Fracino’s Adrian Maxwell and many other West Midlands SMEs would not share the downbeat assessment of business confidence expressed by accountants BDO LLP in their latest Business Trends study.
Adrian Maxwell, managing director of Fracino and son of the company’s founder and chairman Frank Maxwell.
Fracino in Aston has been in the coffee business since 1963 and for the last 20 years has manufactured and designed its own espresso machines – each piece of equipment being hand built by its production engineers – building up a good home base.
When the recession came in 2008, however, the downfall prompted the firm to look further afield and export machines. Fracino signed up for trade shows, to get its coffee machines in front of an international audience of catering suppliers. The first show was an exhibition in Dubai with strong connections to Asia. Sales to Dubai and Uzbekistan followed, and links to Saudi Arabia and parts of Africa were forged. A quarter of its business now comes from several countries, including Italy, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
Forming partnerships with distributors in the countries it wanted to sell to was the final essential step for Fracino. In a Telegraph article, Maxwell explained: “You cannot sell directly abroad, you have to work with someone — trawl the web and find someone selling a similar product there . . . And don’t give up if your first partnership doesn’t work out — “usually you’ll find they weren’t the right ones. They’ll promise the earth and won’t deliver”.
Servicing includes technical helpline for service and spares, spare parts and numbers identified on the website, fast response emergency callouts, planned and preventative maintenance and many more options listed on their website, including vintage machine restorations.
Fracino has focused on making more of the component parts of its coffee machines in-house, and doubled the size of its Birmingham factory this year, to include a sheet metal workshop. Staff increased from 30 to 40 and more than 3,000 machines a year are now produced.