Metpro – coming of age

Readers will be familiar with Metpro – the specialist supplier of cable management and strut products, metal conduit tube and accessories to the M&E market, exclusively via electrical wholesalers. Editor, Debbie Eales, visited Metpro to discover how the business lives up to its slogan – Quality, Efficiency and Reliability.

There’s nothing extraordinary about conduit tube, conduit accessories, support bracketry and switch and socket boxes. These, and other staple products in an installer’s armoury, are everyday items. But what is extraordinary, is the infrastructure and dedicated people in the supply chain who ensure that orders are delivered on time and to the highest quality.

One such company is Metpro, which, from its main distribution hub in the West Midlands, ensures that wholesalers have the right products for installations from domestic re-wiring, up to major projects such as the prestigious London Crossrail. In fact, most of Metpro’s products are London Underground authorised.

Metpro is all about quality, efficiency and reliability but a key ingredient has been in choosing the right people and developing a relationship with customers that has resulted in a healthy order book and growing business.

You could say that having been around for 21 years – Metpro launched in 1995 – the company has come of age. What is surprising, however, is that much of the company’s success over the last eight years or so was down to taking a risk at the start of the recession.

Continued investment

Arthur Rudge, Metpro’s Founder and Managing Director told me: “We have always looked at how we can improve. Since 1995, we have continually invested. With the recession in 2009 for instance, we sat down as a team to discuss what we were going to do. Our immediate focus was our customers. How could we support them with the current market uncertainty? Our answer was to invest heavily in stock. We believe that the strength this gave our customers to reduce their stock, safe in the knowledge that Metpro could be relied upon to deliver accurately and on time, has led to long-term trust and strong business relationships have grown from this.”

Continues Arthur: “We then decided to reinvest in other areas with the growth we experienced. Firstly, we moved to 15,000 sq ft premises and in 2015 to our current home, giving us in excess of 50,000 sq ft. With this new space, we have not only strengthened our stocks further in volume and new product ranges, but also realise that, to continually support future growth, we needed the Metpro ‘family’ to expand. Seasoned experts in fields such as IT, Quality, Logistics, Warehouse Management and Systems/Administration are all now part of the daily Metpro infrastructure.”

Metpro, however, is still a family business, and treating staff as part of the family is key. Mark Orton, Metpro Mechanical & Electrical General Manager adds: “We run our business along ethical lines and feel we are transparent to all. We believe in simple philosophies which embrace good communication, truth and care, whether it be staff, customers or suppliers.”

Established by Arthur just over 21 years ago, he remains the company’s MD and a major shareholder, with Finance Director, David Naylor completing the Board. Arthur’s sons, Jake and Thomas are Business Development Manager and MGM General Manager respectively.

Undoubtedly, the stability of the workforce at Metpro has been crucial. Says Mark: “When customers call us, they hear the same person on the phone. We work hard on building relationships with customers. We believe in talking to people.”

Metro’s growth since the early days demonstrates how the product range has evolved. Comments Arthur: “We started off supplying a focused range of products, including malleable boxes. Over a period, the product profile has expanded, either in relation to customer requests or through Metpro’s desire to create a one stop shop.”

Cable management

The company’s stock-in trade is cable management systems, mainly for industrial settings – and a range of metal accessories. Along with the recent addition of the Easyfit Channel Nut to its growing range (for which Metpro owns the European distribution rights), just 15 months ago, Metpro took the decision to introduce conduit tube to complete the family in its steel conduit range.

Said Arthur: “With the demise of a major market brand, we felt there was an opportunity for Metpro and one that wasn’t going to be around for long. It took 6-7 weeks from us making the decision to taking on our own dedicated tube centre offering product ex-stock. We like to think we are an established supplier of this product now!”

The company’s only route to market is via wholesalers. With over 100 years of combined industry knowledge, Metpro is able to offer product selection and technical advice to customers with confidence.

While there has been little change in cable management requirements over the years, Metpro’s in-house Product & Vendor Development team, led by Mike Holmes, work towards identifying the potential for innovation wherever possible. One example of this is Metpro’s fire-clips, which were designed internally using CAD and a 3D printer to produce initial samples. In addition to designing new innovations for the market, Mike’s team have also ensured that Metpro is BIM ready by creating Revit® files for the full Metpro M&E range.


Warehouse and distribution operations are led by Logistics Manager, Kim Morgan. Her ideas and new procedures have been rewarded with the logistics team achieving in excess of 99% accuracy in deliveries consistently for the past three years. However, Kim is always looking for new ways to improve and build upon her team’s success.

In the past year, the company has invested in its staff. Metpro now has a qualified fork lift trainer, which allows full licensing training for new staff along with refresher courses for current licence holders in order that the entire logistics operation is as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

With the company’s Global Manufacturing division working across a range of sectors such as automotive, water and aerospace, quality is paramount. Metpro’s M&E division applies the same quality standards to its products. The in-house quality department uses equipment including a Shadowgraph Projector, Digital Height Gauge and Faro Gage Arm. Investment is ongoing with a materials analyser being sourced as well as equipment for in-house load testing.

Says Mark. “We do external testing with a third party laboratory as well as performing batch inspections on each delivery we receive. Any deliveries that fail our inspections will result in a full batch quarantine and won’t even reach the racks.”

Continues Mark: “We are ISO 9001 certified and are tested every three years to maintain this. We audit ourselves to ensure compliance with the processes and systems that we have in place.”

Metpro’s supply chain is one of its greatest strengths and, in addition to factory-vetting visits, the company employs its own engineers abroad for added quality assurance, prior to goods leaving the factory.

Says Mark: “We have a commitment to stock and availability, and in today’s so called ‘Amazon culture’ people expect products to be available and delivered quickly. And Metpro makes sure it delivers. Orders received up to 3pm (with the exception of conduit tube) are guaranteed to be despatched that day for delivery via next day courier.”

With Metpro currently updating its identity and brand, a new website is being developed, with a new brochure in the pipeline.

So where does Metpro see itself in five years?

“Establishing ourselves further in the market is key” says Arthur. “We understand our responsibility in the market and continued investment in all areas is critical to ensure we are able to constantly assess and improve. For us, the most important part of Metpro is our customers, and our greatest asset is our people.”