2016 in Review
January of last year got off to a busy start at PK Shutters, in part thanks to the bad weather, a series of storms meant that those folks out there that had bought cheap doors that had no wind testing, fell victim to the winds and a lot of damage was caused to doors all over Northern Ireland. This befell many a shed owner and persisted right through the winter months right until the end of March.
Staff were engaged with training during the year and links with Intertrade Ireland saw a development in skills for searching out and competing for public tender works both here and in the Republic of Ireland. These skills were put to good use as PK Shutters began to bear fruit early in the summer as new tenders were awarded for one government contract and two private sector organisations, all of which allowed us to plan projects for a 12-month period.
PK Shutters also adopted membership of Constructionline, an external body which regulates our health and safety management system and ensures that our staff receive the best possible training to be able to work on building sites is a safe manner. Constructionline membership is fast becoming a pre-requisite to being awarded any public works contracts and larger construction companies demand that sub-contract tenders must comply with and have membership of Constructionline.
In July, one of the directors of PK Shutters, graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice from Ulster University Business School and we are already feeling the impacts of the new learning gained by Michael during his time at Ulster University, which has placed us in a good position for the future of growth within the sector both here and in Europe as we propose to develop our export market.
We continued strong growth in the agricultural sector, seeing sales grow by almost 30% over the same period year on year and this was mainly due to recommendations by satisfied clients who proved to be our best tool for selling. In September, we had an external examination of our CE marking by the environmental section of our district council, who spent half a day at PK Shutters, going through our certification process and procedures and gave us a ‘no further action’ notice as we passed with flying colours. It seems that Newry Mourne and Down District Council are the only pro-active council who seem to be operating in checking CE marks within our industry.
During the month summer months, PK Shutters worked with the Technology Centre at Queens University Belfast, in the development of a new braking system for the industry and after testing, moved forward with a patent application. Utilising local knowledge providers in this way has proved to be a successful venture and one we should like to repeat in the future.
We at PK Shutters continued to work with Orchardville Society in Belfast, providing employment opportunities for those in society who have a disability and are seeking quality employment to be able to have a sustainable future. Ciaran Rodgers, who is our most recent recruit is being supported on the employable scheme through Orchardville, but receives a competitive salary for the work he does. As part of the employment there is also extended training opportunities to enhance his work skills.
A trade stockist deal between PK Shutters and Ellard UK, one of Europe’s leading motor suppliers for the industrial door industry was agreed. We now have an extensive range of goods in stock and a better service and warrantee period to offer all clients moving forward in 2017. We also sent engineers out to Ellard to receive product training which has placed them all in a good position to resolve any customer requirements as quickly as possible.
The year ended with our exhibition at the RUAS Winter Show, which proved to be a successful endeavour and paved the way for our attendance at the extended show at the showgrounds in May.