EAPL cite diverse customer base as source of success
When working in resource heavy industries, one of the great mistakes that can be made is investing all of a business’ resources into a single project. Economic downturn, a change of heart for an investor or a new governmental policy are all examples of unpredictable events that can stop progress in its tracks, leaving the unprepared firm with nowhere to turn.
European Active Projects, who wrote about their business in The Parliamentary Review last year, have their roots in ship repair, and indeed this still makes up a considerable portion of the business. With offices across the UK, as well as in Poland and Romania, the business has managed to access new markets with its expansion, as well as minimise risk by working in multiple areas of Europe. If any particular market were to hit issues, EAPL’s wide reach, combined with a relationship with many specialised contractors (who can sometimes account for 300 staff, despite the company only employing 50 people directly), means that it can adapt and prove itself to be flexible.
This has not made the firm invulnerable. The 2008 recession impacted the business after several strong years, and the same happened again in 2013/14, but since this point the organisation has grown from strength to strength, expecting a turnover in 2019 of £15 million.
Perhaps the most key part for EAPL’s ethos that has kept it safe over the years is its commitment to a diverse portfolio in its business practices. Steve Jones, who founded the company in 2005, believes that ‘a diverse customer base across a number of different sectors and a range of different operational departments’ is immeasurably valuable to the business.
The last ten years has seen the company move towards ‘fabrication and mechanical work’, with opportunities in ‘river works and recycling’ and ‘support for offshore wind turbines’ arising more recently. Jones sees the growth of environmentally responsible industry as something to focus on in the coming years, but is aware of the challenges this presents, penning that this ‘requires a change in culture and mindset across the board’ adding that ‘we’re undertaking a lot of research and development in this regard’.
Naturally, seismic events like Brexit present significant challenges to British organisations so firmly planted in Europe, but Jones believes that sticking to these fundamental principles, as well as focusing on the ‘long-term future of the organisation’ through investment in young people will allow the firm to ‘remain well rounded and able to serve clients for decades to come’.