|Tony Hughes, Managing Director of Hughes Safety Showers, marks another important milestone in the company’s progress.|
Stockport-based Hughes Safety Showers is celebrating 45 years in business. It is now Europe’s largest manufacturer of Emergency Safety Showers, Eyebaths and Decontamination Systems. The Company started as a small fabricator working for local customers and is now a major international player in the safety industry with its sights set on continued growth. From the headquarters and manufacturing centre in Bredbury, Hughes supplies engineering contractors and industrial customers around the world. The Company has subsidiaries and sales offices in North America, the Middle East and Germany, and a network of Distributors covering more than 160 countries.
‘This is an important milestone’, says Managing Director Tony Hughes. ‘It’s an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from, but equally important, a time to consider where we go next. My father started fabrication work for the chemical and petrochemical industries in the early 1950s. Customers recognised that there was a lack of safety equipment on their sites and asked him to make and install Safety Showers. Demand increased during the early 60s and as a result, the
Company was formed in 1968 to specifically focus on this type of emergency safety equipment.’
The Company quickly established itself in the UK and then strengthen its position in Europe to provide a launch pad for selling to customers in other parts of the world.
Over the last five years, Hughes has established a firm foothold in North America, and increasing market share is one of the big challenges for the future. Moving into South America is also a priority as well as developing sales in, China and the Far East generally.
‘The opening of a new factory in Bredbury gave us additional manufacturing capacity to meet the steady increase in sales,’ says Tony Hughes. ‘It also provided the ideal opportunity to re-organise our manufacturing and assembly methods to improve productivity and efficiency, enabling us to turn around orders quicker.’
Hughes has received two Queen’s Awards for exporting, and numerous business awards. Tony Hughes has played a key role in developing the new European Standard for Emergency Safety Showers and is an advisor to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Trade and Investment. He has also been a vigorous campaigner for small and medium size businesses.
‘Much of our success’, says Tony, ‘is down to innovation - developing products that solve problems and give customers the best products for their particular application. As a result, we have the largest range of Emergency Safety Showers and Eyewash equipment of any manufacturer in the world. As industry’s needs evolve and legislation changes, we make sure there are always suitable products available.’