Online sales help Forge bumper year for Gloucester firm
By Rob Freeman | 30th March 2021
A Gloucester engineering firm has seen orders hit "unprecedented levels" throughout the pandemic with staff returning from furlough to keep up with demand.
Forge Motorsport closed the doors of its city base and furloughed staff at the start of the pandemic.
But the rise in online orders sparked a quick rethink.
Sales manager Alex Harrhy said: "In the first seven days we had more than 550 online retail orders and another 200 from our dealer network. We somehow needed to get back to work safely."
A handful of the team returned to work safely to service needs of customers with stock selling fast.
Managing director Peter Miles, a former Gloucester rugby player during a career which also included spells at Bristol, Bath and Worcester, said: "We had to move quickly to supply the demand, so we opened up the machine and fabrication shops to restart production.
"We moved to a socially distanced day and night shift with 95 per cent of all staff back and we could start to see light at the end of the tunnel.
"During a time of great uncertainty, we felt humbled to be going strong and the priorities were to make sure our staff remained safe, could stay working, we could stay in business and keep paying the staff."
He continued: "Even with these measures in place the sales and order levels are unprecedented.
"We are still battling to meet demand. People are at home on furlough with no pubs open and shops closed - they are sat at home shopping for car parts."
Sales rose 25 per cent on 2019 levels with an extra six staff recruited to cope with the demand and even with Brexit causing some export issues, the company said the prospects for 2021 look good.
The business was founded more than 30 years ago by Mr Miles' parents, uncle and aunt as precision engineers before diversifying in 1996 to designing and manufacturing performance car aftermarket parts.
It employs 52 staff in Gloucester with a further eight split between the USA and Asia.
"We are super proud of what we have built at Forge," said Mr Miles, whose son Zac is the latest generation in the family business. "We have dedicated, passionate staff who all take pride in what produce.
"We have offices in Orlando, Florida and Taichung in Taiwan with multiple resellers worldwide - for a small firm in Gloucestershire, we are supplying the world."
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