Updated: Feb 2
From a standing start in October 2017 Jay Browne has built a thriving engineering business that is defying the economic gloom to keep growing rapidly.
He started JayB Fabrication Engineering and Powder Coating with just himself working from a 1,000 sq ft industrial space. Today the business, which has two divisions, employs 22 people and operates from a 13,000 sq ft headquarters in Knowsley Industrial Estate.
Both the engineering fabrication and powder coating sides of the business are separate - but also complementary. Jay believes his proposition is “unique”, adding: “We are a one-stop shop, from manufacturing to finish. Not many others can offer that.”
Jay trained as a fabrication engineer and spent a number of years working in the sector. He worked not just in the UK but also in Europe and in Australia
He explained: “I worked for a lot of places and with a lot of people and, during that period, I built up a strong reputation. When I returned to the UK from Australia I really wanted to start my own business. I have worked for many employers over the years and had formed a rounded view of the working culture I would like to create for my employees to thrive in. At JayB our philosophy is based around a clean, modern working environment using technology to improve processes that will ultimately save our staff time. We’re a flexible and diverse employer who truly values each individual’
“In the beginning it was just me working out of a 1,000 sq ft unit. All those contacts I had built up, along with my reputation for delivering high quality work, meant I was able to grow quickly and start bringing other people into the business.”
JayB works with customers in multiple sectors. They include oil and gas companies, hydraulic, construction, catering and renewable energy According to Jay, the renewables sector is probably the biggest growth area for the company as the UK accelerates its drive towards net zero carbon.
At the moment a significant percentage of the company’s work comes from the North West, but this year Jay is keen to expand the business’s geographical footprint. It already has a client in Ireland.
Metal fabrication is the process of building machines and structures from raw metal materials. JayB can quickly manufacture high quality bespoke products such as pipework, frames, tanks, cabinets, conveyors and much more. It offers professional standard welding.
Powder coating is widely used in industry as an alternative to painting. It is a dry finishing process created by an electric charge that causes a dry powder to fuse to the surface of the metal.
This is then baked in a curing oven to achieve a smooth coating. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint, offering a more durable alternative.
“Being able to offer a complete product from manufacture to finish gives us a real competitive advantage.” Among the team here we have a really special skillset. It is a fantastic team of people, and not just on the shop floor.
“As well as skilled people on the shop floor we have people specialising in procurement, accounts, marketing and IT.
“We also have a couple of great apprentices and that has been really important to me. One of the keys to keeping a business growing is making sure you have the right people. Bringing young people into the firm and training them up benefits them and it benefits us.”
It has been a tough couple of years for businesses across all sectors. Brexit and the pandemic affected everybody and, no sooner had we emerged from COVID, the cost-of-living crisis took hold. This was magnified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine which sent energy prices rocketing.
Jay acknowledges that JayB hasn’t been immune to any of those things. However, he is confident he has the fundamentals in place to weather the storm and see the firm continue to flourish.
He added: “All those different things have affected us, as they have all businesses But we have a strong client base who really value the work that we do for them and consistently come back for more.
“We have taken steps to diversify and I think we are in a great position to keep on growing. We have plans to open another unit to help us deal with the expected growth in work.
“Where I see the most potential for growth is in the renewable energy sector. With the push to net zero that is going to be huge and we are well positioned to grab a slice of that. As far as I am concerned, the sky is the limit.”