Powering the World!Harper Jenny
Multi award-winning Alsager firm Hydraulics Online is gearing up for more success this year having recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the Micro Exporter of the Year category by the PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards 2019.
The company continues to thrive in the export market and prove there’s no place like home to run a profitable global business, despite the uncertainty of Brexit.
In broader terms, 2019 is looking hugely optimistic and is already set to mark a couple of new milestones in the company’s history. One of these milestones is a launch event on 2nd March to reveal the 3rd UK Concorde (G-BOAC) with a working droop nose thanks to a system designed by Hydraulics Online. The other milestone will be revealed at the beginning of March 2019, so watch this space…
The husband-and-wife-led company exports to 130 countries sourcing hydraulics and providing consultancy and technical design support to customers operating in 24 market sectors from aerospace and agriculture to recycling and waste management. Customers range from local businesses to global, household names and from specialist teams involved in heritage projects – including Concorde – to those undertaking innovative research projects like the University of Edinburgh, HypED team in Elon Musk’s global hyperloop challenge.
Since the end of 2017, the now 7-strong Hydraulics Online team have been recognised for a startling 12 business awards, the latest of which is the PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards taking place in York on 7th February. Shortlisted for the Micro Exporter of the Year award, Hydraulics Online is now acknowledged to be one of the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
Mark Tonks, an experienced hydraulics engineer and Helen Tonks, a senior financial services project manager, set about tapping into a growing online global market from their desk at home initially using nothing more than a laptop.
We had both had enough of working hard for big companies who, despite claiming otherwise, didn’t put their customers and staff first. We knew we had to change things and knew what we wanted to do – we just didn’t know exactly how we were going to get there. But that didn’t worry us.
We had four children at the time, now five, and for family life to work we knew we just had to go for it. It wasn’t the easy path to take, but it’s been the most rewarding journey: creating ‘something’ from ‘nothing’.
Thanks to Mark’s expertise and industry knowledge, Hydraulics Online quickly developed a reputation for fast and efficient customer service; a high-performing website and strong track record fuelling the business’s growth still further.
We’ve used some fundamental concepts to make Hydraulics Online the success it is today, says Mark.
Like good old-fashioned personal service. Every time. Our customers choose us because we’re knowledgeable. reliable and honest; we’re not tied in to any manufacturers and brands so we offer unbiased advice and access to the widest possible range of product solutions. We’re not just the sales-extension of a bigger company.
So are the couple anxious about Brexit? “No, we’re not,” advises Helen, who is a regular guest speaker on business circuits. “Any business should thrive if they’re completely in tune and aligned to meeting their customers’ needs. Confidence is crucial as well. Some of the best advice we were ever given came right at the start when we were told, ‘don’t lose your nerve’. And in our experience, there’s a wealth of external support available for businesses looking to grow and innovate: locally, regionally and for exporting from the Department for International Trade. You just need to have the appetite and put your head above the parapet in the first place.”