Jerba Campervans' Elevating Roof Workshop

Jerba Campervans' Elevating Roof Workshop

Name of organisation/business: 
Jerba Campervans
Funding: 
Tyne Esk LEADER: £51,000
Scottish Rural Development Programme priority: 
Enhancing the rural economy
 

Location

Unit B, Halfland Barns
North Berwick
East Lothian
EH39 5PW
        
Contact details: 
Simon Poole (MD) Contact details: 01620 890374, 07940 305024, simon@jerba.co.uk

What are the aims of your project?

The construction of the elevating roof workshop will enable us to capitalise on this new product – an opportunity that we currently do not have due to the lack of available space and production time in our present workshop.

Over the past 10 years we have built Jerba Campervans from a start up business into one of the leading UK brands at the high quality end of the VW campervan market. We have customers from right across the UK – from Dover to the Shetlands. As an approved converter for Volkswagen with full European Whole Vehicle Type Approval safety certification we work to tight controls and regulations.

Combined with a keen focus on the best customer care we have created an excellent reputation and from that a lengthy order book. In our current workshop, where we fully convert campervans, we have a nine-month waiting list with orders received from almost 40 customers. This order book has tied up our current production facilities and is preventing us from taking the expansion opportunities that our new patented elevating roof presents.

The objectives of the new workshop would be to:

  • Offer an individual service to customers who simply wish to just have an elevating roof added to a VW T6. To offer this service would require us to recruit further employees - by 2020 we aim to create a minimum of four new permanent jobs
  • Develop an export market by providing us with sufficient workshop space in which to assemble and pack the roof. By 2020 we are aiming at exporting over 250 roofs into Europe, this will require us to recruit further employees and create another two new permanent jobs
  • We aim to further enhance the old farm site through development of an old polytunnel into this new facility. A new build will add to the critical mass that already exists on the site and draw in other businesses thus creating more new rural employment opportunities

With all new jobs we aim to recruit from within our local community – reducing commuting and providing scarce rural manufacturing employment. Since our formation in 2006 over half of our employees have joined us without specific experience for the role, we invest in training to develop the skills of an individual. Jerba Campervans is a well known local business and through employees and local suppliers we touch many parts of the local community. With the expansion of the new workshop we aim to continue this successful formula.

How did your project achieve these aims?

The project is still in its early stages and the new workshop space will not be constructed until the autumn of 2017. The development of the roof product is now complete and has been taking place since 2013. We are already fitting the roof to our current customer’s campervans, but in order to develop further commercial opportunities for the product then we must await the completion of the new workshop.

Who's involved?

Only Jerba Campervans and our employees.

How is the project funded?

Tyne Esk LEADER has agreed a contribution of £51,000 towards the new building, the balance of the costs are being funded through company profits and working capital.

Where did you go for help and advice?

Business Gateway East Lothian, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Building a start up business from scratch in 2006 to a one which now employs 12 local people in the manufacturing sector and has an order book that is full for one year ahead. Our building expansion programme which LEADER has funded approximately half of will now allow us to develop further – growing new areas of the business and increasing local employment.

And the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge will be taking our new elevating roof product into the European market.

Any tips for those setting up a similar project?

When you’re starting and growing a business have a clear strategy – diversifying from your core focus through being distracted by other ideas can be a real hindrance in developing a robust and steady business.

What's next for your project?

The construction of the new building extension will begin in April 2017. In the early part of 2017 we will begin a marketing campaign to promote our new elevating roof product to a wider and more diverse market. In 2018 we will be looking to further develop that campaign into the European market.