Nestled away in Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Newburn Industrial Estate is Masfix, formerly known as M&S Distributors, a family-run business with 40 years of history.
The foundations of the business were set out by Ron Slater and George Mordue in 1982, initially a two-man band with just one delivery vehicle, supplying fixings and fasteners to local companies within a 15-mile radius.
Shortly after, the business grew to eight staff, with a site in Lemington where they resided until 1991. Business began to boom, and with growing demands they required more space, discovering the perfect warehouse with purpose-built offices spanning 20,000 sq ft, which would be their home until the present day.
The pair retired in 2001, passing the baton to their sons and current owners, Mark Slater and Ian Mordue.
Reflecting on the transformation of the business since they took over, Mark said:
“This year we celebrated our 40th year in business, and what a long way we’ve come in 40 years. Not only have we grown massively as a team, now standing 25-strong, we’ve also dramatically changed the way we work.
“In the 1980s when our fathers started the business, there wasn’t any computers or social media back then. Traditionally a lot of our processes were done manually, stock control was completed via an old cardex system.
“Ian and I had been working hard in the background, preparing for our fathers’ retirement, then finally in 2001, we took the reins and made our processes fully computerised.
Ian adds: “We completely streamlined the business with the change, we saved a lot in time and costs, and in turn this enabled us to grow our company even further.
Mark continued: “We went from only working with small companies, to adding large blue-chip organisations to our customer portfolio. We now have three delivery vehicles and supply to areas across the UK, including international customers in Brazil and France.”
The business’ significant customer growth enabled them to complete a 6,500 sq ft expansion of their current warehouse in 2020 and perfect their new vision with a rebrand from M&S Distributors to Masfix in 2016.
With goals to become the largest independent fastening distributor in the North East, the company currently offers over 30,000 individual SKUs and put their success down to the evolution of their product offering, diversifying to include tools, engineering consumables, hardware and PPE.
Richard Ward, sales director stated: “We’re extremely passionate about the North East and want to support organisations throughout region, although we’ve grown into a good size business, we’re still a small, family business at heart.
“We pride ourselves on the service we deliver to our customers. We introduced a new Kanban just-in-time stock management system to ensure our customers always have stock availability, without having to lift a finger.”
“Even our on-site vending machines are cloud-based, allowing for seamless stock control where our customers don’t have to do anything, and we handle it all for them.”
Responsive to their customers’ needs, during the Covid-19 pandemic the business set up an e-trading site to include their full product range with free next day delivery on orders before 2pm.
Richard continued: “95 per cent of what we deliver is in our own vehicles and can be delivered next day. We’re always listening to customer demands and can adapt to suit their requirements, exactly like we did during the pandemic by going online.
“We see our customers as partners. Our years of experience, vast product range and streamlined processes allow us to offer a service that is dedicated and satisfactory every time.”
Masfix originally joined NEPIC in 2021, after discovering the membership through an event. Impressed by the calibre of the network, they have since went on to gain new clients as a direct result of membership.
Richard said: “Being based in the North East and having one of the biggest stock ranges of fixings and fastenings and engineering consumable products, it was a no-brainer to join NEPIC.
“We supply to a wide range of small and large customers in the process sector, including robotics, gas and petrochemical, renewables, automotive and everything in between.
“NEPIC facilitate collaboration between members and help put the right people together. We’re witnessing many innovative projects happening on our doorstep and we encourage any member who think our services might be of benefit to have a conversation with us.”
You can find Masfix in our online directory here.