Tony King – 40 years of fluid power knowledge
In a world where long-service appears to be a thing of the past, Tony King is the exception to the rule. Since 1991, Tony has been a mainstay at Eastern Hose. His vast years of fluid power knowledge and experience are invaluable to our business and have helped make Eastern Hose the market-leader.
Our Head of Marketing, Martyn Rumsby, sat down with Tony to discuss the progression of Eastern Hose, the various positions he’s held, life at Eastern Hose and how he unwinds after a busy week.
M.R – “Let’s start at the beginning, How long have you been in the industry, when did you join Eastern Hose and how did the opportunity come about?”
T.K – “I’ve been in the industry for the past 40 years. But I joined Eastern Hose in May 1991. In previous employment I worked for the original owners, so when they started Eastern Hose they approached me to come and work for them.”
M.R – “So it was a match made in heaven, with them knowing the qualities you would bring to the business.”
T.K – “Very much so, I joined as a Sales Rep. My main role was to generate new business whilst managing the requirements of the existing customers.”
M.R – “With 40 years of industry knowledge, you must have seen many changes, how different is the industry today to that of yesteryear?”
T.K – “The actual assembly of hoses is much easier now. When I first started there wasn’t really such a thing as a thin cover hose, everything had to be skived – even 2-wire hoses had to be skived and swaged. We didn’t have the swaging facilities to deal with multi-spiral hoses, that was a more specialised product. When we purchased our first 2 inch swager we thought we were the bees knees. Obviously nowadays we have a machine that can do 12 inch, so things have changed considerably.”
M.R – “What about the advancements of products over the years?”
T.K – “Industrial hose hasn’t changed a great deal, an oil delivery hose has always been an oil delivery hose. The quality of the product has definitely changed but the actual product itself has remained what it has always been. Hydraulic hose is a different story, the products we use now , to back then, oh wow. Completely different. The flexibility and ease of fitting are the two biggest changes i’ve seen, especially with our current Dunlop Hiflex products.”
M.R – “So looking at Eastern Hose, how different is it from the business you joined in 1991?”
T.K – “Well we were in a smaller facility with a total staff of about nine, as apposed to todays staff of over 102 across the group. It’s a different animal now to what it was. Everything is computerised, as apposed to the old fashioned pen and paper back then. It makes my job a lot easier when I can see a customers ordering history at the click of a button.”
M.R – What does a normal working day look like for you?”
T.K – “Looking after the Trade Counter ensuring the customers that visit leave happy with our service and their new products. I quality check the orders that are produced on production lines, along with trying to pass on my knowledge to other members of the Team.”
M.R – “I’ve seen it, when you speak people listen. You’re always passing on as much knowledge to the team as possible. It must give you a great sense of pride to know you’re helping to develop our team for the future.”
T.K – “It does give me a great sense of pride and worth. I want to pass my knowledge on, I have to pass it on, I’m not going to be here forever. I want to help the business as much as I can.”
M.R – “Well it’s certainly a great asset for us, we are unlike other businesses within the industry when it comes to product, service and the level of experience we have within the team. Where do you see Eastern Hose in five years time?”
T.K – “With Matt and Elaine leading, along with the wider team we have, the business will continue to go from strength to strength, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.”
M.R – “We have a loyal customer base that regularly visit the Trade Counter, why do you think that is?”
T.K – “It’s a combination of the service, our knowledge and the customer knowing we will go the extra mile for their business. Customers appreciate that and know they can trust us.”
M.R – “Your commitment to the business is unquestionable having been here since 1991. What has kept you here for all these years?”
T.K – “I love the place, it’s my family. I’ve never had a reason to leave.”
M.R – “Great answer! And finally, how do you relax and switch off from the day job?
T.K – ” I love my golf, I run the Suffolk Saturday morning youth league and I love to travel. I spent time in Senegal over Christmas and New Year which was great and I’m off skiing in a few weeks with my family – that’s how I spend my spare time.”
M.R – “It’s been a pleasure talking to you Tony, your passion and commitment to Eastern Hose is remarkable.”
If you’re ever in the Suffolk region and need the advice of Tony, just pop into our fully stocked Trade Counter. You’ll always be greeted with a warm welcome and the unrivalled knowledge of The Fluid Power King.