When Construction Industry News last caught up with PE Pipeline Specialists in 2018, it was enjoying strong growth thanks to its focus on customer service and the strength of its product range. Thankfully this forward progression hasn’t been curtailed by Covid-19, as the company continues to expand and develop its operation.
“We have actually grown as a business throughout the pandemic and despite a few months at the beginning when work was halted for a period, the construction industry has pretty much just carried on as normal,” explains Paul Evans, Managing Director. “There were some initial challenges that we had to overcome, such as introducing social distancing and ensuring that we were able to safely operate the warehouse and the offices. Once all the necessary measures were put in place to protect our employees, we were able to get back to business. We have even been able to increase our workforce to 20 staff thanks to the growth we’ve been seeing.”
While PE Pipeline Specialists has been able to rise to the challenges brought on by Covid-19, there have been other issues that the company has had to contend with, such as finding suitable staff and the recent materials shortages that have affected so many different sectors. However, the company’s close links with its suppliers has helped to reduce the level of disruption it has had to deal with and allowed it to make the most of the opportunities it is currently seeing.
“The majority of our work is coming through the new housing market at the moment and we’re continually developing our customer base in this area and strengthening our client relationships,” outlines Mr Evans. “We moved into larger premises two years ago, which has helped support our growth and geographically we’re now supplying across England and Wales.”
Although its customer base is expanding, PE Pipeline Specialists’ range has remained relatively constant as it prefers to specialise in the products that it has become renowned for. In terms of the market areas that the company can cater for, these include:
- Utilities/Mechanical and Electrical Contractors – PE Pipeline Specialists offers a complete pipeline package from mains to meter. Offering gas, water and electric systems for the utility market, it is able to not only supply the mains and service pipe, compression and electro-fusion fittings and valves, but it can also offer valve chambers, covers and frames, fire hydrants, ductile iron fittings, meter boxes, boundary boxes, meter kits, meters and marker tapes. Everything a client requires for a utility installation under one roof and is able to supply in one delivery ensuring there are no costly delays on site. It can also offer a wide range of DNO specific electric duct manufactured to all relevant specifications.
- Irrigation – PE Pipeline Specialists can offer pressure pipelines, electro-fusion fitting, compression fittings, ducting, valves and fasteners for the irrigation market.
- Hydroelectric – Penstocks are a vital part of any hydroelectric scheme and PE Pipeline Specialists can supply the ducting for the intake, various sizes and pressure ratings (SDRs) of pressure penstocks, bespoke fabrications, gate valves, air valves, mechanical and electro-fusion fittings and ductile iron pipe and fittings.
- Landfill – The collection of gas and leachate management is a vital part of landfill management and PE Pipeline Specialists can offer all the compression/electrofusion fittings and flexible couplers to make this possible.
“We tend to stick to the core products that we know inside and out, as this knowledge base has been essential in being able to advise our customers and ensuring they get the correct solution to their requirements,” says Mr Evans. “We are not one of those companies that tries to branch out and dabble in areas that we are not experts in. We know what we do, we do it right and we do it properly. We’re firmly focused on maintaining our high level of service for customers, with which we’re keen to keep developing our relationships with.
“Our objective is to ensure our customers are supplied with the most cost-effective package supported by the flexible attitude of our team. With our continued dedication to our objective, our succession, our customers, and our professionalism to our suppliers, we have demonstrated customers can confidently reduce their vendor base and associated administration costs.
“Our reputation has been built on the highest level of service to exceed expectations from the point of interest.”
This approach is obviously working and to further support the growth it has been seeing, PE Pipeline Specialists is in the process of branching out into Yorkshire and is currently looking at possible depot sites as part of this plan. “We have looked at a number of possible sites so far, but we want to make sure the one we go for is suitable for all our needs before we commit, as we require an extensive warehouse and a secure yard. We have already taken on a new member of staff to run the depot, so we’ll be able to move quickly as soon as we’ve found a suitable location.”
In terms of Mr Evans’ own role, he’s been able to take more of an all-encompassing position for the company rather than having to be on the frontline of sales. This has allowed him to make the most of the experience he has gained over the years, both during his time at PE Pipeline Specialists and previously too.
“Since moving from a 5,000 sq ft unit into a 14,000 sq ft site two years ago, we really have pushed forward. It is honestly the best thing we have ever done, and it has changed the face of our company completely. The expansion came at exactly the right time because we had to build up the business to a certain level before being able to commit to the outgoings of a larger site. We’re really reaping the benefits of it now. When we last spoke in 2018, our turnover was around £5m and we have since doubled this to £10m this year, which gives an indication of the scale of growth we have been able to achieve.
“The move has provided us with the opportunity to make the transition from being a relatively small local company into a large operation able to supply nationwide. The move took around two months to complete but has been completely worth it. We’re hoping that the new Yorkshire site will have the same impact once it has been finalised.
“These facilities will provide the basis for the additional growth we’re looking to achieve in the forthcoming years. To support this objective further, we have also grown our fleet of vehicles and now have four 7.5 tonne trucks and a 3.5 tonne truck. They’re all out all day, every day.”
With the COP26 conference further highlighting the importance of the issue, PE Pipeline Specialists has also been looking to play its part regarding sustainability and is currently reviewing its carbon footprint and exploring ways in which it can offset its carbon usage. “We’re looking at various options, such as planting trees etc, as it’s definitely an issue that is at the forefront of our minds at the moment. As a nation, it’s something that we all have to tackle and from our point of view we want to do our bit. In line with this, all of our trucks adhere to the Euro 6 emission standards. They are also regularly maintained by Enterprise every six weeks to ensure that they are operating as efficiently as possible.
“As well as sustainability, our other overriding priority is health and safety. We therefore have a partnership with another company that looks after all of our risk assessments and general health and safety requirements. We have a number of policies in place that are backed up by ongoing training programmes for all our staff.”
Further underlining its forward-thinking approach, PE Pipeline Specialists has also introduced a new operating system for the whole company including the warehouse. This has involved the implementation of a barcode picking system. “We have also moved onto handheld delivery tablets to stop the transfer of paper between people. This has stemmed not only from the changes we’ve adopted with Covid-19 in mind but has also tied into our wider sustainability objectives. It has been in place for around six months, and we have seen the pick quality improve. This hasn’t been the only benefit, however, as we also track all our quotes through the system, giving us an enhanced CRM offering, all of which really ties in with our ongoing customer-focused philosophy.”
Pandemic or not, it is clear that putting its customers at the very heart of its ethos has continued to pay dividends for PE Pipeline Specialists. With a new Yorkshire depot on the cards, the company looks well placed to keep growing in the months and years ahead.