Herts Mechanical Handling Services Ltd specialises in the installation, maintenance, repair and decommission of materials handling equipment. Set up over 30 years ago, the business was built, on service, expertise and can do attitude and has consistently met and exceeded customers requirements.

Simon Howell, Managing Director at Herts Mechanical Handling Services.

During 2022, the man who started it all, Peter Tyrell, decided it was time to enjoy a well earned retirement and sold the business to long standing employee Simon Howell.

Here, Simon reflects on the last 10 months highlighting some of the changes that have taken place.

‘Well, August 17th 2022 was a day to remember! 35 years to the day of starting work, there I was effectively starting work again, but this time as the owner of a business. Having been at HMHS for almost 15 years, I knew the business was solid, well regarded with an excellent base of longstanding employed engineers. My plan from the start was evolution, not revolution. I wanted to bring the company into the digital age and reduce some of the wasted effort, but it also felt like a perfect time to have a new start, a fresh start. Perhaps to challenge and change some of our old procedures and practices. The ideas gathered pace, and in December 2022, and with a new logo, HMHS moved from its historical Hemel Hempstead home to a rural unit at Toddington just off junction 12 of the M1.

The move has given us the opportunity to consolidate and set the offices and stores out in a logical and planned manner. It is still local to the M1, so our engineers are never far away, but the rural setting seems at times a world away from the old business park at Hemel Hempstead. I think the physical location has also given the company and its employees a chance to believe in a new start.

We reviewed our core business and concluded that over time, we had drifted from what we were established for, and consequently could be spread too thin at times, or diverted from profitable work. We decided to concentrate on our key skills: installation, repair, maintenance and decommissioning of MHE, conveyors, cranes and automated vertical storage (Kardex type) machines, heavy / complex lifting and embedded engineers.

The results speak for themselves; morale is up, productivity is up, enquiries are coming in and we regularly receive a ‘Thanks on a Great Job’ from our customers.

There’s still more to do; we are now working on changing the structure within the engineering side of the business to make it more logical and more robust, we have recently implemented Service Geeni across the business which is showing huge savings by eliminating errors and paperwork.

But the most immediate thing is our 33rd birthday – this is on 12 July 2023 and we’re having a company party to celebrate being established for 1/3rd of a century. A day to get together, reflect on the past and to look ahead to the next 33 years.’

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