David Millar, Heap & Partners, Birkenhead

Tell us about your company?

Heap & Partners Ltd was founded in 1866 as an engineering supply company and that is what we still do today. We distribute valves, instrumentation and control systems for three main sectors - Power & Process, Life Science and Oil & Gas. In addition, we manufacture very large valves for the Oil & Gas market. We have just landed an order for our largest valve yet which will weigh about 5 tonnes. Our Head Office is in Birkenhead but we also have offices in London, Birmingham and Middelsbrough. Most of our customers are UK based but we export about 20% of our turnover which is a growing side of the business. Our staff numbers have risen from 36 to 46 in the last three years and we now employ five apprentices. The company is driven by our '3Ps' program which stands for People, Planet & Profit. We believe that if we want to grow our profits we have to plough more back into the business by focusing on the other two P's. Our Planet P aims for the company to become carbon neutral. This has been a wonderful driver for taking cost out of our business. Who wouldn’t want to cut their electricity bill by 60% as we have? Finally the People P covers our staff volunteering scheme designed to help local charities and to boost staff morale. Each member of staff gets 6 days paid volunteering time to help local charities.

What is your background?

I have a B.A. (Hons.) in Business Studies and a Diploma in company direction so I have to surround myself with extremely clever engineers to explain all the hard stuff to me. I’ve worked at Heap & Partners for 24 years in various roles until I bought the company out in 2008. My only regret is that I didn’t manage to do that sooner.

"Our head office is in Birkenhead but we also have offices in London, Birmingham and Middelsbrough, most of our customers are UK based but we export about 20% of our turnover..."

Where do you want the business to be in two years?

Seeing the company turning over £15m (currently £8m) of which 50% will be manufactured in-house and half of it going abroad. All whilst being carbon neutral. Difficult!

If you could suggest something to Government which would help businesses grow what would it be?

You can only pay your way out of the debt mountain with manufacturers exporting more, so reduce taxes and get out of the way.

What do you do to try and relax away from the office?

If I want to unwind then I cook.

What hobbies do you have?

A bit of the country life as I love shooting.

Have you any hidden talents that we don’t know about?

Does juggling count?

One piece of advice you would give an 18 years old David Millar starting out today?

Develop your gut instinct... it’s invaluable.

Any final comments?

Don’t confuse reducing your carbon footprint with tree hugging hippies. It’s all about the bottom line.

David has developed a business plan which will see Heap & Partners move toward his target of increased growth over the next two years, and bringing with it a skilled and flexible workforce supplying some of the best process and instrumentation valves and ancillary equipment available on the market today.  Find out more about Heap & Partners by visiting its website



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