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 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