A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Harsh's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Harsh is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
40 | HARSH
Adam Hargreaves, director
The Harsh stabilised underfloor
tipping gear – “the world’s
most stable tipping gear”
Harsh was founded in 1987, when its owner, Grant Faulkner,
went to America during his studies. While there, he saw an
early version of the world’s first stabilised tipping gear for
heavy goods vehicles. That company, founded by Second World
War and Pearl Harbor veteran Bud Harsh, provided a few samples
of their products, and asked for them to take the equipment
back to the UK and sell it. Despite the fact that Harsh’s British
and American incarnations share a name, and maintain a deep
relationship to this day, the relationship is strictly supply-based.
Director Adam Hargreaves has been with Harsh, based just
outside York, since 2005, and has seen it grow to a 32-employee
team without compromising its family-grounded attitude.
Though we started out by selling stabilised tipping gears and have, since then,
grown monumentally, we now offer eight different product categories, and these
are: stabilised underfloor, compact underfloor, front-end, skips and hooks, three-
way, tractor kits, sheeting systems, and, finally, hook-lift trailers. We handle the
sale of supplies, installations and service of precision hydraulic equipment and truck
components for the haulage, waste and agricultural industries.
A family-owned business
We maintain that our products are nothing without service and support, so we try
to remain as available as possible. This is something integral to our family dynamic;
Harsh staff and clients are above all else human, and we try to ensure that everyone
»Directors: Adam Hargreaves
and Carl Hinds
»Established in 1987
»Based in York
»Services: Manufacture,
supply and service of ancillary
equipment for commercial
»No. of employees: 32
»The Tarpaulin Company is
a brand owned and run by
Harsh Ltd
is treated as part of a close network.
Since the 1980s, we have placed real
emphasis on building relationships,
understanding our clients’ businesses,
and listening, looking and learning to
understand the individual in question.
Where communication can be remote,
easy and impersonal, we try to make
it easy to speak one-on-one and
streamline what we do. When you’re
selling premium, high-end products,
you need to understand what they can
do for your customer; stabilised tipping
gear is expensive, but the value over
the product’s lifespan should outweigh
that cost. We try to get clients to
look on Harsh products not simply as
purchases, but as investments.
The excellence of the products we offer
is outlined in our MAX, or maximum,
philosophy; within each product
category we provide, we define the
area of utility for that, and then try to
ensure we offer the most and, indeed,
maximum possible. For instance, within
our front-end equipment, we define
it as “payload” – and try to offer the
Expansion and the Tarpaulin
When Grant had returned from his
studies in the US, he worked alongside
his father and three members of staff.
We now employ 32 people at Harsh,
30 years on, and have diversified
massively the products we offer. Since
the 2009/10 financial year, we have
more than trebled our turnover and
become steadily more profitable.
As a result of this, we were able to
acquire a tarpaulin company in April
2018 for the purpose of providing
tailored products for industrial,
commercial or retail use, while retaining
the trademark Harsh versatility and
ease of use. This subsidiary, known as
the Tarpaulin Company, will provide
tarpaulins that work in tandem with
our other products – for instance,
covering the back of a truck to stop
materials blowing out on roads, or
ensuring greater safety.
We are trying to broaden and diversify
the Tarpaulin Company and move
from commercial vehicles into wider
usage, as well, as there are very few
tailor-made tarpaulin offerings on
the market. Between windmill covers,
pig tents, potato covers, caravans,
awnings and dividers, just to name a
few, we hope to be able to provide an
incredibly diverse range of shapes and
sizes for all kinds of functions.
This growth, both in terms of Harsh
itself and our recent acquisition, has
been thanks to an expandingclientbase. Harsh hookloaders
offer an exceptionally
productive proposition
A Harsh demountable
skiploader for Malcolm
We try to get
clients to look
on Harsh
products not
simply as
purchases, but
as investments
Highlighting best practice
42 | HARSH
We have four external sales teams,
working in London, Bristol, Sheffield
and Glasgow, and we attend
exhibitions and conferences, maintain
a constant social media presence,
and ensure we visit clients one-to-one
where required. We are proactive – but
the Harsh hallmark quality has ensured
that, for 30 years, word of mouth and
referrals still make up a great deal
Challenges in maintaining our
quality, and further evolution
European Community Whole Vehicle
Type Approval (ECWVTA) is of massive
relevance to our industry, and returned
in 2014. It requires standardisation
across a broad variety of parameters,
including legal vehicle width and
a requirement for side and rear
protection to ensure the safety of
cyclists, pedestrians and other users. As
a result, we have had to adjust all Harsh
products – compliance for type approval
is necessary before haulage can be
operational, and as such, all components
must be type approved in kind. This also
requires accurate process documentation
– thanks to our ISO 9001 accreditation,
however, we were well prepared for all
processes prior to ECWVTA’s return.
Brexit has arguably also been a
difficulty. The exchange rate has had
an impact – our two main supply links
are with America and Europe and we
have seen issues as prices naturally
have increased. The uncertainty
and volatility of the current political
climate is still a worry, but we are
nonetheless hopeful about what the
future holds. In fact, since Brexit, we
have had two record years of sales
revenue growth.
When we widen our agricultural
offering, we are planning on splitting
the company into two brands – Harsh
Truck and Harsh Agri – to allow us
to focus separately on two different
products. Over the coming years, we
anticipate that our product range
will broaden to cater equally for both
sectors. We are looking at taking on
more employees, investing heavily in
the Tarpaulin Company and exploring
other avenues; should truck sales
decline, this will allow us to cover
our backs, keep an eye out and
expand where necessary. For Harsh,
the future is all about three things:
remaining aware and continuing to
grow, while still giving customers
For Harsh, the
future is all
about three
aware and
continuing to
grow, while
still giving
Harsh ITRunner
agricultural hook-lift
Harsh FE tipping gear on a
Breedon Aggregates vehicle
discharging tarmac in Dundee


This article was sponsored by Harsh. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy