16 December 2021
Sponsored by Make UK, the 2021 Cornwall Manufacturers Group (CMG) Awards were presented at an Awards ceremony held at the Eden Project in November. ELIQUO HYDROK were winners of the 'Large Manufacturer of the Year' category announced at the event hosted by CMG.
Like many businesses, Covid-19 has brought many challenges to ELIQUO HYDROK, 2020 being especially tough coinciding with the Water Industry’s 5-year AMP cycle ‘dip’ year. However, the company chose to invest further in their infrastructure and staffing, taking on a second factory unit opposite the existing head offices and factory. In addition, the company embarked on a recruitment drive to meet the demand market indicators and experience forecasted and had begun to materialise.
Many of their competitors in the Water Industry choose to outsource their fabrication to various companies, including outside of the UK – enabling them to reduce their expenditure during quieter spells. ELIQUO HYDROK do not follow this business model, instead as CEO Lewis O’Brien put it, “We pride ourselves in manufacturing our solutions ourselves and keeping our production and much of our procurement where possible, Cornish. We’ve actively chosen to invest in R&D and other improvement initiatives plus invested in growing our fleet of hire units during quieter times of the year, keeping our skilled staff productive and ready for the busy period we’re now entering.
A key feature of the ELIQUO HYDROK strategy has been to deliver ‘financial innovation’. The UK water companies generally spend in 5 year, AMP cycles. The first 2 years are more focussed on consulting and planning, followed by 3 years of manufacturing and delivering equipment. This gives a ‘boom and bust’ workload for companies within the industry, which has been an issue ever since the AMP cycles were created.
To tackle this, ELIQUO HYDROK have instigated new financial mechanisms, and standardisation of many of the key technologies, where clients can order large batches of equipment early in the AMP cycle, safe in the knowledge it will be deployed to specific projects later in the AMP period as required. The additional introduction of a Production Slot Reservation scheme, enabling clients to reserve production in the peak AMP years when they know they will need the equipment, but at present are not yet ready to commit to specific items to order.
Lewis further explains, “The technologies we design and manufacture serve to improve the quality of water and wastewater for the good of our collective environment in an environmentally friendly, low carbon approach, well before Net Zero Carbon was hot topic. We make extensive use of intelligent structural engineering to maximise functional strength and minimise material use (e.g. using in-house formed lightweight sections rather than heavy gauge material). We systematically engineered-out carbon-intensive concrete civil structures in favour of lightweight stainless-steel structures with much lower embodied carbon, the technologies themselves set the benchmark in our industry for low operational energy consumption.
On receiving the award Lewis said, “This is a prestigious local award, voted for by a judging panel from MAKE UK (the national manufacturer's organisation). It is recognition of the progress and achievements the company has made and is truly an award recognising every person in every role!”