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‘During the length of time I have dealt with Zotic I have always found the quality to be first class and if I have a rush job with a deadline to meet, they always pull the stops out for me.’  Ian Chipman, BGB...

Posted Monday 6 November 2017 17:11

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Zotic receives European Supplier of the Year Award

Zotic has today announced that it has been presented with the ‘European Supplier of the Year Award 2016’ from Southco Manufacturing Limited, a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of engineered access...

Posted Tuesday 28 March 2017 15:13

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"There was strong support for an idea from John Blee, Managing Director of Zotic ...

Posted Wednesday 23 May 2012 12:31

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"There was strong support for an idea from John Blee, Managing Director of Zotic in Birmingham, for small and medium sized businesses not to be taxed on the first £100,000 of profits."



A shortage of skilled workers to replace ageing workforces is holding back some West Midlands businesses from growing.

Business leaders from the Halesowen and Birmingham area attending a manufacturing round table also identified a number of other issues holding them back including the high level of taxation, Government interference and difficulty in getting finance from banks.

The round table organised by Halesowen accountancy firm ER Grove was held at the nearby premises of the UK’s only remaining button maker James Grove & Sons.

There was strong support for an idea from John Blee, managing director of Zotic in Birmingham, for small and medium sized businesses not to be taxed on the first £100,000 of profits.

Will Brinkman, director of Glassworks Hounsell in Halesowen, said it would enable firms to invest in plant and machinery without having to go to banks.

Mr Brinkman also called for the establishment of an engineering academy to help businesses like his experiencing problems with recruitment.

“We export all over the world – 90 per cent of our business is abroad but we are currently turning new business away.

“We can’t find staff.  We have built a new factory and got the machinery but can’t find people to work the machines.  We are losing people through retirement and can’t replace them.  I’m the second youngest in the firm at 37,” he said.

James Grove managing director Sue Witcutt, said her 155 year-old firm had a similar problem with an ageing workforce and difficulty in replacing skills.

Bob Whiston, owner of Whiston Industries in Cradley Heath, said he had begun taking on apprentices in November last year and was planning to take on two more over the next month.

He said the shortage of people with language skills in manufacturing was the biggest single obstacle to growing exports and he called for better teaching of languages including German, Spanish and Chinese in schools.

John Nicholson, a director of Vacuum Furnace Engineering in Halesowen, urged the Government to consider dropping university tuition fees for students going into  engineering to encourage more engineers to train.

David Austin, of AD&C Group in Birmingham, said he was concerned at the poor level of training being given by some organisations set up to deliver NVQs.

ER Grove partner, Steve Lomas, who chaired the meeting, said West Midlands manufacturers were doing well at the moment and urged businesses to get their good news out and explain their success.

Mr Blee put the success down to worldwide demand for niche products being made in the UK while Brian Rymer of IMM Hydraulics in Halesowen, said the high level of service to customers was a factor.

Mr Brinkman said a lot of European customers they had lost to China in the early 2000s were coming back because they now appreciated the difference between cost and value.

Mr Austin said his business was winning back business from China because of lead times with customers not wanting to hold large amounts of stock and have to wait for shipping from China.

Mr Whiston added that some businesses that had bought press tools from China had found they were poor quality and had had to spend considerable amounts of money to correct them.

He said in his industry of tool making his company, which celebrates its 50thanniversary next year, had traded successfully through the recession and 70 per cent of its business was now from exports.

“We are looking for new export markets as we speak.  Our object is to turn the table round and start exporting to China,” he added.


For more information contact

Cathy Connan Communication Strategy

07976 669089 



Telephone: 0121 440 3130
Mobile: 07886 511 339
Fax: 0121 440 66 46


John Blee (Managing Director)
Zotic Limited
Case Hardening Specialists
26-30 Highgate Square
Birmingham, B12 0DU