In the words of Tim Entwistle – Managing Director, Movetech UK
“This year, we are celebrating our sixtieth year in business. This landmark anniversary provides us with a great opportunity to look back and reflect on where we have come from, and our plans for the future – in addition to appreciating the dedication and hard work of everyone who has played a part in the company’s successful 60-year history, both past and present.
“As a family run business, in the heart of Bolton, we have never rested on our laurels, we have always strived to improve everything we do, because we know growing and sustaining a successful business, especially for over 60 years, takes more than just passion and pride alone.
“Our longevity and success in business mirrors our ability to understand and anticipate the needs of our customers and clients, revolutionising and adapting to the environments around us, in response to a changing world.
“Sixty years of manufacturing success is built on a strong foundation of six core values. ‘Family values’ is one of the principles we strongly stand by as a company, and we believe these values in unison are essential to realising our vision and can only be achieved when every key value is rooted throughout every level of our business.
“We still get asked quite regularly; how and where did the company start? What was the first product the company produced? Why did the name change? It’s great to know people are interested in the history and heritage of our business, and the admiration that is shown when we explain just how the company did start and what we’ve achieved to successfully surpass the sixty-year mark.
“The business was initially founded as Bolton Turntable Co Ltd, by my late father John C Entwistle, who was very well-known in Bolton and throughout the northwest, he certainly worked hard and was extremely committed to putting Bolton on the business map, which he did a great job of, helping many businesses and individuals along the way.
“A single request for a car turntable, in a Bolton showroom, was the first turntable to be produced – and even though this was a novel idea at the time, even worldwide, we’ve certainly prospered and evolved significantly ever since, with our product range now offering over 200 off-the-shelf products, in addition to a wide range of bespoke industrial movement solutions.
“Over the years, we’ve become increasingly popular globally, as well as throughout the whole of the UK. We’ve sold thousands upon thousands of products all over the world since we started exporting in 1965, and we have exported to more than 145 different countries including Ireland, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, UAE, America, Asia and Australia, to name but a few – even to the top of a snowy French mountain.
“The business had its first name change in 1972; changing from the original Bolton Turntable Co Ltd, to British Turntable Company Ltd to better reflect our growing export business – to which we are still known to many as today, even though our brand has been Movetech UK for over a decade now.
“It’s hard to walk down most high streets these days without seeing products rotating in shop windows, and when you do, the chances are – the revolve is a Movetech UK manufactured product.
“Our products have helped bring a wide range of retail displays to life and have featured in many well-known department stores such as Hamleys, Selfridges, Lego, Schuh, Silver Cross and many, many more. In addition to helping create large festive displays in shopping centres up and down the country, including the Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, where they install hundreds of animated and illuminated Christmas decorations during the festive period, powered by retail display turntables and movements from our off-the-shelf standard product range.
“In 2008, another huge milestone in the company’s history, was the changing of our name, this time from British Turntable Co Ltd to Movetech UK. This was a big change to the brand name at the time, but we felt it better reflected our solutions-focused, technology-based approach to solving modern-day load moving challenges.
“Whilst turntables for heavy industrial through to light display use still form the core of the business, a range of additions to our portfolio, including Hovair air film technology and JUNG lifting equipment, has provided the company with the means to provide the optimum solution to any industrial or commercial movement problem.
“In 2004, we acquired HOVAIR Systems, which gave us a great opportunity to market and grow the Hovair brand and allowed us to introduce a whole range of new product developments.
“This in turn enabled us to help solve many load moving problems with our wide range of bespoke air film movement solutions. For example, assisting in manoeuvring large and heavy loads such as aero engines for the likes of Rolls-Royce, positioning heavy plant on off-shore platforms, to safely moving dangerous waste in challenging environments such as Sellafield and Bradwell nuclear sites – we’ve done it all!
“We’ve also designed, manufactured and installed a number of bespoke vehicle access turntables, providing effective access solutions, from improving car parking provision in city centre office blocks, to enabling truck access to sites that would not otherwise be accessible.
“These type of revolves have also helped a number of large supermarket chains, such as ASDA and Waitrose, to vastly improve their delivery turnaround times, as well as increasing the safety of their staff. This is achieved by installing a vehicle access turntable up to 15m in diameter within the store’s delivery yard – to safely rotate the HGV’s and removing the need for multi-point turns and manoeuvres, vastly increasing the safety of the yard’s workspace.
“Vehicle access turntables are capable of taking typical loads of 44 tonnes – and all of which are designed and manufactured at our head office and factory in Bolton, by our specialist team of technical engineers and technicians.
“We have also focussed our commitment to understand and acknowledge the procedures and regulations that are required when it comes to working safely in such industries, especially the construction industry. As such we now proudly hold ISO9001, ISO14001, CHAS and ConstructionLine Gold certification with in-house SMSTS, IOSH and NEBOSH qualified personnel – helping us and our clients to work in safe and professionally managed environments.
“As the market leader in HGV turntables, we have supplied units from 6m in diameter for 18-tonne 2-axle vehicles, up to 17m diameter turntables for 50-tonne articulated lorries. Typically, these machines are destined for large retail units, mixed usage commercial developments, or even construction sites where they will be used for a fixed period and then removed after the construction phase.
“Our rental service is also a key factor in the company’s growth, and has evolved significantly since we first started renting products in the late 1960’s. The rental market seems to increase in popularity year on year, and especially within the last few years with Media City now in close proximity to our head office in Bolton, as it is home to the likes of ITV studios, BBC studios, and complemented by more than 250 smaller media and digital businesses.
“We have offered a reliable and cost-effective world-wide rental service for many years, just over 50 years in fact, and it is still a strong and important part of the business. The service is used widely for exhibitions and live events, TV commercials, TV shows, dramas and films, music videos, product launches and reveals; anything, in fact, where you need movement for a one-off, short term project.
“Movetech UK rental products have been used in a wide range of high profile projects, some popular ones where for the likes of the T2 Trainspotting World Premiere event, the live launch of the Ford Focus RS, CBeebies ‘Swashbuckle’ TV game show, The X-Factor, The Graham Norton Show, Olly Murs’ music video ‘Heart Skips a Beat’, The National Lottery Awards, CSL Sofas TV Adverts, the list goes on and on. One of our revolving stages has even featured in the 1983 Bond film ‘Octopussy’ – now that’s what you call a starring role!
“Even though our brand name changed to Movetech UK over ten years ago, some of our customers and clients who have been purchasing and renting turntables from us for many years, still refer to us as British Turntable. But this just goes to show how much of a professional impact we have had on their working lives over the years, and keeping our loyal customers and clients coming back time and time again to purchase our products is a key aspect of our business model – they become part of our family.
“Throughout the last 60 years, we’ve had some colleagues leave and retire, and we’ve also had many new arrivals, but we continue to have highly versatile, competent and adaptable employees capable of dealing with whatever opportunities and challenges they are presented with.
“Over the last 10 years or so, we have also underlined our commitment to advancing skilled personnel, by continuing to invest in the future. Over this period of time we have recruited a number of apprentices, who have all gone on to learn the skills required and become fully qualified turntable technicians. Currently, we have two apprentices enrolled on engineering apprenticeship schemes, who are showing how their hand-on skills, hard work and willingness to learn will lead to them becoming fully qualified turntable technicians also.
“Our recruitment drive has always been focused on finding high calibre, motivated people with the intelligence and aptitude to learn – combined with a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude. Taking pride in the flexibility of our workforce is vital if we are to continue providing the high-quality products and services we offer.
“We believe that our investment in a flexible workforce has been key to our remaining in business through more than one recession, including the most recent, where we implemented a survival strategy that ensured we did not compromise on our core strategic directional goals.
“Our devoted team, both past and present, have all contributed in identifying who we are and what is important to our business. Our core values are consistent throughout, with each team member recognising the fundamental role they play to achieve our mission for excellence.
“The commitment and desire to succeed is echoed throughout the company today, more than ever. With our highly skilled work force designing and manufacturing a wide range of products for our clients and partners that benefit society and enhance our quality of life.
“We are ready for the company’s next chapter, and are certainly looking forward to the future, with growth and stability the key to seeing us thrive another 60 years.
“I would like to finish by thanking everyone who has played a part within the company, at whatever point they were involved within the company throughout our 60-year history, we appreciate the time and effort put in to help the company evolve and prosper over the years.
“In addition to our employees, we would like to thank our customers, we strongly appreciate every customer who has ever purchased or rented a product from us within the last 60 years, who consistently show their loyalty to us – we really do, appreciate you. Thank you.
“Here’s to another 60 years!”