my employees. Everyone is part of the Tufcot family, all working towards the same goal which is one reason why we have had such success. A happy employee is a productive employee and they are our number one asset.

The three words that best describe my business are …

Quality. Efficient. Responsive.

Sheffield is a great place to start a business because …

All three of the founding directors at Tufcot came from the British Steel coke and chemical plant at Orgreave – what could make a business be any more ‘Made in Sheffield’! When an opportunity arose many years ago for a new composite bearing material it couldn’t have been turned down, true entrepreneurship. Sheffield has a great reputation, especially in our industry and this has a knock-on effect to give companies a wide range of resources within arm’s reach.

Sheffield is a great place to grow a business because … 

There are so many opportunities! The AMRC has been a huge help as there are some large skill gaps for Computer Numerical Control (CNC)  and experienced machinists. Using the AMRC to develop our products, materials and create projects has been crucial, not to mention the numerous apprentices we have put through the AMRC training centre.

The best advice I ever got was …

Earn their respect, don’t expect their respect. This was a crucial lesson taught to me by my dad. This relates to being made an MD when I was just 22. I had a tough start as when I took over in the Production department, I was having to organise and advise more experienced workers. It was challenging personally but after eight years in the role, and the hard work is paying off I now feel I have earned my employees’ respect.

The worst advice I ever got was … 

An employee once said ‘I don’t know what the fuss is all about with this internet’. This couldn’t have been more wrong – the growth of our new website and our many marketing plans revolve around not only the website but many forms of social media. As a traditional industry we must try to move with the modern times. It’s often difficult to market an engineering company but our Marketing team and website developers do an excellent job.

The Sheffield organisations that have supported me and my business include …

As mentioned previously the AMRC has been great at supporting us in many areas. The University of Sheffield worked very closely with us on engineering projects as well as giving us key access to graduates wishing to do placements. Sheffield Chamber of Commerce offers great support to businesses and the ‘Made in Sheffield’ brand has been a great success for the UK market but also internationally. In terms of suppliers we aim to stay local to further boost the local economy and continue to help Sheffield grow. Aligning ourselves with these organisations helps to confirm our recognised quality and brand awareness.

The main challenges facing my industry/sector are …

I’m sure most people say ‘Brexit’ here but although this is an obvious challenge to a large exporter like us there are far more pressing challenges facing the composite bearing materials market. The main one is the unpredictability of raw material costs which are mainly oil-based, prices can fluctuate weekly. Although composites have been around for many years they are still new to many potential customers, so it is all a learning curve.

In 5 years’ time I expect my business to …

To become one of the UK’s most successful specialist manufacturing and engineering companies, exporting to every corner of the world and earning our reputation for quality, reliability and unrivalled service. There’s no point in having a small vision statement let’s aim big!