30 Years In Business

When a young, enthusiastic and ambitious Mike Lafratta started up his Contract Electronic Manufacturing (CEM) business in Kempston Bedfordshire he could not have dreamt that 30 years later the business would be so successful and still be innovating and growing within a thriving but competitive market.

30 years in business

With 30+ years in the business, Bela is now regarded as the one of the market leaders in the small to medium volume high complexity manufacturing niche. In 2014, Bela celebrated their 30th anniversary. Bela have worked hard to establish an excellent reputation in the design and manufacture of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) and Mike has ensured that the business remains close to its core values based primarily on service and integrity.

And while Mike remains at the head of the business today the company has grown to 30 employees, many of which are from the local community, that cover all of the disciplines from sales and purchasing through to engineering, production and test providing both a professional and dedicated service to all of Bela’s customers each of which have their individual requirements fundamental to their own businesses.


The history of Bela

Over the years there has been steady growth in the company which is now fortunate to have established a loyal customer base which consists of contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from well-known commercial and government bodies. The strength of the business is the wide spread of customers across many market sectors ensuring that the business is not susceptible to the decline of any one sector. Indeed over the past 5 years Bela has shown strong growth even during the challenging trading conditions experienced both in the UK and globally.

Bela open day

These past 5 years have seen a change in direction for the company towards high value, very complex top end technology manufacturing. This change has been driven and spearheaded by Michael Knight (Operations Director) who was introduced into the business by Mike in 2008. The factory has undergone an evolution which has seen the arrival of all the latest equipment, technologies and infrastructure to support this development which in turn has driven the growth experienced during this period.


Bela in 2014

2014 saw a continuation of this development strategy culminating in the introduction of Factory Master, an advanced business management software solution and a Hanel Lean-Lift, the latest in automated storage and retrieval systems. This investment will further boost the capability and capacity of the business

Mike has a particular interest in the design and engineering elements of the business and can still be found today working with customers both old and new on their design requirements and offering the necessary support to process jobs out of engineering and into full production.

30 Years in business

One of Bela’s greatest strengths is having the capability to work with the customer right from the conception of a project through to prototyping, pre-production and full production. The company has been structured and resourced to ensure that low volume prototyping and development work does not interfere with repeatable production which in recent years has led to the innovated fast delivery service known as Bela React+; a genuine 5 day delivery solution which can include the full material procurement.


The future at Bela

As the company looks to the future they are  aware of the importance of keeping and developing the skills of the work force given the increasing pressures on a finite skills set. To address this concern Bela have recently invested in an apprentice scheme aimed at attracting and developing new skills within the industry. This along with continued investment in the latest plant leaves Bela strongly positioned to serve the industry for the next 30 years.


Open Day

In celebration of the 30 year landmark Bela held an Open Day on Wednesday 17th September to which all customers and suppliers have been invited along with companies and individuals whose efforts have influenced the success of the business.


Learn more about Bela

If you would be interested in learning more about the services offer by Bela then please contact our offices on 01234 840242 or e-mail us on sales@bela.co.uk.