Origins. Who are Flotec Industrial Limited?
This feature explores Flotec, its beginnings, products, industries served, people, culture, and future vision.
The Origins of Flotec Industrial Limited.
Incorporated on 16th September 1994 with official trade commencing the following year, Loughborough-based Flotec was founded to serve local industries in need of hydraulic, pneumatic and pipeline products.
The primary route to market was supplying local trade counter customers combined with providing an exceptional delivery service.
Flotec was quick to gain a glowing reputation for fulfilling supply and demand requirements to an incredibly high standard.
One of the original founders remains Managing Director to this very day.
Julian Davies first entered the hydraulics industry as an apprentice and from a young age decided he wanted to start his own scalable business.
Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit and early in his working life, Julian envisaged forming his own organisation with the vision to grow, develop and manage the business in a way complimentary to his exact liking.
Starting out was a steep learning curve with Davies taking on all other functions beyond the engineering activity, ranging from marketing, sales, procurement through to the operational, logistical, and financial facets required to make Flotec the success story it is today.
In a short space of time, Julian grew Flotec to a sufficient size that he was able to employ a salesperson with Maria Smith being appointed just a few years after the formation of the company.
Maria is a long-time server, and this year celebrates her 25th anniversary working at Flotec.
On a Roll with Growth.
As Flotec began to gain momentum in supplying an increasing number of local industries, the team too, began to expand.
Other early employees included Sam Green and Ryan Hickman who between them have racked up approximately thirty years of service.
After spending time in almost every aspect of the business, Sam now leads internal sales and operations.
Starting as a hose assembly operator, today Hickman manages a growing team of on-site engineers.
Another long-serving member of the team is Judith Bullers. Having previously worked in an accountancy capacity for a variety of manufacturing businesses, Judith has headed up the financial running of Flotec for a commendable nineteen years.
On-Track with the Rail Sector.
Having grown industrial market share in sectors such as agriculture, construction, pharmaceutical, power, water treatment and much more, Julian identified yet another lucrative market.
Notoriously difficult to penetrate, Julian realised he had to offer something quite unique.
Recognising that many other suppliers were merely replacing like-for-like worn parts, Julian’s idea was to provide an alternative product offering which could be guaranteed to last much longer than others.
Having already forged relationships and established Flotec as an official Gates Hydraulics distributor, Julian got busy collaborating with the globally renowned stakeholder to develop hydrostatic and coolant hoses with superior coupling and clamping innovations.
Nowadays, PowerGrip clamps and the Bluestripe EPDM coolant hose along with the recently branded Railtec MED2-HT hydrostatic hose and accompanying MegaCrimp coupling solutions are all tried, tested, and live on the UKs rail network, each item offering unique selling points.
Enjoying the enviable kudos of being an official Angel Trains innovation partner, Flotec supplies to a wide variety of train operating and leasing companies and has also discovered an additional niche in the market by servicing on-track maintenance organisations and their vehicles.
Another product development has come in the guise of an award-winning variable pitch fan which helps eliminate RTI engine issues encountered with DMU train fleets.
A far cry from its humble beginnings, today, Flotec employs a diverse mix of high performing teams consisting of over 25 people.
The two Chloe’s, Lofthouse and Smith, manage all purchasing activity with Sophie Wright and Megan Handy supporting Judith with the accounts function.
The internal sales team has grown to accommodate an increase of in-bound enquiries.
Lukasz Skrodzki heads up the ever-busy trade counter and overall warehouse operations.
Lee Jones has recently celebrated ten years of service and oversees production.
Flotec also employs dedicated delivery drivers and goods-in personnel.
Ryan continues to expand the on-site engineering crew and in 2019, Richard Hodgkinson joined the group to run its external sales force.
Richard brought with him a vast amount of industrial engineering experience and more, connections within the bus OEM market.
Supplying bus manufacturers with hydraulic and associated needs adds further depth to Flotec’s transport heritage.
Richard and his team have also witnessed significant success in providing customers with a free-on-loan self-assembly crimper offering, with the objective being to reduce critical downtime and eliminate costly emergency mobile van charges.
Flotec is more than a hydraulics, pneumatics, and pipeline supplier. At the start of each academic year, the company kits out Loughborough College’s engineering faculty with all necessary PPE and clothing.
In fact, there isn’t much the Chloe ‘purchasing duo’ can’t source with many clients viewing Flotec as a single source of supply.
Building positive supply chain relationships with a varied portfolio of product categories empowers Flotec to be a go-to provider of choice.
2020 – New Year, New Starter, Anniversary and Pandemic.
In 2020, Barry Michael Aldridge joined Flotec as its marketing manager, bringing with him a rich history in predominantly B2B manufacturing sectors.
It was this year that the organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary at arguably the most disruptive time in modern history.
With COVID unleashing its formidable force, Flotec adapted, remained open-for-business, survived and flourished.
2021 – A New Chapter, More New Starters and Award Wins
For Julian, this move proved to be a viable exit strategy whilst protecting the future of the company that he himself, had founded and grew from the ground-up.
It felt important to Julian that his staff had a secure future ahead of them, taking ownership of the Flotec brand and its on-going success.
Flotec continued welcoming new starters to its team to further support operational and commercial activity.
In 2021, Flotec was recognised for its work in introducing variable pitch fan technology to the rail sector and won an award for innovation in engineering and manufacturing through the Leicestershire Live Innovation Awards.
2022 – Gaining Momentum in Rail
2022 continued its upwards trend with more people joining the company and the business winning a multi-million-pound contract with train operator, Northern.
With the first train fleet modification being completed in late 2022, 2023 will be an exciting year as Flotec undertakes a project to modify and upgrade all remaining legacy DMU units for the UKs second largest train operator.
The Flotec Culture.
Paying a trip to Flotec, you can’t help but feel a sense of teamwork, solidarity, and ambition.
A relatively small but diverse group of people, Flotec nurtures a family style ‘vibe’ which radiates outwardly.
Education and life-long learning is encouraged with many of Flotec’s people undergoing respective professional training.
Obvious too, is Flotec’s charitable endeavours as well as ensuring the safety and wellbeing towards one another.
When meeting with Julian Davies, you instantly pick up on his passion held for the company and its people.
Wearing the Badges of Accreditation.
Important for Flotec is to further bolster its ethos and culture with official recognition. Such kudos includes ISO 9001 certification, RISQS accreditation and membership of the Rail Forum, Federation for Small Businesses and British Fluid Power Association.
Flotec is also a disability confident employer, part of the Rail Business Daily Community and has signed the Railway Industry Association’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Charter.
Further involvement has been had with the East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre.
The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent it.
The future looks bright for Flotec. With Julian at the helm for a while longer, the tactical plan is to deliver a smooth transition until the time comes that the team at Flotec can continue steering the ship into new, exciting, rewarding, and profitable waters.
The Flotec team is primed, charged and ready to invent, design and engineer its very own future success.