P K A Company

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by P K A Company'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 P K A Company 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.pka-company.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | NEC SERVICES
The transition – challenges
with directorship and
understanding market position
We have had some difficulties with a
previous director. One of the biggest
challenges we faced as a business
was the transition period during
which he left. We had one director
having to carry the entire team in a
sense, doing everything while the
other really impacted staff morale in a
negativecapacity.
In that transition period, staff morale
and customer investment were so
key. Maintaining both of those things
without the full support of two
directors was incredibly difficult. We
knew where we wanted to be, but
we weren’t in a position to make
thathappen.
Our move from domestic work to
the commercial market was a real
challenge, too. The change in growing
an SME to a large business is no
small one – we had to get customers
and staff alike to buy in, tender for
contracts with big teams and, most
importantly, recruit the right people.
We took the view that paying the right
price for people and getting them
in the right role was of the utmost
importance – and that philosophy has
since paid off in spades.
Legislation – wages,
sustainability and funding
The big issue we’ve had with
legislation was the national minimum
wage increase. Although not too much
of a concern now, during a transition
phase, ramping up the minimum wage
is a real difficulty. That could have
been handled better.
We’d also like to see more funding
frameworks in place for the kind of
contracts we work on. We’ve been in
partnership with a multinational car
park operator, but the landlord can’t
afford to bring it up to regulations
and help his local area – as a result,
it stays closed. Surely there must be
something the government can do in
these situations?
Finally, we are taking a hard stance
on sustainability and energy efficiency
as an angle we want to focus on long
into the future. We want to be able to
add energy saving and payback rates
to every package we deliver and ensure
our service is as close to carbon-neutral
as it possibly can be.
A household name for M&E
quality
We’re going in the right direction –
there’s no doubt about that. A series
of small but regular changes have
really helped us to continue moving
and understand just where we sit in
the market.
Going forward, I’d like to see us
partner with other hotel brands and
continue to grow, ideally becoming
the most-recognised M&E brand
across the country. It’s not so much
about turnover as it is developing
the brand; we want to be one of the
most recognised brands in the UK
and, above all else, we want to be
renowned for quality in the sector.
We want to be
one of the
most
recognised
brands in the
UK and, above
all else, we
want to be
renowned for
quality in the
sector
NEC at Hull City’s KCOM
Stadium
37PKA COMPANY |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Managing Director JohnGoodwin
The PKA Company team at the
Barrow-in-Furness premises
Founded in 1989, PKA are suppliers of pumps, valves, steam
products, gaskets, hoses, mechanical seals, specialist PTFE
parts, pipeline equipment and instrumentation. They have
continued to excel and expand, employing experienced engineers
with an in-depth knowledge of process oil, gas, nuclear, marine,
pharmaceutical and general industry. Based on Sowerby Woods
Industrial Estate, Cumbria, PKA have an office and a stores capacity
of over 10,000 square feet, used to supply clients throughout
the UK. Managing Director John Goodwin explains more.
Industry simply wouldn’t operate without pumps, valves and instrumentation. It
sounds like a basic statement but most things that are manufactured, whether
food, paper, candles or textiles, and most processes, from pharmaceutical and
nuclear through to biomass and water treatment, need pumps, valves and
instrumentation in order to happen; even the latest class of submarines being built
in Barrow-in-Furness are dependent on these.
Such was the vision of one entrepreneur in the 1980s, who, having served his time
as an electrician in the local shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, moved to work for a
local company selling packing and seals. A real-life scenario occurred whereby a
client had ordered packing and seals for a pump, but the pump was broken. Our
founder, Raymond Armstrong, saw this as an opportunity to expand and supply
customers with a full package of pipeline equipment.
Realising that he also had a penchant for selling, and visualising the need for
pumps, valves and instrumentation across all sectors of industry, Ray decided to
go it alone and, in 1989, set up PKA Company. Initially, Ray ran the business, with
FACTS ABOUT
PKA COMPANY
»Managing Director:
JohnGoodwin
»Founder: Raymond Armstrong
»Established in 1989
»Based in Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria
»Services: Supplier of pumps,
valves, instrumentation and
associated products
»No. of employees: 9
PKA Company
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | PKA COMPANY
» SECTORS OF
INDUSTRY
COVERED BY
PKA COMPANY
»Shipbuilding and marine
»Nuclear
»Paper and pulp
»Food and drink
»Candle manufacturing
»Textiles
»Pharmaceuticals
»Biomass
»Offshore wind farms
»Water treatments
plants
»Offshore oil and gas
just the help of his stalwart PA, Sarah
Earley, who is still with the company
today. After six years, and having built
up a solid client base, I joined Ray in
order to help him take the company to
what he called “the next level”.
Over the following years, and by
remaining focused and close to its core
values, PKA Company has become a
national leader in its market. Sadly,
Ray passed away in 2013, having
suffered with cancer the year before;
since then, I have continued to walk
his path. I had known Ray since our
teenage years. We met through local
junior football after his family had
moved to Barrow-in-Furness from
Belfast. His father had come over, like
so many before him, to work in the
shipyard, in those days building both
ships and submarines.
Staying close to our roots
Like Ray, I worked in the shipyard
when I left school and when I had
completed my electrical apprenticeship,
I left to spread my wings. During
that time, I worked at Heysham
Power Station and at the Sellafield
nuclear plant up the coast, as well
as going back in to the shipyard as a
commissioning engineer.
Ray’s initial aim was to supply valves,
pumps, instrumentation and all
associated pipeline products to all
Cumbria-based industrial process
engineering and manufacturing
companies. While Cumbria remains
very much at the core of our business,
we have expanded to supply to
businesses across the UK, from
Scotland, through Wales and down
to the south of England, across a very
broad range of sectors.
In 1993, we became one of the first
SMEs to become BS 5750 accredited.
Ray realised the value in being able to
demonstrate to prospective clients that
the company worked to set protocols
and values to deliver a quality service
to its customers. This morphed into
the new ISO 9001 accreditation and
in 2017, we successfully managed the
change from ISO 9001:2008 to the
latest standard, ISO 9001:2015.
Quality has always been at the
forefront of our core values as Ray
appreciated the ever-increasing
need to stay one step ahead of our
competitors. This not only applied to
ensuring that we employ the right
people, but also to showing potential
customers how we operate. Our
existing customers already know this
and understand our ethos, but having
the ISO 9001 accreditatio n helps to get
us in front of new customers.
Offering a great service
Having said this, ISO 9001 alone
doesn’t win business. We still need
to be able to demonstrate the
business we do, and how we do it,
to potential customers. But once
we are talking to them, we have a
platform to discuss our core values
face to face. We presently have a
strong and loyal customer base and
this has been achieved by establishing
and maintaining relationships with
our customers across the UK. A
well-developed sales and marketing
George Dale and Tom
Goodwin checking over
a delivery of full-bore
stainless steel ball valves,
before repackaging and
delivering to a client
Industry simply
wouldn’t
operate
without pumps
and valves
39PKA COMPANY |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
strategy, coupled with strong
aftersales support and a high degree
of transparency, has enabled us to
significantly grow our business.
Notwithstanding this, we have
bought into the need to use modern
communications and so our current
marketing is being built around social
media platforms, although absolutely
not at the expense of maintaining
personal relationships with our
suppliers and customers. We source
from manufacturers to deliver to
customers, and a large part of our
success has been down to treating
both manufacturers and customers
with the same degree of respect. In
essence, they both feature as clients in
the world of PKA.
Punching above our weight
Over the past couple of years
especially, some of our larger clients
have changed their purchasing
policies and now procure through
centralised procurement and supply
chain management companies. This in
itself provided a new challenge, and
in order for us to continue supplying
a number of our customers, some
of whom we had been supplying for
years, we needed to get onto these
new procurement databases.
This has involved reviewing our
documentation and developing
new policies to cover environmental
management, sustainability and fair
purchasing as well as a policy to
deal with the prevention of criminal
facilitation of tax evasion. I doubt
that there are many businesses the
size of ours that are as robustly
governed. With only nine employees,
we are an excellent example of
how a small company can grow by
working to its core values, being
forward thinking, embracing new
technology and maintaining its focus
on customerrelationships.
For UK industry to survive in the future
it needs, more than ever, to rely on
a continually developing nucleus of
small businesses, ones that lead in
their respective fields. I like to think
of PKA in this way, and the continual
development of the company is as
much about keeping Ray’s dream alive
as increasing turnover – indeed, his
wife Jane and the Armstrong family are
still very much a part of PKA Company.
Ray’s mantra was about delivering
the best service to his customers and
I think he will be looking down on us
right now with a smile on his face –
although I’m also sure he’ll have ideas
as to how to push us further.
ISO 9001
accreditation
helps to get us
in front of
new
customers
»PKA COMPANY’S CORE VALUES
»Building relationships with customers
»Aftersales customer service
»Understanding the customer’s needs
»Developing personal relationships with suppliers and
customers
»Developing best practice
»Technical product knowledge
»Keeping in line with changing technologies
»Continual development of staff
»Ensuring overlapping skill sets of staff
»Providing solid technical back-up and support
»Focusing on quality Tom Goodwin and
Hal Armstrong with a
selection of pumps and
valves outside the PKA
warehouse in Barrow-in-
Furness
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | PKA COMPANY
» SECTORS OF
INDUSTRY
COVERED BY
PKA COMPANY
»Shipbuilding and marine
»Nuclear
»Paper and pulp
»Food and drink
»Candle manufacturing
»Textiles
»Pharmaceuticals
»Biomass
»Offshore wind farms
»Water treatments
plants
»Offshore oil and gas
just the help of his stalwart PA, Sarah
Earley, who is still with the company
today. After six years, and having built
up a solid client base, I joined Ray in
order to help him take the company to
what he called “the next level”.
Over the following years, and by
remaining focused and close to its core
values, PKA Company has become a
national leader in its market. Sadly,
Ray passed away in 2013, having
suffered with cancer the year before;
since then, I have continued to walk
his path. I had known Ray since our
teenage years. We met through local
junior football after his family had
moved to Barrow-in-Furness from
Belfast. His father had come over, like
so many before him, to work in the
shipyard, in those days building both
ships and submarines.
Staying close to our roots
Like Ray, I worked in the shipyard
when I left school and when I had
completed my electrical apprenticeship,
I left to spread my wings. During
that time, I worked at Heysham
Power Station and at the Sellafield
nuclear plant up the coast, as well
as going back in to the shipyard as a
commissioning engineer.
Ray’s initial aim was to supply valves,
pumps, instrumentation and all
associated pipeline products to all
Cumbria-based industrial process
engineering and manufacturing
companies. While Cumbria remains
very much at the core of our business,
we have expanded to supply to
businesses across the UK, from
Scotland, through Wales and down
to the south of England, across a very
broad range of sectors.
In 1993, we became one of the first
SMEs to become BS 5750 accredited.
Ray realised the value in being able to
demonstrate to prospective clients that
the company worked to set protocols
and values to deliver a quality service
to its customers. This morphed into
the new ISO 9001 accreditation and
in 2017, we successfully managed the
change from ISO 9001:2008 to the
latest standard, ISO 9001:2015.
Quality has always been at the
forefront of our core values as Ray
appreciated the ever-increasing
need to stay one step ahead of our
competitors. This not only applied to
ensuring that we employ the right
people, but also to showing potential
customers how we operate. Our
existing customers already know this
and understand our ethos, but having
the ISO 9001 accreditatio n helps to get
us in front of new customers.
Offering a great service
Having said this, ISO 9001 alone
doesn’t win business. We still need
to be able to demonstrate the
business we do, and how we do it,
to potential customers. But once
we are talking to them, we have a
platform to discuss our core values
face to face. We presently have a
strong and loyal customer base and
this has been achieved by establishing
and maintaining relationships with
our customers across the UK. A
well-developed sales and marketing
George Dale and Tom
Goodwin checking over
a delivery of full-bore
stainless steel ball valves,
before repackaging and
delivering to a client
Industry simply
wouldn’t
operate
without pumps
and valves
39PKA COMPANY |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
strategy, coupled with strong
aftersales support and a high degree
of transparency, has enabled us to
significantly grow our business.
Notwithstanding this, we have
bought into the need to use modern
communications and so our current
marketing is being built around social
media platforms, although absolutely
not at the expense of maintaining
personal relationships with our
suppliers and customers. We source
from manufacturers to deliver to
customers, and a large part of our
success has been down to treating
both manufacturers and customers
with the same degree of respect. In
essence, they both feature as clients in
the world of PKA.
Punching above our weight
Over the past couple of years
especially, some of our larger clients
have changed their purchasing
policies and now procure through
centralised procurement and supply
chain management companies. This in
itself provided a new challenge, and
in order for us to continue supplying
a number of our customers, some
of whom we had been supplying for
years, we needed to get onto these
new procurement databases.
This has involved reviewing our
documentation and developing
new policies to cover environmental
management, sustainability and fair
purchasing as well as a policy to
deal with the prevention of criminal
facilitation of tax evasion. I doubt
that there are many businesses the
size of ours that are as robustly
governed. With only nine employees,
we are an excellent example of
how a small company can grow by
working to its core values, being
forward thinking, embracing new
technology and maintaining its focus
on customerrelationships.
For UK industry to survive in the future
it needs, more than ever, to rely on
a continually developing nucleus of
small businesses, ones that lead in
their respective fields. I like to think
of PKA in this way, and the continual
development of the company is as
much about keeping Ray’s dream alive
as increasing turnover – indeed, his
wife Jane and the Armstrong family are
still very much a part of PKA Company.
Ray’s mantra was about delivering
the best service to his customers and
I think he will be looking down on us
right now with a smile on his face –
although I’m also sure he’ll have ideas
as to how to push us further.
ISO 9001
accreditation
helps to get us
in front of
new
customers
»PKA COMPANY’S CORE VALUES
»Building relationships with customers
»Aftersales customer service
»Understanding the customer’s needs
»Developing personal relationships with suppliers and
customers
»Developing best practice
»Technical product knowledge
»Keeping in line with changing technologies
»Continual development of staff
»Ensuring overlapping skill sets of staff
»Providing solid technical back-up and support
»Focusing on quality Tom Goodwin and
Hal Armstrong with a
selection of pumps and
valves outside the PKA
warehouse in Barrow-in-
Furness

www.pka-company.co.uk

This article was sponsored by P K A Company. 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 Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster