2014 marked a milestone year for Gripple; its 25th year of operations and the year it surpassed sales of 500 million units.
Formed in 1988 by wire salesman Hugh Facey and his drive to solve a Welsh farmer’s niggling problem – tying fencing wires together – Gripple has experienced substantial growth, substantial change and constant evolution which has ensured the brand remains synonymous across the globe with innovation and time-saving simplicity.
Since initial beginnings as an ingenious, patented wire joiner and tensioner for agricultural fencing, the company underwent its first major evolution when it adapted the Gripple fastener for use in industrial suspension kits, a market which now brings a large portion of the company’s sales. Recent years have seen Gripple branch out still further, into seismic bracing and civil construction markets which have both benefitted from the patented Gripple technology.
Such achievements have always been attributed not only to the company’s forward-thinking mentality, but most notably, the culture and values of the business and its near 500 people who ensure it continues to progress in 2015. Quite uniquely, Gripple is 100% employee-owned by the employees and Mr Facey is currently gifting his own shares back to GLIDE – the organisation established to represent the people employed by Gripple and its sister companies – to ensure the business can never be sold and continues to bring innovative products to market for many years to come.
Very much in-keeping with Gripple’s value of its people as the business’s greatest asset, the company celebrated its 25th birthday with not one party, but four, at its four sites in Sheffield, Obernai, Chicago and New Delhi. Such was the importance of Gripple’s message of thanks to its people, the celebrations spilled into this year too, with the company recently holding ‘film premiere days’ – again, across the globe – where a 30 minute film celebrating the anniversary, entitled ’25 Not Out’ was shown throughout the day, and employees were treated to free popcorn, hotdogs and soft drinks.
As ’25 Not Out’ draws to its conclusion, Hugh Facey delivers an enduring message which has ensured Gripple remains at the forefront of many markets across the world: “We need to keep developing new products, that’s the key to success….if we aren’t making Gripple fasteners in 50 years time, that’s not the end of the world.” It is innovation which ensures Gripple achieves its long term strategy of 10% growth per annum and 2015 is no different, with the company recently launching the Pipe Bracket & Twist System for suspending pipework, a system which has been characteristically well received across the globe. And it doesn’t stop there, with the company also launching an aesthetic, black range of Gripple fasteners for retail and theatre applications, and a new product for the seismic market, designed to prevent the buckling of threaded rod during seismic events.
With such energetic new product focus a mainstay in its culture, Gripple looks set to carry on evolving; there’s no doubt the next 25 years will be as interesting and varied as the first.