Alpha Manufacturing – supporting great start-up businesses

Supporting great British businesses is at the heart of Alpha Manufacturing, working with some of the UK’s leading pioneers in the markets they serve. Tufftruk, the market-leading articulated walk behind mini dumper, is a fantastic illustration of how Alpha Manufacturing has supported this dynamic business to achieve global success.

TuffTruk imageNeal Lafford, Alpha Manufacturing Operations Manager and Andrew Simpson, Tufftruk Managing Director talk about the importance of collaboration in delivering new innovations into the construction industry.

“There’s no question, our founder Ron Blackhurst knows the construction industry inside out and back to front. With decades of experience growing the Belle Group to a fifty-million-pound business, nobody can question his capacity to deliver innovation-led products into the market.  However, the construction industry is very wedded to working with the same types of tools and equipment – breaking into the sector with new innovation is notoriously difficult.”

Despite that, in 2009 Ron did just that with the launch of the TRUXTA 4 x 4 Mini Dumper, which today is accepted worldwide as the construction workers preferred articulated, walk behind mini dumper. Neal Lafford continues: “Our relationship with Tufftruk goes right back to 2013 when they approached us about delivering the first parts for the rigid machine. This was the start of a truly collaborative relationship.  As a start-up business with big ambition, we worked hard with the team to value-engineer solutions that made the TRUXTA an appealing proposition both in terms of costs and durability.  By 2014 we were supporting the business with the development of the BENDie, which today, remains the Tufftruk flagship model.”

With Tufftruk expanding at a rapid rate into overseas markets, by 2018 the business moved into much larger premises in Leek, Staffordshire while retaining its original Sheen site as a new product development (NPD) facility. Andrew continues: “The business has experienced such rapid growth we have become heavily reliant on our supply chain partners to ramp up their own production to fulfil our needs. There’s no question, Alpha Manufacturing has become a highly trusted partner in the delivery of parts for our product range and we value Alpha’s expertise in helping us evolve our product range. We’ve grown our business with Alpha five-fold in the last five years and we have come to rely on the team’s proactivity, customer-centric approach and capability to value-engineer our increasing range of machines. In truth, the construction industry is a bit of a double-edged sword, on the one hand it’s a challenging sector to break into, but now we’ve gained the trust of the wider construction community, the appetite for new products and innovation is vast – it’s a pace we must keep up with.  It’s with Alpha’s support that we’re able to meet this increasing demand.”

With sustained and continued growth across Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Tufftruk is conscious of the wider environmental impact of its operations, with the vast majority of suppliers, including Alpha Manufacturing, operating within a 30-mile radius of the site thus reducing the overall carbon impact of its operations. Neal picks up on this point: “The geographical proximity of Alpha to Tufftruk brings about many advantages – not least of all from a production efficiency point of view.  But the wider narrative of achieving net zero carbon is at the forefront of our relationship with the business. Every business is implementing ways to reduce its carbon footprint while retaining the same level of service and Alpha is exactly the same. In Atlas Coating, our sister power coating business, we are using materials that have a negative impact on the environment, this is a pre-requisite of working with Tufftruk and it’s a responsibility that we take incredibly seriously.”

As the construction industry embraces new methods of fuel to power on-site machinery, the emergence of electric vehicles (EV) is also becoming TRUXTA increasingly common. Tufftruk is undoubtedly one of the forerunners of bringing electric-powered machinery to construction sites, as Andrew explains: “Going back to the comment I made at the start, the construction industry is pretty wedded to the tools and machinery it knows best, so bringing an EV TRUXTA to the market was an inevitable, yet high risk move. Machinery needs to operate at maximum capability throughout the day so we needed to be able to confidently deliver a solution that a site worker could rely on throughout the day – in exactly the same way as the fueled version. Modifying the product, reducing the overall weight while retaining the stability of the machine is a key consideration and working in partnership with Alpha, has enabled us to design a solution – building on Tufftruk’s reputation as the market leader in this space.”

As Tufftruk continues to build its global dominance in the markets it serves, Neal concludes with these final words: “Tufftruk is a fantastic illustration of a business that in a relatively short period of time has achieved global success. Andrew and the Tufftruk team are progressive in their ideas and through their deep insights into the construction sector continue to develop a range of products that far surpass the performance of any rivals.  The very definition of a great British business.