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The year that was 2023 and just why 2024 will be a very special one for the team – A Q&A with our Managing Director, Andrew Gentle

We were lucky enough to prise our Managing Director, Andrew Gentle, away from his duties to reminiscence over a coffee about 2023 and share with us what's in store in 2024 for the company.

Hello Andrew, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, another year has flown by. Firstly, what have been your highlights of 2023?

“We’ve achieved a couple of milestones this year which I am incredibly proud of. The first I’d like to mention is that we’ve achieved EcoVadis Silver medal status, which puts us in the top 18% of companies undertaking the survey in 2022/23. EcoVadis particularly noted the additional investment and installation of 585 solar panels on our production facilities in the Spring of this year which proved our commitment to further reduce our environmental impact.

The company also gained ISO9001:2015 Quality Management and ISO45001:2015 Health & Safety Management UKAS certifications with the British Assessment Bureau earlier this year. This is testament to the dedication and hard work of all the team at DK whom I and the rest of the board of directors is incredibly proud of.

In September we joined Composites UK, the trade association for the UK composite industry. We work closely with our partners in the Composite industry globally, with our Diamond Tooling having set the standard since the early days many decades ago. Being a member of Composites UK enables us to work further with our peers and partners and support them with their requirements.”

What investments has the company made this year to ensure it continues to fulfill its global customer base’s requirements for Diamond Tooling solutions optimising their production processes?

“We continued investing in both, our machinery and personnel to ensure we can keep up with increasing customer demand for both, our Diamond Tooling ranges as well as Precision Engineered Components, which are manufactured from within our facilities here in Kent. In early 2023 we purchased a BOY 90E Injection Moulding Machine, giving us greater capacity, flexibility and precision control over the diamond tooling that we produce. We also hired two more apprentices for our production workshop, ensuring knowledge acquired over the past six decades gets passed on to future generations of team DK.”

When we sat down last year you mentioned a growth trend for the company, how does this compare with 2023?

“Things are still challenging for the manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom but as recent analysis by Make UK stated, the United Kingdom climbed to 8th in the world rankings which is encouraging. We have seen a good recovery in our export sales since the start of our financial year. Particularly the demand for bespoke Diamond Tooling for the Composite and Engineering sector has seen an upward trend. I very much put this down to our fantastic team of production engineers who work with the customer to design and manufacture solutions optimising their production processes. Speaking to our customers in the UK, it is still trying for them but there is also a much more positive outlook and we continue to support the industries in the home counties as much as possible. I feel positive going into 2024 and am looking forward to what the new year brings.”

What’s in store for team DK in 2024 Andrew?

“We are excited to celebrate our 65th Anniversary next year, a milestone I’m proud of. I won’t tell you now how many of those 65 years I’ve been here for, but let’s just say it’s been a while! There’s a lot in store in terms of celebrations, make sure to keep an eye on our social media channels and the website.

After not attending in 2023, we are also pleased to be exhibiting at JEC WORLD in Paris again in 2024, this time as members of Composites UK at the UK Pavilion. The team is working behind the scenes to make it an incredible experience for our partners – again, stay tuned to our social media channels to find out more in due course.

We will continue investment across the board in both, our personnel and machinery, to meet our customer’s demands and develop Diamond Tooling and Precision Engineered Components for their ever-changing needs.

And lastly, how will the Gentle Household celebrate Christmas and New Year?

“With an exciting and busy 2024 approaching, I’ll be spending Christmas and New Year with my family and friends, enjoying a mulled wine or two!

Feel free to contact us at info@dk-holdings.co.uk to find out more about our existing ISO accreditations and future projects.

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