J K N Oil Tools

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by J K N Oil Tools'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 J K N Oil Tools 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


IanWilliam Plant, managing
JKN uses the latest
CNC technology
JKN Oiltools Ltd is a precision engineering company based
in West Yorkshire, producing high-quality subcontract
machined parts and fabrications to customer specifications
and with on-time delivery. JKN Oiltools was established in
August 2013 to achieve subcontract sales of high-quality
parts from customers that their managing director, Ian Plant,
previously had supplied as a manager in several companies and
routed through his employment with the company of which he
was then the works manager. What follows is a further account
of the company by managing director, Ian Plant.
In August 2015 the company of which I was works manager was taken over, and
my employment with them in addition to being managing director of JKN Oiltools
was deemed a conflict of interest. Subsequently, I left the company and bought
machinery to produce the work myself. At the time turnover was between £30,000
and £50,000 per annum. Currently it stands at £1.2 million per annum. As a
highly skilled engineer, I planned a company that would produce only high-quality
products and minimum scrap.
To achieve the quality and delivery targets necessary to survive in a very competitive
market, I handpicked engineers and machinists I’d employed in my time with
other companies on the basis of their values: that the customer should not only
receive their product on time but have full confidence that it would be correct
to specification. To this end, I pay those employees a salary higher than the
industry average. This brings confidence that they will make the right choice when
necessary and go the extra mile.
»Managing director: IanWilliam
»Established in 2013
»Based in West Yorkshire
»Services: Production of high-
quality subcontract machine
and fabricated parts to ISO
9001:2015, certificate no.
»No. of employees: 9
»Industries supplied to are:
food, oil and gas, pumps, print
and tooling
JKN Oiltools
Highlighting best practice
To support the above personnel, I had
to purchase high-quality tooling and
machinery to ensure they could fulfil
the role I expect of them. This was
initially overcome by leasing machinery
until turnover was sufficient to move
towards a purchasing position.
To achieve customer confidence, it
was crucial that we achieved a quality
standard. Accordingly, in December
2016 JKN Oiltools was awarded the
ISO 9001 quality standard. From the
beginning, I have ensured that the
customer has 100 per cent trust and
confidence in my team and that any
information they receive regarding
delivery and quality is accurate.
In September 2017 I was able to
employ a “production manager”, this
being in inverted commas as the role
is all-encompassing, from receipt of an
order to final dispatch. This was a key
factor in the growth of JKN, in that a
more detailed structure was achieved
through accurate data input, liaison
with producers, planning and customer
liaison. This appointment also offered
me more time to work on the business
rather than in it – something that
management can often forget is
Communication is the single most
important element within JKN, and, as
the managing director, I share as much
information with my team as I can. This
allows them to make realistic decisions
on the use of tooling and any available
resource. In being an “open book”
myself, I expect them to reciprocate,
informing me of any delays or quality
issues as soon as the information is
available, such that the customer can
be informed in a timely manner. I rely
on my production team to plan (based
on the customer orders) and effectively
communicate to the team daily the
production plan and report quickly and
efficiently any delays.
Challenges, business and
As a highly skilled and self-motivated
individual, the single biggest challenge
from the change in nature of JKN in
September 2015 was the building of
an equally enthusiastic team to support
me. Despite being committed to
fairness, there were several staff losses
along the way. Now, though, I believe
my eight current employees mesh
together perfectly.
The largest constraint on my business
was the need for increased finance
at a time when the business would
not support it, and, subsequently, the
purchase of inferior equipment which,
although it “did the job”, was not the
first choice. To overcome this, I soon
learnt the lesson of on-time payment
and the rewards it offers regarding
payment terms and increased
Having initially set up on my own,
the move to employing someone was
without doubt the best decision for the
Possibly the largest
manual letterpress in the
is the single
most important
element within
JKN, and, as the
director, I share
as much
with my team
as I can
business but also the most stressful as I
then became responsible for someone
else’s financial input and family.
The next major challenge was finding
an accountant. My first was impersonal
and did not deliver the needs of an
inexperienced business owner. My
current accountant, however, adds
value to my business with his personal,
hands-on approach.
The people-powered press
This project – now in its initial stages
– is on behalf of Leeds 2023. It’s
effectively non-profit, but offers the
North and my company massive
exposure. The objective was to produce
the largest hand-rolled letterpress in the
world. I designed and manufactured
the machine in conjunction with Split
Design (Leeds) who produced a new
font for the project. The skill and
dedication of my team gave rise to
a high-quality printing press and the
typeface for thefonts.
Future objectives for JKN
Regarding the future of my company, I
will consolidate our position financially
and with our current customer base
over the next 6 to 12 months, ensuring
that my team have a rewarding and
secure future for them and their
families. This, in turn, will generate the
profit expected of a small engineering
There is no plan for a further increase
in turnover from the current sustainable
£1.2 million a year; however, improved
production methods should reduce
staff working hours to ensure a better
work-life balance.
As a fully timed-served apprentice
myself, I also see the need to support
young people with a view to increasing
staff numbers with the addition of
apprentices in a skilled and possibly an
administration role.
From a company perspective, I believe
that more emphasis should again
be placed on practical teaching
within schools, particularly regarding
engineering. Pupils should be taught
that it is not always as dirty as they
think; indeed, it can be very rewarding,
both personally and financially.
The above lack of training and
apprentices over recent years has
resulted in a major shortage of skilled
employees available in the job market.
Some of this is due to non-parity
between engineering jobs and other
similar roles in the IT field.
I also believe that financial advice for
young businesses is not as easy to
access as it could be. Fortunately, I grew
my business in a controlled manner,
but I still had a few times when I
would have preferred that on the end
of the phone was someone other than
a commercial factoring company.
As a fully
myself, I also
see the need
to support
young people
Print machine designed
and built by JKN Oiltools


This article was sponsored by J K N Oil Tools. 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister