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A Q&A with Managing Director Andrew Gentle

In our first Q&A session of the year, we’ve had a sit down with our very own Andrew Gentle, Managing Director.

Hi Andrew, happy new year first of all, how did you ring in 2022?

“My family and I enjoyed a bit of downtime after a busy and challenging 2021 and spent it at home with a small glass of fizz, surrounded by the furry members of the family”.

What were DK’s biggest challenges from your perspective in 2021 and how did you overcome these?

“Like so many manufacturers across the UK we faced three major challenges in 2021, Brexit, Coronavirus and Supply Chain shortages. We were very lucky at DK that our fantastic Logistics team did a lot of preparatory work and training to ensure the impact of Brexit on our customers will be minimal.

We also put a huge amount of planning into place and “over-stocked” on a number of items which then ultimately helped us over the supply chain issues affecting manufacturers worldwide. Coronavirus without a doubt posed the biggest obstacle and for us it was first and foremost about ensuring our staff is safe while still being able to service our customers.

Huge thanks goes again to the incredible team at DK who have been tremendous during this period.”

With JEC WORLD in Paris on the horizon, what are your latest developments for Diamond Tooling in the Composite Industry?

“We have a comprehensive range of standard tooling but most of our development will be customer led and we work closely, in partnership with our customers to develop the bespoke and innovative tooling needed for a particular Composite application.

Our Sales & Marketing Department are currently working on our stand at JEC World where we will be exhibiting a selection of our bestselling products, such as the popular Flexible range, alongside new developments our team of Technical Engineers has been working on.”

The pipe manufacturing industry, particularly in the Middle East, had its challenges in 2020 and has seen a steady recovery with an upward trend in 2022. Which tools in the range have you seen increased demand for?

“During the ongoing Global Pandemic, we have seen a number of larger international construction projects delayed. This has naturally impacted a number of our global customers in the production of GRP/FRP pipes, particularly in the Middle East. 

As we slowly begin to get back to a new “normal” trading pattern, it has been encouraging to see customers’ demands for products across all the ranges increase. As an OEM supplier to two of the largest GRP/FRP producers in the world we have seen a definite upward trend for Coupling and Calibration tools for larger diameter pipes which is good to see.”

What’s in store for DK in the first half of 2022, any highlights you can share with us?

“I have regular meetings with the teams across R&D, Production and Sales and discuss how we can improve our processes and products to give customers the best possible products for their manufacturing needs.

We are planning to invest further in new machinery to increase production output. Something else very close to my heart and the company as a whole is to ensure that we reduce the impact of our production facilities on the environment.

For 2022 for example we continue to work on a new storage facility for waste coolant so that we can store it safely before it goes for recycling.

We have also made major improvements to our waste water treatment facilities to ensure we are putting water back into the system in a fit state.

The solar panels installed on one of our manufacturing buildings are now also linked to the main production facility to get the maximum benefit we can from using renewable energy.”

The compliance team has made great progress with DK’s ISO accreditation efforts, which certification are you most proud of and why?

“In 2021 we created a new Compliance Department with the aim is to keep us on track with all internal requirements of our ISO standards as well as Local Government requirements.

To strengthen the Department further, we hired Jaydon Egen, who joined us as an Apprentice on the 1st December. The company added ISO 45001 to our already existing ISO 9001 accreditation. Both of these standards are now fundamental to the way we work.

We also completed our first assessment with Ecovardis and achieved their Bronze rating for Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Final question Andrew, what do you do to relax away from your duties as Managing Director of DK Holdings?

“The company has always played a part in local and national charities which is incredibly important to me personally but also to our staff.

My wife and I decided for 2022 that we would do something more personal to us and have signed up to run a Half-Marathon together to raise vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Those who know me well know that it’s not something that comes easily to me and will definitely want to see that finisher photo and medal!”

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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