A BRADFORD firm has transformed itself in the space of 18 months after changing the face of the business with a new product in an emerging market.

Prior to 2015, Advanced Dynamics was a well-known supplier within the print and labelling industry, but the industry was hit by a decline. Despite this the firm had ambitions to grow.

Tom Smith, sales director at Advanced Dynamics, said: “The original plan was to take the business from a £2 million turnover company, which it had been since 2010, into a £3 million business by 2020. That strategy was centred on foundation-based growth and on doing small changes well, on top of what we were already doing successfully.”

This calendar year isn’t over, but rather than hit that £3 million mark, Advanced Dynamics is set to achieve growth of more than double its target, and is on track to record £6.5 million for this year. The company’s new goal is to break £10 million by 2025.

Mr Smith explained how the turnaround took place. “Going upstream - for any business - is tough to achieve,” he said. “We were a labelling machine company and the only logical way we thought we would be able to grow the company, as well as its range of equipment, was to effectively change the face of the business.”

With good timing, an eye on a new emerging market, and a lot of perseverance, that’s exactly what they did. The market that was emerging was e-liquid - now more commonly known as vaping - and in 2015, Advanced Dynamics saw an opportunity.

At that time, there weren't many companies who had suitable filling machinery for this market,” said Mr Smith. He explained how due to its labelling machines, they were soon being asked by e-liquid sellers whether they sold filling machines.

So after converting an eye-drop machine from Pack Leader, Advanced Dynamics’ Taiwan-based supplier, they believed they were on to something.

Mr Smith added: “It was a real baptism of fire at the beginning. This was a new machine to us, but on paper and in principle, we thought it would work perfectly. The biggest issue we faced was that every business we were speaking with wanted to get their hands on it."

A new restriction on nicotine saw demand for their 10ml filling machine soar. Over the next 18 months, it took six different models and machine overhauls until Advanced Dynamics was satisfied.

The company has now sold 38 of those FL-800D machines and the business has achieved its goal of breaking into a new market and changing the face of the company.

Mr Smith added: “During that 18-month period, we learned more than what most people and businesses in this industry learn in a lifetime. It wasn’t just about the machines. That 18 months of pain was about us finding out what we were really about as a business.

“What going through that process did, though, which you cannot put a value on, was establish Advanced Dynamics in the market. After going through that, we weren’t scared of anything.

“We went through the worst experiences you could go through as a business. It wasn’t done over a prolonged period of time, we achieved it in 18 months and that experience has set us up since. We learned so much during that period.”