Norfolk-based mechanical engineering firm Pruce Newman are celebrating success today, having been confirmed as a Regional Winner in the British Chambers of Commerce Awards. Pruce Newman, a family-owned business with headquarters in Wymondham, were presented with the award for High Growth Business of the Year following outstanding results in 2018 which saw a 63% increase in turnover and 81% increase in pre-tax profitability, and an 18% increase in headcount with the creation of 22 new jobs.

The company, which specialises in the fabrication and installation of specialist industrial pipework, has seen an increase in demand for its services across the region, and has capitalised on its strong links with partners to create a one-stop shop for clients who face increasing pressure to do “more with less”. With an offer encompassing Design, Fabrication, Installation, Plant Maintenance, Project Management and Labour Supply, Pruce Newman is able to provide a broad level of support to its customers, especially those who may not have this expertise in-house.

Speaking about the award, Managing Director Graham Newman said:

“We’re delighted to have been chosen as High Growth Business of the Year in the Eastern Region. The past few years have seen a transformation in Pruce Newman, and our sharper focus on delivering high quality fabrication and installation projects to clients in the chemical, oil & gas, and energy sectors is showing a clear return. Our industry has seen its share of ups and downs recently, and we’re fortunate that our business has had the resilience to survive market turmoil which has treated some of our competitors more harshly.”

Pruce Newman operates in a range of industry sectors, including chemical, fuel storage, food & drink production, power generation, pharmaceutical and oil & gas. This broad client base has enabled Pruce Newman to balance downturns in one sector with upturns in another, meaning that the company has continued to grow where other businesses may not have been so fortunate. Activity in the region’s oil and gas sector is steadily increasing, and this, combined with the improving performance of the manufacturing sector in the East of England have benefited Pruce Newman, although the company’s recent growth is significantly higher than the regional average.

Mr Newman continued:

“We haven’t achieved this (success) in isolation, and we have to thank a few key people and organisations for the part that they have played in our growth. First of all, we have to thank our customers. Pruce Newman works with global brands to improve their facilities in the East of England, and the uncertainty over post-Brexit arrangements has seen many projects delayed, whilst others have been brought forward to complete before March 2019. This has made our forecasting more challenging, however it has also made us think more creatively about how we work, delivering to tighter timescales whilst maintaining our commitment to quality, safety and wellbeing across the business.”

“We have to thank our partners. We work with a great supply chain, and collaborate with a range of complementary businesses in the region to deliver a complete solution for our clients. There’s also a broad range of established and emerging business support in the East, particularly in Norfolk, where our head office is based. We’ve engaged with many of these organisations, including the University of East Anglia, New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Future50, and of course Norfolk Chamber, to create and deliver a programme of changes and improvements to our processes, productivity and culture, which has directly contributed to the growth that Pruce Newman has achieved.”

Working with these organisations has enabled Pruce Newman to introduce a programme of digitisation to improve productivity and customer service, increasing the company’s ability to work effectively from client sites and to have engineering support immediately available to customers. The business has also been able to increase its investment in training and development, leading to a renewed Apprenticeship offer and the development of a graduate intake in conjunction with the UEA. Employee development is a cornerstone of Pruce Newman’s business philosophy, and the company works hard to ensure that its 140-strong team are given the support that they need to maximise their potential. 46% of Pruce Newman’s staff have been with the business for over five years, demonstrating stability in an industry normally associated with a transient workforce and short-term employment opportunities.

It is these staff who have been the most instrumental in Pruce Newman’s recent growth. As Graham Newman comments:

“And we certainly have to thank our staff. Pruce Newman is a family-owned business, and the most important contribution to our success has been made by our family of employees, who have shown incredible determination and support through all of the challenges that we have faced together. Without their commitment to the business, none of our achievements would have been possible.”

Pruce Newman will now move forward to the National Finals of the Chamber Business Awards in November, joining the other regional winners at Tobacco Dock in London to find out which of them will be crowned High Growth Business of the Year.