By Tom Gilmore, Tuam Herald
A Claregalway based company which currently employs 29, JPK Fencing Systmems, has been shortlisted in two categories for awards at the Small Firms Association Annual Awards which will be held in March 2017.
Their fencing, made from recyclable metals and galvanise, is now sold to many major multinational and national companies, including Electric Ireland and Government Departments such as Defence and Education as well as smaller firms and agencies all over the country.
The company, which has its manufacturing plant on the main Galway-Tuam Road, near the turn off for Lackagh, came through torrid times after the economic crash in late 2008 according to Managing Director Kenneth who along with his mother Bridget, is in charge of the firm.
“We had to make some very tough decisions and we had to analyse how our business could survive and thrive in a recession. The choice was to race to the bottom on price or enhance the quality and range of products. Thankfully, we opted for the latter,” said Kenneth,
The firm was founded by the late John Paul Kearney who passed away in 2005 after being at the helm for over 30 years. Only a few years after his father’s death Kenneth had to face into the teeth of the recession by diversifying the company’s products and aiming for sales in areas outside their traditional markets.
“While we focused on designing and manufacturing new products, we also looked at our manufacturing systems. We decided to become ISO 9001-2008 compliant and this meant a root and branch analysis of the business.
“The new systems that we implemented drove efficiencies in the business and this in turn allowed up to be ultra competitive with a better product. What was really impressive about this was the way that the whole team embraced change in the business and worked with the company to secure its ongoing success. My fellow director Bridget and I aee really proud to be part of this team,” added Kenneth.,
Now the firm is the only one from Galway shortlisted for an award in the category for Small Manufacturing Companies with a staff of less than 50. JPK Fencing is also shortlisted for an award in the Sustainable Energy Section where they will face competition fro another Galway company Killary Adventure Centre in Connemara. One other Galway company, The Foods of Athenry, is shortlisted for an award in the Food and Drinks category.
The awards, now in their 12th year, aim to recognise outstanding achievements by indigenous firms over a sustained period of time, many with limited support.
The Awards prize package for all finalists includes an exhibition stand at that SFA National Small Business Showcase in February 2017, a strategic management masterclass weekend, a voucher for a Skillnets Management CEO course, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, valued at €50,000.
JPK Fencing manufacture palisade fencing, motorway safety barriers, acoustic fencing, round bar railing, weldmesh fencing, chainlink fencing, timber fencing and pedestrian guard rails.