The growing confidence in the engineering sector in and around Sheffield prompted JKP Engineering (UK) to invest £500,000 in relocating from its existing premises right in the city centre to, larger, more suitable premises earlier this year. The move was funded in part by productivity gains made through an earlier investment in CNC machining capacity from XYZ Machine Tools.
JKP Engineering (UK)’s main focus is the automotive sector, which accounts for around 50 per cent of its turnover. However, with recent announcements and developments in the aerospace sector in Sheffield it is confident that this area of its business, along with oil & gas, medical, glass and power reclamation sectors, will see significant growth in the near future. ''Our success is based on the fact that as well as being a traditional subcontract facility with capacity to machine batch quantities up to 1000 off or more, we also offer a design service and get heavily involved with many customers on R&D projects. This has led us to develop a reputation as a problem solver, helping customers to develop processes, which also leads to long-term partnerships with these customers'' says Andy Holt, Managing Director, JKP Engineering (UK).
The company remains very much a family concern with husband and wife team Andy and Laura Holt being ably assisted by their son and son in law, along with a loyal and dedicated team of skilled machinists. This family ethos is probably behind the fact that any investment made by the company has to be paid for from existing cash reserves, finance is not considered an option. This was the case with this recent move, before it happened the money had to be in the bank. ''We started the business 15 years ago with just one machine tool and have gradually added on when we had the free cash. This recent move was no different, but was accelerated when we purchased our first XYZ machining centre. The increased productivity that we achieved by having it generated new business and improved profitability, that allowed us to bring forward the move, but not before we had invested further in XYZ machining centres and a ProTURN lathe.''
JKP Engineering now has six XYZ machines, the latest of which is a XYZ 1020 VMC, with a 300 mm 4th axis option that allows it to machine components up to 560 mm diameter. This joins two other three-axis XYZ 1020 VMCs, two XYZ 710 VMCs an XYZ Minimill 560 and a ProTURN SLX 555 lathe. The machining centres are all grouped together in the new factory, with room available for the further expansion plans that JKP Engineering has already mapped out. ''The positive trend in business since we relocated has seen turnover continue to rise and the improved facilities and location, just at the junction of the M1 and M18, has seen increased interest from new customers. As a result, in partnership with XYZ, we will be adding to our portfolio of XYZ machines and over the next 18 months we will add another seven VMCs to our capacity list to meet this increased demand. XYZ have been very supportive of our business and have provided help in many different ways to make buying the machines a straightforward process'' says Andy Holt.
In terms of machine quality Mr Holt is equally quick to praise XYZ saying: ''When we take delivery of a machine we monitor its performance closely by running a test part when it is first installed and then, on a regular basis, we repeat that test part in order to qualify the accuracy of the machines. The most recent tests that we ran on the XYZ VMCs showed them to be as accurate now as they were the day they were delivered. We are finding them to be extremely cost-effective over what we see as a 10-year effective lifespan, we could have paid a lot more for the same specification that we have with these machines, but I do not think we would have received the same value for money.''
The task now for JKP Engineering is to continue with the positive drive to rationalise the business to make it more productive and profitable and maximise the benefit of the new premises that will encourage customers to make visits and see first-hand how the business is developing in terms of capability and capacity. The core focus for Andy Holt and his team is to focus on customers and markets that will allow the business to continue the positive growth strategy, with these improvements continuing to fund business development.