Heap & Partnersí office of the future?

Heap & Partnersí new Head Office is a model for how the working environment has to provide more for staff than just a place to work. As Managing Director David Millar said "Companies expect their staff to spend long periods of time at work and staff expect to get more out of work than just a pay packet. Lines between work and play can blur to the benefit of all, how else can you get good team work without social interaction?"

Since 1866 Heapís head office has been in the North West of England. For the last thirty years the company has run three offices in the North West as well offices in Teesside and London. Running three offices in the North West alone was proving inefficient, expensive and limiting to growth. So the search was on to find a site big enough to take all three offices, provide additional room for expansion and reduce costs. The company was fortunate to be carrying out the search during the property recession, which made sellers very receptive to offers!

Canada Works (the site eventually chosen) covers 43,000 square feet giving the company ample room for expansion. The warehouse portion was laid out as one big open space. This meant the company was able to choose how to lay out warehouse and production areas to give the optimum flow of work from "Goods Received" right through to "Despatch"

Why "Canada Works"?
Before William Heap set up his engineering supply company in Liverpool in 1866 he worked for the greatest railway builder in the world Thomas Brassey. Brassey built the original Canada Works (sadly long gone) a few hundred yards away from Heapís new Canada Works in Birkenhead. The company even has some of the cobbles from the original site which will be utilised at the new site. "It seemed fitting to both William Heap and Thomas Brassey to revive the name." said David.

Better Facilities
With the move came the opportunity to provide the staff with more than just a more productive work area. The company has installed a relaxing breakout area (with sofas, tables and chairs), informal meeting areas and even a gym! Staff now come in early, stay late or use their lunch time to keep fit. As David explained "Once you have the space available, the cost of fitting out a gym is nominal for a company, and itís proving very popular".

Fitness seems to be a theme with the company. The office move has reduced the commute for the majority of the staff. This in turn has seen the company join the government cycle scheme which enables staff to buy bicycles tax free through the company payroll system, and at no cost to the company. The number of staff members now cycling to work has shot up.

What about the future for this office?
The company isnít planning to sit still! Work has begun on installing a decked roof garden to give the staff a garden area. The staff are apparently already pushing for this to be complete for November the 5th so they can hold a party up there. This will be a new addition to the list of annual parties the staff already organise!

An application is also being submitted for the installation of Solar and Wind power. David explained "This is more than a token gesture to global warming. The first phase would be the solar power and this alone would generate one twelfth of our total electrical requirements (including all of the CNC machines). In other words for one month of the year we would need nothing from the national grid. The second phase of a wind turbine would more than double that!"

Heap & Partners is currently enjoying a period of growth and is using this opportunity to substantially restructure the company, lower costs, improve efficiencies and provide more for their staff. In times of recession itís nice to see a manufacturer expanding and investing!

Heap & Partners Ltd.
Tel: 0151 488 7222
Website: www.heaps.co.uk

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 12

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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