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Pump specialist puts itself in pole position

Extensive product development, expansion plans and a special focus on customer service has put the Aquatech Pressmain in a good position to be ready for a potential influx of new business as the economy recovers, according to MD Mark Taylor
THE SPECIALIST in the supply of fluid pumping equipment to the building services industry did turn a profit last year, but Taylor is the first to admit they experienced a tough last 12 months. 'Ironically, we did manage to sell more equipment in 2013 than previously thanks to aggressive pricing but we had to work harder to do it.'

However, this may all be about to change, says Taylor. 'Enquiry levels have been very high and we reckon about 50 per cent of all the jobs we've quoted have just been shelved, but the indications are that orders will start being placed very soon. We have a lot of stuff in the pipeline and we are kind of expecting a bit or an explosion but not just yet.'

As part of Aquatech's plans to position itself for the future, it has spent the last three years investing in product development, predominantly in software programmes for equipment which will be released in the next three to five years. It has also focused on streamlining production processes to meet changing customer demands.

'We are relooking at the models we have we've been selling and streamlining those and trying to get a better product and get the cost of those products down,' explains Taylor.

Customer service and back up
Taylor believes what sets Aquatech Pressmain apart from it's competitors is its willingness to go the extra mile for modern day customers who are focused not only on cost, but are also on after sales services.

'If there is any problem with our product, we can look at it and try to sort out the issues. Mostly it's not to do with our equipment, it's to do with site conditions and most the time we will help the customer through that or if necessary we can redesign equipment to cope with these problems.

'There are fewer projects out there and I think everyone who can sell a pump at the moment wants to get in on the act. Everyone is trying to diversify. We're seeing a lot of cheap imported equipment and you have to compete with that. At the same time, some of the bigger players are adding new strings to their bows so they can make money in other areas.

'These are some of our biggest challenges and we overcome them by just going back to our policy of customer service. You can always buy something cheaper, but it's the service that we're providing that sets us apart.'

'This includes back up service. When a customer has a problem, they need quick service. We try to sort it out on the same day. We aim to be on site within a few hours of them having a problem.'

Modularisation
Coping with changing customer needs has prompted Aquatech Pressmain to modularise its product offering to meet orders placed at the last minute, which Taylor says is becoming more common.

'We used to quote four to six weeks delivery, which previously was quite acceptable. Now we are expected to deliver in a few days and have the capability to do so.'

With everything prebuilt in modules, what was previously taking five days can now be done in a matter of hours. This means the percentage of bespoke work being done has fallen, but still accounts for about five per cent of business, says Taylor.

The future
Aquatech Pressmain has plans for a new factory, adding an additional 10,000ft2 of factory space and a further 5,000ft2 to come later. This will better equip it for its future plans.

Taylor says: 'We are doing this because we are looking to build bigger units than we currently do so we can get involved in bigger projects.

'We are confident about the future. We have done a lot of investment in the past couple of years in new software packages, in people and in production techniques.
Once the recession ends we will be in poll position to take advantage of it.'

Who is AquaTech Pressmain?
Aquatech Pressmain Limited is an amalgamation of Aquatech, Pressmain and Warmac Limited, three specialists in the supply of fluid pumping equipment to the building services, process and water industries.

Aquatech Limited was established in 1982 by a group of engineers with many years' experience in the pumping industry and claims to be the only UK producer which designs, programmes and manufactures its own range of microprocessor controllers in house, offering versatility to its customers.

Pressmain Pressurisation Co. Limited was established in 1974 offering bespoke designed pressure booster sets and pressurisation units and now has thousands of customers in the United Kingdom and all over the world.

Warmac Limited originally started life as a division of Saunders and Taylor Limited and brings over 70 years experience in the industry, specialising in large high temperature sealed heating system pressurisation units. The company's product portfolio includes: pressure boosted hot and cold water supplies, fire fighting applications, sealed heating and chilled water systems, water storage tank level and temperature monitoring.

It has a wide range of products ranging from pressure switch controlled products to those based around a versatile range of microprocessor control systems. Its typical customers are consulting engineers, public health consultants, but mainly installation contractors.

MD Mark Taylor says once Aquatech and Pressmain merged in 2006, both the manufacturing and service sides of the business grew substantially. With Pressmain based in Manchester it allowed the company to acquire a foothold in the north of England which it did not have before.

The medium sized company has a turnover of about £5 million with its main production site based in Colchester, Essex and sales offices based in Colchester and Manchester. Twenty seven people are directly employed by Aquatech Pressmain with a number of external agents providing a service for the company as well.
10 March 2014

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