Teesside-based hydraulics business goes from strength to strength

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Middlesbrough-based hydraulics firm Industrial and Marine Hydraulics (IMH) is celebrating a record year for turnover following a period of investment and ambitious growth – and the journey is only just gathering pace.

When Paul Griffiths set up the specialist service engineering business back in the 1980s, his original focus was to provide local firms on Teesside with maintenance and repair advice. Today, some 36 years later, IMH employs more than 30 people and provides support to companies all over the world.

Earlier this year, Paul was awarded an MBE for services to engineering skills and apprenticeships in Teesside and, after almost four decades at the helm, he is now formally handing the business over to his son, James.

“My passion for engineering and training is in my blood. I love passing on my experience and will continue to do so,” says Paul.

Though he is stepping down as business leader, Paul will continue to carry out training and remain on the board as a non-executive director.

For son James, there are exciting times ahead. The business has just achieved a record turnover mark and the plans for further growth are already taking shape.

He puts the success of the business down to several factors:

• Not compromising on safety.
• Honest and open relationships with its customers and staff.
• Stretching for and successfully securing larger projects.
• Employing an experienced and highly skilled workforce.
• Striving for excellence and looking for opportunities to implement improvements.
• Investing now for long term benefits.

James says: “When the senior team set out its growth strategy for the next five years, we realised that this would mean dealing with several challenges within the organisation, if we were going to be successful.

“My dad has built a truly wonderful business and we have an unbelievable foundation to build from. However, we recognised that to achieve the growth we are so passionate about, there would need to be some significant changes.”

For the senior team, that meant a change in the size of jobs being bid for and, in 2018, IMH was awarded its single largest project to provide engineering design, manufacture and installation of the complete hydraulic system, including several hydraulic power units, for the Boston Flood Defence Barrier in Lincolnshire.

For commercial director Ian Duffew this was a significant achievement for the business.

He explains: “Our sales and engineering team spent months working with the client to understand and then develop a technical solution that would work.

“That hard work paid off with the biggest single contract award in our history and the experience we are gaining at this level is helping us compete for similar projects around the UK.”

But there are several other key changes on the horizon. As a result of recent growth – and to support further expansion of its specialist services – IMH is planning to move to larger premises

“We are committed to staying on Teesside and setting up a new facility that will be our headquarters for engineering, quality, training and all of our other central functions,” stated James.

In addition to its Teesside plans, IMH opened up a facility on the Port of Blyth earlier this year and is successfully picking up work with local clients in that region.

And the good news keeps coming. In the last 12 months, IMH has successfully recruited an additional 11 employees (including two new apprentices), taking headcount to over 30 full-time staff. And according to Ian and James, the recruitment programme is set to continue in line with revenue growth.

For more information on IMH, visit imh-uk.com or tel. 01642 802700.


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