AN industrial automation spare parts and repair supplier has expanded its premises after a record year for turnover and profits.

Northern Industrial, which has its base in Thwaites Close, Blackburn, has provided additional office space catering for up to 55 additional staff.

The expansion comes after 27 per cent average growth over the last five years.

New stairways and office partitions were built by Blackburn-based Bryan Lee Building Contractors to open up previously unused space above the company’s 30,000 sq ft repair facility on Shadsworth Business Park in the town.

The company, which already exports to more than 130 countries, now employs 40 office staff and more than 30 electronic engineers. The expansion is intended to allow for anticipated further growth.

A multi-award-winning provider of new, reconditioned and obsolete parts and repair services, sourcing from more than 1,350 manufacturers, Northern Industrial covers more than 200,000 part numbers, holding approximately £7million in stock.

Office roles include administration, marketing and customer service, with multilingual staff working with customers across the globe.

Northern Industrial’s managing director, David Lenehan, said: “The last few years have been great for us and every indication is that it will only get better.

“Although we have customers in a wide variety of manufacturing disciplines, one thing they all have in common is they want to avoid downtime at all costs.

“Because of the nature of what we do, we’ve found we’re not only pretty recession-proof, but we actually start to do even better when the economy starts to slow down.

“Sometimes you just need someone on your side in a stressful breakdown situation.

“Our aim is to provide the spare parts and repairs customers need as quickly as possible to minimise downtime.

“We specialise in keeping businesses up and running, with high-quality industrial electronic spare parts, repairs and onsite support.

Mr Lenehan added: “We employ the best electronic engineers and provide all customers with a dedicated account manager to keep them up to date, while our sourcing team use the most thorough methods and industry knowledge to track down hard-to-find obsolete parts.”

Mr Lenehan said a challenge for growth was recruiting the right people.

He said: “The only real challenge we have in terms of business growth is finding the right staff.

“Many of our engineers are ex-military, which is testimony to a ‘needs-must’ attitude.

“Due to the rapid advancements in industrial automation, many manufacturers are finding equipment used on their production lines to be obsolete.

“Without the support of the original equipment manufacturer, many manufacturers are looking to us to provide continued support rather than doing an expensive upgrading. In a recession, this is amplified.

“Because we export literally throughout the world, we need bi or multi-lingual, technically-minded office staff to help customers get what they need.”

Mr Lenehan said Brexit had made its mark on the company.

He said: “Brexit has made that a bit more challenging, coming as a bit of a shock to some of our European staff.

“But we feel confident that our fully inclusive culture here means we will continue to grow together in the long term.”

The company has also announced that it has just added Haiti to the list of countries to which it exports.