Kingspan Environmental has established a loyal client base across Europe, the UK and Ireland over the past four decades, and is now looking to replicate its market-leading approach to energy and water solutions on a truly global scale
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Richard Thomas
Creating an industry-leading set of products is one thing, but to do so by addressing and solving one of the most significant, and rapidly evolving multi-sector trends adds a whole other dimension to the Kingspan Environmental success story.
Producing a host of services and solutions to cater for the energy and water sector, the Company’s resultant portfolio not only meets the needs of a customer demographic that ranges from the homeowner to the corporate heavyweight; but is compounded by a longevity and R&D expertise that tops anything else that the market has to offer.
Now, proven experts and innovators across energy storage solutions, wastewater treatment, rainwater harvesting, wind and solar energy generation, and the monitoring of all the above; the Kingspan Group subsidiary is now looking to replicate its more than four decades of success, outside of its core Europe, UK and Ireland markets.
“From an environmental perspective, the predecessor company started off by manufacturing water tanks back in the 1970s and evolved as such until it was acquired by Kingspan in 1996,” introduces Commercial Director, Mark Vaughan. “Becoming a separate division two years later, the business has evolved over the years by leading change and developing new solutions that break the barriers that are out there in the environmental space.
“We have achieved numerous industry and world firsts, continuously developing new technologies and products through innovation and in line with local legislators to improve standards across a number of areas.”
Such areas have incorporated rainwater, wastewater and surface water (through its sewage treatment plants, septic tanks and pumping stations) on the water side of the division; and energy storage (comprising diesel storage, AdBlue & fertiliser tanks, oil tanks, custom moulding solutions and many more containers) on the energy side.
“Overarching both of these are our monitoring, service and telemetry capabilities, as well as our renewable technology solutions which complement the portfolio and are targeted towards a customer demographic which includes anyone from distribution clients, to construction, road haulage and even the domestic homeowner as well,” adds Marketing Director, Cheryl Graham.
“We offer value for money solutions and services, and everything we do is with an environmentally responsible approach.”
The full PLC approach
Such an approach, as alluded to, has no barriers in terms of its reach, with eco friendliness and sustainability a pressing trend for all in the developed world. As a consequence, Kingspan Environmental has worked alongside an ever-expanding list of clients over numerous years as the business helps these companies, entrepreneurs or residents with their own energy efficiency and environmental goals.
“Most of the time, our customers are looking to buy our products for resale rather than for personal use,” Vaughan adds. “They see the opportunity to resell these products as a return on investment, and this is a consequence of offering technically proven products.
“That’s the main point of difference for us too; this quality provides peace of mind for a client, whether it’s a reseller or the end user.”
Peace of mind is compounded once again with clients safe in the knowledge that Kingspan Environmental are in it for the long haul, and will be on hand to see through their sustainability evolution for the next 10 years and beyond.
“It becomes a repeatable business model for both us and the clients,” Vaughan continues, “because the client knows we’ll be behind them every step of the way working on more innovative solutions both for them, and in partnership with them.
Graham affirms: “We’re probably the only company in the world that offers the full ‘PLC’ approach to the sector which brings a lot of credibility in terms of continued innovation and being environmentally responsible; clients safe in the knowledge that we’ll still be here long into the future to stand over our service and warranty.”
The next level
Environmental responsibility, innovation and longevity are joined by quality and customer service excellence to complete what Graham calls the “five strands of our value proposition”.
Naturally, this ethos is applicable on a global scale should the opportunities become available. Poland kick-started the broadening and has since become a centralised hub for the Company’s influence in mainland Europe, and Vaughan has since expanded the search to also include Australasia, the Middle East, South America and North America.
“Acquisition is a huge focus for us and while organic growth will take us some of the way, it is these acquisitions, such as those recently seen in Australia, that will help to make the massive leap,” Graham says. “In each new country we have to start from scratch to an extent but we have faith in our products and the Kingspan brand, experience and reputation does a lot of work in terms of marketing our products and technology.”
Back at ‘base camp’, the Company continues to work equally hard to ensure that its internal infrastructure is strong enough to leverage such extensive external development. A vast part of this strategy is accounted for by an ongoing capital expenditure programme which will take on new impetus in 2018, and is compounded by its role in the Advancing Net Zero programme which will see the business practice what it preaches in becoming carbon zero by 2020.
“In terms of direct examples contributing to the initiative, our head office in County Armagh has a 1.1MW solar installation and we also have combined heat units, and use green gas; and we’re currently at 57 percent of the 100 percent goal,” Vaughan explains. “We have project managers at every business unit dedicated to the cause and who provide progress reports on a monthly basis.”
It’s all about the people
It will take a multitude of tactics, technologies and contributors in order to achieve its carbon zero goal, but the main enabler – as ever- will be Kingspan Environmental’s people.
“There are always a number of discussions that go on regarding this and indeed our supply chain and research etc, but it’s ultimately the people that make our difference,” Vaughan emphasises. “Our MD always says it’s about the people and it is. They can either be the enabler or the disruptor of a business but we’ve been lucky in that we’ve recruited well, hiring very strong, energetic people; many of which who have come through our graduate programme.
“Every year we have an intake of graduates across the Group and Environmental division and this cream of local education – and increasingly, international education – takes us to the next level.”
Graham adds: “It demonstrates strong leadership skills too, being able to bring these people in, develop them, and feed off their energy and fresh ideas.”
In just three series’, 80 new and exciting talents have been brought into the Company via the graduate programme; setting the business up perfectly for the exciting years of expansion and diversification that lie ahead.
“We’re a profitable business with a lot of talented people; we have the best team among peers and competing companies; and we’re seen as a market leader through our innovation,” Vaughan concludes. “Our customers have been with us for decades in a lot of cases and we enjoy the close relationships we have with them. It sounds like clichés, but we live it, and make sure that we collaborate with these guys extensively, often face-to-face.
“Some we operate with are big companies but a lot are smaller with just 20-30 people working for them. We started as a small company ourselves though and can empathise with what they’re looking for.
“They need to know they’re working with a reputable, experienced company, but also that we’ll be here for the long-term future to aid them in their own journeys; and that’s what we can guarantee though our existing and expanding networks.”