J K H

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 J K H is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.jkhdrainageunits.co.uk/

37J K H |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Brian Prince, Company
Director (centre), James Prince
(left), Daniel Prince (right)
Products stored in the yard, with
engineering workshop on the right
JKH Drainage Units offer specialist pre-cast concrete products
for a wide range of industries. By providing a package that
includes the concrete product complete with the necessary
steelwork or control mechanisms, they are able to solve a large
number of problems off-site. As well as tailored solutions, they
also offer stock products. Company Director Brian Prince is the
second generation of his family to work for the business and
since 2013, two of his sons have also joined the fold.
From generation to generation
My father-in-law John Kenneth Hoare founded our company in 1969. A major
motivation for this was to assist with his other business, which was in agricultural
drainage. Our primary purpose was to manufacture concrete headwalls and chambers
that were much easier to use and hence much quicker to install. This helped to reduce
costs for our customers. The benefit that this provided to other contractors allowed
sales to increase and allowed us to expand and cover all of theUK.
The drainage contracting business was promoted by the government during the
Second World War as part of a concerted effort to encourage farmers to increase
their home-grown output. A popular saying at the time encapsulated this idea:
“food from our own resources”. Agricultural drainage grants were seen by the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – now Defra – as a way to improve the
land and thus increase the quality and quantity of the crops grown. John started
our company not only to make a living but also to help farmers to increase their
yields in the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire.
FACTS ABOUT
J K H
»Company Director: Brian Prince
»Founded in 1969
»Based in Mildenhall, Suffolk
»Services: Specialist pre-cast
concrete products
»No. of employees: 37
J K H
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | J K H
The grants were only awarded once the
pipe outfalls had been completed. The
ministry recommendations at the time
stipulated that block build structures
were to be constructed where the pipe
entered a watercourse. This was very
hard and time-consuming work. To try
to ease this process, John designed a
simple two-piece unit, manufactured
from concrete, that could be installed
easily alongside the work of laying the
drainage pipes.
The removal of the drainage grants
in the early 1980s resulted in our
business being cut by 80 per cent. To
try to respond to this, cutbacks had
to be made and alternative markets
sought. The civil engineering business
had not changed its designs for
constructing on-site structures for
a long time. Our challenge was to
convert them into thinking that pre-
cast concrete solutions would not only
improve quality but also reduce costs.
Fewer trades were required on-site and
the machinery that was already being
used to install the pipes and chambers
could also install our headwalls.
This mission of supplying off-site
solutions for on-site problems has been
carried through to the present day.
We are now the third generation of
the family responsible for the smooth,
efficient running of the company. We
work closely with customers to provide
designs of structures that are easy to
install in a range of industries. This still
includes agricultural drainage but now
also incorporates solutions for the civil
engineering, monumental masonry,
cathodic protection of pipelines,
bowling green installation and
hydroelectric generation industries.
I married John’s daughter Caroline in
September 1986 and started to work at
the company a month later. We have
gone through some major changes in
my time, the most difficult being when
redundancies had to be made in 1990.
We were forced to do this to keep
costs down, as our income had not
filled the gaps left by the cuts in grants.
John retired in 1996; since then, I
have developed our skills and product
range, and the company has grown
steadily ever since. Cost reduction and
my determination to reduce borrowing
have resulted in zero borrowing since
1997. Our turnover and profits have
significantly increased since I employed a
business coach, and, in the last six years,
turnover has risen by over 250 per cent.
New concrete batching
plant commissioned and
installed in 2017
This mission of supplying off-site
solutions for on-site problems has
been carried through to the present
day. We are now the third
generation of the family responsible
for the smooth, efficient running of
the company
39J K H |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
The views of our employees have
always been valued, and the
promotion of existing employees
within the company is encouraged
wherever possible. This has led to
many of our staff remaining with us
for long periods of time. In total, 20
of our current 37 employees have
been employed for an average of
over22years.
Reducing our environmental
impact
Concrete is the most versatile of the
commonly used materials within the
construction industry. This leads to
environmental impacts, as for every
tonne of cement used, one tonne of
carbon dioxide is released into the
environment. By producing concrete
in our controlled factory conditions,
the amount used is considerably
reduced. Pre-casting produces
far lower emissions than casting
structures on-site. An additional
method that we employ to reduce our
carbon footprint is the incorporation
of the waste material slag, produced
in the steel production industry. This
has been achieved by installing a new
batching plant that can incorporate
the slag into the majority of our
production, and this has subsequently
reduced our cement usage by nearly
40 per cent.
We have also installed solar panels on
both of our sites. In 2017, the quantity
of electricity that we produced
exceeded the total amount used.
Four years ago, we set up another
production facility on the same
industrial estate to try to cope with
increased demand. As orders continue
to increase, we are still struggling to
work within the confines of our current
premises. To remedy this, we are
liaising with the local council to see if
they can assist us with plans to increase
the size of this industrial estate in
Mildenhall, allowing us to build a ten-
acre production and storage facility.
Generations to come
Since 2013, two of my sons have been
working in the business. Daniel, our
production manager, oversaw the
introduction of BS15258, the British
Standard for concrete headwalls. My
other son, James, is my design manager,
and he has introduced BS1090, which
covers all the gratings and steelwork
that we bolt onto theheadwalls.
As we pass into the next generation,
we look forward to continuing to grow
and develop our business. Much has
changed since the establishment of our
company, but we are confident that we
can rise to any challenges that mayarise.
We have also
installed solar
panels on both
of our sites. In
2017, the
quantity of
electricity that
we produced
exceeded the
total amount
used
Design office, where
team can 3D-model
designs before
production

www.jkhdrainageunits.co.uk/

This article was sponsored by J K H. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.