Case Studies

Dundee business engineers growth

Alan Ramsay and Chris McKellican set up Dundee based A&C Precision in 2014 and have undertaken a significant growth strategy since.

1st April 2019

Q. How and why did you start in business?

I was working for a company in Aberdeen as a manufacturing engineer but very quickly I realised that I didn’t enjoy the travelling and wanted to return to Dundee. It was roughly 15 months later that we decided that we wanted to work for ourselves. I had actually looked into starting a business with Chris around ten years ago but the timing wasn’t right. I spoke to Chris again in 2013 and we felt we had gained the right amount of experience, skills and contacts to go out on our own, A&C Precision Engineering was then set up in 2014.

Q. How did you get to where you are today?

We met while we were both CNC Sliding head machinists at Bonspiel Engineering in Dundee and got on as friends as well as colleagues. When we set up A&C Precision we wanted to make the most of our experience by specialising in the machining of precision turned and milled components using state-of-the-art CNC Machinery. We started with two machines and now have six due to our rapid growth. Working with high profile contractors in the oil and gas, marine, telecommunications and defence industry has resulted is us having to move into new premises three times the size of our first unit.

Q. Who has helped you along the way?

Business Gateway has been with us right from the start beginning with our adviser Mike’s guidance which gave us the confidence to push on with our vision. In the early days we attended the business start-up courses that Business Gateway host which allowed us to create a business plan. Since then, Mike has pointed us in the direction of possible funding avenues and through the Dundee Development grant we received some money, which was small but really helped in that first year. We have also had a referral to Scottish Enterprise regarding renewable support and we’re in discussions with the Green Business Fund for some help with LED Lighting. We can’t forget the invaluable support from various family members along the way which was crucial in the early days of the business.

Q. What was your biggest mistake?

Probably not setting up the business just that little bit sooner.

Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?

We’re both extremely proud of our customer base who give us repeat business. It’s a real indication that we’re doing a good job.

Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?

The plan is to continue to provide the service that we do and to make sure we keep attracting new customers. The growth we have achieved so far has exceeded our expectations and forecasts each year.

Q. Do you want to recruit in the future?

Due to our growth we have been able to provide jobs in the area and currently employ ten members of staff. If we continue to grow, we expect this to rise.

Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

Trying to switch off. As a business owner it’s hard not to think about work out-with the usual 9-5 hours.

Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?

Follow your gut instinct. If you believe in your product or service go for it. Also get advice from Business Gateway who can help you get your idea off the ground.

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