Ruth Lee Ltd
RUTH LEE LIMITED
Tel: 01490 413282
- 2020 International Trade
“It’s been a fantastic journey; long may it continue” – Ruth Lee.
The words of the company founder describe a story of humble beginnings: years of toil and old-fashioned entrepreneurship followed by a recent transformation into a dynamic, export driven organisation; now fulfilling its significant potential to grow.
Nestled in rural North Wales with views of rolling hills and the meandering River Dee, Ruth Lee Limited belies its sleepy surroundings. Over the past 25 years, the company has established itself as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of training manikins, used by search & rescue and care professionals in over 50 countries. Today, over 70% of its revenue is generated outside of the UK.
Key customers include fire & rescue services, health and social care workers, military organisations, airports, coastguards, lifeguards, offshore operators, Health & Safety officers and a multitude of international search & rescue specialists.
The company manufactures a wide range of manikins in various weights and sizes to suit different training exercises. Common applications include Firehouse Rescue, Vehicle Extrication, Water Rescue, Working-at-Height and Confined Space recovery, Patient Handling, Casualty Evacuation, Mountain and Cave Rescue and Mass Casualty exercises. An assortment of high-specification bags, operational products and fire simulation equipment is also included. The emphasis is on safety and creating realistic training to help achieve the most effective learning outcomes.
Early in 2016, the company made the strategic decision to form a Board of Directors, expand into new premises and appoint a Managing Director to drive further growth. The business has since experienced a period of transformation, diversifying from a family-owned-and-run company to one which is managed by others, while still retaining its core family values.
In just over three years, staff numbers have grown from 19 to 30; manufacturing capacity has increased and efficiencies improved through a partial automation of the manufacturing process. Expertise in marketing and business development has been acquired to engender sustainable growth through new products and sectors. By the end of the financial year 2018-19, the company had grown by almost 90%, driven in very large part by the export business, which has more than doubled in that time. The strategy to boost both the quantity and quality of its distribution network has been fundamental to the rapid growth of the business. Initiatives to support distributors by increasing end-user awareness through brand and product marketing have been both well received and highly successful. Regular interaction through market visits and distributor conferences ensures a sharing of plans, success stories and product knowledge.
In an environment of change, the company retains sight of its values and most valuable asset – its loyal staff. Employee engagement and development is part and parcel of the business. A core value of the company is to share its success with its staff: paying above the real living wage and offering generous bonuses. Annual donations to volunteer organisations locally, nationally and internationally further exemplify the company’s ‘Do well, do good’ values.
The business continues to pursue a sustainable growth strategy. As Health and Safety regulation across the world becomes more stringent, Ruth Lee is well placed to target new markets and industry sectors, with increasingly sophisticated new products.
In Ruth’s words – long may the journey continue!