J-Flex is an entrepreneurial, second generation family business based in the Midlands that manufacture and supply rubber products to industry around the world. Paul Andrews spoke to second generation Managing Director, Sam Kirk to find out more.
J-Flex supply a vast range of quality items including rubber sheetings and components made from premium grade elastomers including silicone and Viton™, and actively supply into a wide range of markets and sectors, including Energy & Utilities, Renewable Energy, Food & Drink, Manufacturing, Engineering, Rail, Pharmaceutical and Automotive.
This is a proud, second-generation family business committed to delivering their shared vision through their core values – values that epitomise why they work, and what it means to be a part of the wider J-Flex family.
When Sam took over the helm he spent time reflecting on the journey of the business to date and the building for the future, something that has resulted in the transformation of the business and empowerment of the leadership team too. As Sam explains, “I wanted to create a sustainable business with an empowered team that could help us move strongly into the next phase of our journey. We have a solid vision that is underpinned by core values that have been incorporated into what we do, how and why we do it and focused our purpose too. This is something that I firmly believe in and has resulted in a leadership team that understands who we are as a business and what drives us going forward.”
For many family firms the transition from first to second generation can be the hardest, notably as it is new to both parties and for many it is the elephant in the room, something that is not discussed at all, possibly due to respect for the elder generation or just continually deferring the conversation until a later date. For Sam, the way that succession was introduced was at first a bit of a shock. “When my Dad turned 64 he simply came out with the fact that he was retiring in a year so we had no choice but to work on the succession plan,” explains Sam. “It certainly focused our attention on what needed to be done and we are now in the next phase of our family business journey as I have taken the reigns and Dad has taken on a senior role as Chairman.”
As a manufacturer there are undoubtedly challenges due to supply chains, availability of staff and price increases, together with general economic uncertainty but J-Flex is a business that takes things in their stride, utilising their strengths and their relationships to continue to evolve. As Sam explains, “We are a solid business with a good reputation and a can do attitude. We work with our customers to provide solutions that meet their needs and do it by staying true to who we are, our underlying values. We have encouraged colleagues to come with us on the journey and have created a culture of ownership, pride in what we do, empowerment of people and a focus on doing the right things rather than just doing things right – there is a massive difference and it works.”
Sam is very much the epitome of the entrepreneurial next generation leader, making a difference and putting his stamp on the way things are done. Everything is thought through and the team is on board and we look forward to seeing the next stages in the development of this entrepreneurial Midlands based business that services customers all over the world.
For more information, visit their website at www.j-flex.com