Remembering our Chairman, Norman Gough (1926 - 2019).
"We reported the passing of Norman on Saturday 26th October 2019 over a year ago now. As we start 2021, he remains sadly missed!"
Who we are:
In partnership with his late wife Joan, 1967 witnessed Norman embarking on a new venture in industrial wholesale operating from small premises within a stone's throw of the BBC studios in Bristol. Little could be known then of how this would develop into the multi-million pound operation it is today under Norman's son, Simon.
1972: We're established in distributing 3M adhesives & tapes as well as an agent for Sericol screen inks. A call for help from a key customer for specialised stickers leads to the introduction of us screen printing. This develops into us changing to Flexo methodology to produce printed & plain labels. But we need more space, so a site is rented in Avon Street near Brunel's Temple Meads which offers a temporary reprieve. However space becomes an issue again as a fire close by in a flour mill causes us to seek alternative buildings. This culminates in investing in single unit within a small trading complex near the Feeder canal and where we remain to this day.
The rest of the decade sees further growth. We are appointed as a premier distributor for Advance Tapes International and also as one for Marler inks then owned by 'Doc' Reed, the inventor of 'Letraset’.
With all these developments, you'd think that Norman and Simon would be busy enough - but not likely! During the 80's, Norman seizes upon an opportunity to set up FineCal Environmental Systems. This venture aligned itself closely with Norman's engineering background in connection with the local geology around Bristol – a major cause of furring-up in domestic equipment due to the existence of 'limescale'.
The story goes: unable to find someone locally with skills in softener equipment as his own softening appliance had developed a problem, Norman contacts Culligan, the manufacturer of hard water converters to help. They come to recognise Norman’s technical ability and in conjunction with their own engineer, train him and his son up as they themselves are short of people. Thus FineCal becomes a Culligan dealer for the South-West installing softener equipment for both domestic and commercial markets, carrying out maintenance and supplying the specialist salt. Nowadays all the work is undertaken by Simon in assisting customers with his experience in the art of water softener installation and servicing.
The 80's begins with Simon Gough joining the business primarily to introduce a simple computer system to streamline stock control and inventory. During the next ten years expansion continues at a steady pace and leads to the eventual ownership of the whole trading estate. FineCal becomes a leading tape supplier into Aerospace, and is instrumental in setting up MarketNow, some 3M distributors coming together to enable better access and distribution of commodity products throughout the UK.
The 90′s begins with general business facing customer demands of reducing real costs and supplier numbers. We enlarge our product portfolio and increase our delivery fleet. We open up in South Wales with a facility in Cardiff - FineCal * (Cymru) whilst also bringing on board Gibbon inks into our Marler-FineCal * operation that leads to links with SunChemical.
1992 witnesses business pressures for sound supply chains and their ability to satisfy demands for full compliancy. This is to match Global demands to support contracts and services. Including Health and Environmental, we invest in formalising our management system. Although FineCal is regularly audited by the MOD, we opt to work towards and gain BS5750 - one of the first companies to do so in the region that now is today's ISO9001:2015.
2000 + the New Millenium commences with a real boost as we buy out our neighbouring 3M distributor - Brissco Equipment. This strengthens our position and service with an increased customer base with our wider product offerings. Eventually, FineCal consolidates its position even more and invests in purchasing Preline Ltd with bases in Livingston in Scotland and Wellingborough.
And so to the future,
Simon Gough remains at the helm as owner and Managing Director of the renamed FineCal Group Ltd.
He is supported with a strong Management team of:
- Nick Searle, Sales & Marketing
- Simon Thomas, Group Buyer & Quality
- Tony Eagle, Group IMS
- Pat Dally, Aerospace Manager with her team of Katie Smith & Phil Watkins
- Penny Coleman in Sales as team leader
- Kate West, Label Production Manager
Already we have completed upgrading our IT systems and full testing has enabled Cyber Essentials Plus approval. We are also pleased to have achieved AS9120-B / EN9120 (Aerospace accreditation for stockists held by FineCal Distributors). So this alongside our ISO9001:2015 in Bristol shows our commitment in looking after all our customers and welcoming all new ones too - you won’t be disappointed.
* Oh and in case you’re still wondering what does FineCal actually means, it's simple; the ‘Cal’ is an Americanism for self-adhesive and ‘Fine’ ... well there’s really no need to explain that, is there?…
(Tony Eagle - updated Jan 2021)