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20 years and counting
Friday, 03 August 2007 13:05
Finishing congratulates  Hi-Tec spray for celebrating its anniversary – 20 years in the making and still maturing

In 1987 Garry Dowling and Steve Cooper set up Hi-Tec Spray Ltd. (HSL) from a home base to supply a cottage industry environment, particularly the industrial market and painter and decorator, with a high quality portfolio of spray painting equipment and accessories.  This was backed up by an aggressive policy of good after sales service. 

By the end of their first year of trading they had moved twice and aspired to 1500 sq. ft of office and workshop space on the Warmlake Industrial Estate in Kent – events justified by a first year turnover of £150,000.   To this day they both understand just how much the quality of the products and the support from their small, end-user customers had contributed to their early good fortune. 

As with most young businesses even modest changes can be highly significant: two becoming four meant an increase of 100% in staff and was a decision not to be taken lightly.  During 1989 Gill Robertson and John Shayler joined to oversee the company’s administration and after sales service respectively while Garry and Steve became more focussed on development.  This was the first of many decisions that shaped the company’s inevitable growth.  Apart from extending the package to include equipment hire as well as sales, midway through 1990 Graco Inc., world leaders in fluid handling systems and components, entered negotiations with Hi-Tec Spray who were subsequently appointed a main distributor.  HSL moved upwards and onwards to a 3000 sq. ft facility on the Crest Industrial Estate in Marden, Kent.
The recruitment of Bob Wilson in December 1990 was to position them as a reputable force with a broader trading base with their own, in-house design and manufacture of spray booths, ovens and plant.  By the end of 1992 things were simply getting better - the turnover had soared to £720,000.   Through the rest of the 90s growth continued, surpassing the million pound mark in 1994, to touch £1.7m by the millennium.  Another re-location in 1999 gave them 7200 sq. ft. operational facility on a half acre site at their current address in Maidstone, Kent.

Major organic change was to dominate throughout the following few years.  Clients, they realised, were looking for one-stop suppliers and needed local support to suit the competitively driven “just-in-time” business procedures.  What the market needed was a meaner, leaner machine; a pro-active, single-source supplier who was able to respond to their demands quickly and efficiently.
The acquisition from J. W. Bolloms of Bollom Finishing Equipment.in 2003 was the big turning point.  The synergy between the two was perfect and laid down the blueprint for change.

The combined turnover by the end of 2005 was £4m supporting 44 personnel.  In re-aligning the business, three of the acquired six Bollom regional depots were re-located.  Throughout this tireless journey much has been added or subtracted to reflect the moment.  Not least are the health and safety issues which, apart from being addressed within the normal day-to-day routine at the HSL workplace, have also been represented within the portfolio of equipment and accessories to improve operator working conditions. 

They supply equipment and applications for pumping, fluid dispense and metering, multi component metering and mixing, sealant and adhesive applications, paint and adhesive spraying, mixing, spray booths, stoving and drying ovens, air replacement systems, powder coating, pre-treatment plants and turnkey systems.  This is represented from their own stable as well as from the equipment supplier base of Graco, ITW Finishing, Wagner,  Atlas Copco, ABAC, 3M, and Tyvek Clothing, to name but a few.

While HSL are dedicated to their core business they have not underestimated the role of Information Technology.  To this end their web site is continually maintained and updated giving every visitor access to a wealth of information in terms of product development, product availability, advice, service and technical matters.

They have come some way since those early days.  The active customer base still includes those vital and loyal small businesses that will always rank equally with the larger, blue chip companies.  Collectively they represent painters and decorators, wood furniture manufacturers, trade coaters and steel fabricators.  There has never been any doubt about the impact customer loyalty has had on the steady and ever improving performance of Hi-Tec Spray Ltd.

No less important is the collective responsibility of the entire staff.  There are many who will argue that the greatest skill in business is man management and the greatest asset of most businesses walks out the door every night to return the following day!. 

Who’s going to argue with that?

 
 

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