When Covid-19 struck, a Suffolk pumpset manufacturer had £350,000 worth of orders cancelled and was left with £200,000 worth of components.
But with the support of a grant from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, DXB Pump & Power was able not only to manage the challenge, but diversify and start a new contract for the Environment Agency. It is now forecasting a major increase of turnover in 2020, even through the COVID crisis.
The LEP launched the £10m scheme to support companies with short and longer-term diversification projects that would help them get through the pandemic. Businesses from cafes and arts groups to manufacturing companies have reaped the rewards of the initiative, which offers grants of between £25,000 and £50,000.
Simon Ruffles, entrepreneur and managing director of Ipswich-based DXB Pump & Power, said the grant had come at a challenging time and helped turn a potentially disastrous situation around for the company, which supplies a diverse range of sectors from agriculture to construction and oil and gas.
“The Resilience and Recovery grant really helped a lot. The project for the supply of pumpsets had gone on hold in Sweden because of Covid and we’d had a customer cancel £350,000 worth of orders from a turnover of £1 million. I had already bought the components, so we were £200,000 in cash down on a ‘work in progress’ and with no guarantee we were going to sell them.
“I had been speaking to Robert Turnbull at New Anglia Growth Hub saying we needed some assistance and he said there was funding if we could diversify our business from just selling new pumpsets. Then the Environment Agency announced it wouldn’t be buying any more pumps, but asked if we would dismantle, refurbish and recycle seven of its largest pumpsets which had been due for replacement. That resulted in close to £700,000 worth of new business.”
The company was set up in 2017 and has grown steadily since, developing a customer base throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East for its high efficiency, ultra-low emission compliant pumping equipment.
About two years ago it received support through the LEP’s Small Grant Scheme to help it fulfil a large order. The funding went towards the 3D design of the kit needed to complete the job and the acquisition of equipment needed to manufacture its pumpsets in Ipswich.
“We applied for about £17,000 and that was one of our first leaps forward,” said Simon. “From that we grew to just under £1m turnover last year and this year we forecast a £1.5m turnover or maybe more.”
Far from being bowed by Covid, DXB Pump has ambitious plans for growth. Major capital infrastructure projects such as HS2 and other national projects like Sizewell C will create demand for its products, and the environmental sensitivity of its equipment gives it an edge over its direct competitors especially in locations such as central London or even coastal Suffolk.
Last month the owners, who all work for DXB Pump & Power, started another company called DXB Integrate focused only on specialist hire of its pumps and solutions throughout the UK, but working in partnership with other plant hire companies rather than direct. The company will invest £1-2m per year for the next decade to build a market leader in the £140m UK pump hire market.
Simon said: “We are developing a whole range of pumps which are all super clean and environmentally friendly, based on Stage 5 diesel engines and hybrid powerpacks as used in electric cars, which we will either sell or rent to our customers around the world, including the USA, Europe and of course East Anglia.”
Robert Turnbull, Business Growth Advisor at New Anglia Growth Hub, said: “I was so pleased that the initial support enabled growth, which is what our support is all about. Then, when resilience was needed to grow in a slightly different direction mitigating some of the negative aspects of Covid-19, our resilience funding supported this.
“Simon is a true entrepreneur driving his enterprise and I look forward to supporting him as he grows further and creates more employment, which I have absolutely no doubt he will.”
For more information about the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme or to discuss the eligibility of your project, contact New Anglia Growth Hub on 0300 333 6536 or email [email protected]