Presspahn was established in 1900, supplying electrical paper to the transformer manufacturing industry for insulation. Working out of 38 Wall Street, Bradford, the business grew a solid reputation for delivering high quality products and services. Founded by Phil Robinson in 2006, the independent firm now employs 10 staff based at sites in Cheltenham and Liverpool and serves clients across the UK and internationally. Their wide range of services includes but is not limited to: cyber security assessments; governance; risk management; compliance; security consulting; and cloud security.

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Written by: Alcumus
17th June

‘It’s straightforward, honest advice from people who actually care about my business’

Bought by Malcolm Pinder in 1982, the business has expanded from providing electrical paper for insulation to the manufacturing industry, to providing electrical insulation, thermal insulation, mica insulation materials and component parts to a wide range of industries, including; Switchgear, Transformers, Aerospace, White Goods, Printing, Automotive, Electrical Trade and Building and Construction.

In 1984 they landed a contract to supply high temperature insulation to Black and Decker, then in 1988 they were chosen to supply insulation for the Channel Tunnel after which their reputation for their expertise and delivery of reliable products continued on a strong path. By 1995 they started winning a number of key contracts with big names such as Panasonic, Sanyo and Sharp.

The relationship between Presspahn and Alcumus PSM first started when Malcolm Pinder worked with Tony Izzard at a papermill where they developed a strong mutual respect for each other. Eventually they both went on to run their own businesses, Tony set up a HR and health and safety (H&S) consultancy company called Drury PSM and Malcolm was confident that Tony could offer the professional and experienced advice to help him grow his acquired business. Presspahn were the first signed client of Drury PSM in 1991 and have continued to use the consultancy services for over 27 years.

Making sure staff are treated fairly

The current Managing Director Matthew Pinder has been running the business for over 13 years and has a strong ethos that the management of staff is not a one-way street and that they need to be properly looked after.

Matthew values the HR consultancy service that he gets from Alcumus PSM, explaining ‘The advice I get ensures I take the right actions, I’m compliant with legislation and that staff understand the rules and regulations and can see consistent solid approaches to each aspect of their work’.

He goes on to explain ‘Staff don’t want inconsistency with one being dealt with one way and then another member of staff getting a different set of rules’.

With the advice from his dedicated senior HR consultant Marie-Clare Swallow, Matthew has put in place standard policies and procedures to make sure the business is run well and the staff are properly looked after.

When speaking of his experience with Alcumus PSM, Matthew explains, ‘It saves me countless hours and costs of HR training that I would have to do and the paperwork and documentation I would have to produce. Having Marie-Clare there, I don’t have to know everything about HR, I just email or call her about a specific topic, give her the facts and she advises accordingly.’ He continues ‘She gives me honest and clear advice, even if it’s not what I want to hear, she has my businesses best interests at heart and that is invaluable’.

Protecting the business from itself

Alcumus PSM supports Presspahn with both HR and H&S services and when speaking of H&S, Matthew has a different view, ‘Health and safety is about being compliant and protecting the business from poor choices’. From his perspective, ‘The advice ensures the time I put in is effective because I have had the expertise and advice to go about my health and safety implementation the best way. It protects my business from mistakes that could cost people their jobs or cause injury’.

Matthew adds, ‘My consultant gives honest advice on how I should conduct myself, it’s not simply put up guards and switch everything off, it’s always done in a way that allows me to practically support our business operations.’

‘Health and safety can feel over bearing sometimes, but the advice we are given by Alcumus PSM has never felt like that, and to be honest its prevented me from implementing processes the wrong way or worse, missing things because I don’t have the expertise to identify the risk’.

Injuries in the work place can cause businesses a significant amount in lost man hours and labour, and the time that it takes to investigate incidences and report them under RIDDOR to the HSE can have a big impact. According to the HSE, in 2016/17 there were 31.2m working days lost due to work-related illness and injury, which cost businesses an estimated £14.9bn.

Having worked with Alcumus PSM since the beginning, Matthew takes pride in the fact that putting the recommended mechanisms in place for H&S has made Presspahn a safer and cleaner place to work. He adds ‘We’ve not had a RIDDOR incident in over 13 years, and that incident was unfortunately a human error that couldn’t have been predicted’.

Straight talking honest and valuable advice

For many SMEs, having that consistent and reliable go to person for HR and H&S is very important. The relationship between Presspahn and Alcumus PSM has grown from the trust, respect and friendship that developed between two hardworking and honest businessmen.

In light of the acquisition of Drury PSM by Alcumus Group in 2011, Matthew advises ‘Competitors ask me all the time whether the service I now get is different, and my answer is the same every time, no. It’s not what I have experienced at all. To me it made no difference, the name changed but the vision and relationship stayed as it was when Tony Izzard owned the business. Essentially we carried on business as usual’.

‘I value the relationship 100%, Marie-Clare has upheld the honest, straight talking approach that Malcolm had with Tony Izzard, and for me that is very important’.

For many SMEs keeping the costs down is vital and regardless of the size or turnover of the business, legal obligations are the same across the board. Making sure you have a cost-effective solution in place to cover you for employment law and H&S legislative compliance is key. When asked about the costs of Alcumus PSM’s services, Matthew comments ‘The costs are appropriate and provide value for money for the expertise I’m getting. It would be very expensive for me to employ, for example, a HR consultant of Marie-Clare’s level, knowledge and expertise’.

Presspahn have been in existence for over 93 years and continues to grow in the fast-paced market of which it lives in. Although the success of the business is completely down to the hard work and innovation of Presspahn’s management and staff, Matthew explains that ‘We are here and we are doing well. Alcumus PSM help me with the HR and H&S aspects so that I can concentrate on what I do best, and that’s looking after my customers with our products and services’.