Elgin-based QHS Scotland is looking to expand after successfully breaking into the global oil and gas market just 18 months after starting up.
QHS (Quality Hydraulic Systems) Scotland has defied current tough trading conditions and is preparing for growth as orders for the design and manufacture of onshore and offshore sub sea equipment soar.
The company, which employs 11 people, has a full order book for the next 12 months and is enjoying a rate of growth that has taken even its two founders, Charlie Forsyth and David Morrison, by surprise.
“We wanted to stay in Moray and have proved we don’t need to be in Aberdeen to flourish in the oil and gas sector.
“We manufacture equipment and although we also do repairs and upgrades, the equipment comes to us. We don’t need to be on-hand at the quayside.
“Obviously we want to be reasonably close to an airport and here in Elgin we are close to both Aberdeen and Inverness.”
Assisted by business start-up funding from Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) the company is now one of the agency’s account-managed businesses under HIE’s new model of operation.
Charlie and David launched QHS Scotland in April 2007 after striking up a friendship working together at McDermotts at Ardersier, Inverness. They kept in touch and formed their idea for a business that would combine their industry experience – the design and manufacture of subsea hydraulic control systems.
“I knew there was a huge waiting list for this specialised equipment. But we also knew that if we were going to bid to supply them we had to make sure we had the capability to deliver so that meant bold investment,” says David.
David also praises as ‘excellent’ the advice from HIE which provided a free business adviser to guide the business through the accountancy requirements it would have to meet and continues to assist the company with its growth plans.
The pair’s biggest business challenge was getting the right premises. They eventually found the ideal start-up building owned by Johnsons of Elgin.
Its first order was a small repair job for a large oil service company. Since then QHS has picked up orders from all over the world winning customers in Brazil, India, Egypt, Africa, Australia, Norway, Italy and Spain.
“We’ve been extremely happy with the response from the market for our services,” says Charlie.
“David and I both understand the front end of the industry and a number of our staff have worked offshore so we are all aware of the practical application of the equipment we produce and the importance of delivering orders on time.
“Our track record has been such that orders have multiplied since we began in a way we could not have predicted.”
To sustain its growth QHS Scotland is now looking to recruit people in areas including design, stainless steel fabrication, mechanical and instrumentation pipe fitting.