As 2020 marks Chemical Systems Control’s 40th year in business, Building Ireland caught up with the company directors, Noel Smyth and Declan Smith, to learn more about what is a thriving business.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve reached 40 years already” Noel reflected. “We began in a small building in Blessington Street, Dublin. At the time, Chemical Systems Control was set-up with the vision of providing laboratories and medical facilities with quality safety and extraction systems. However, our customers were limited to “standard” features and sizes on the products we supplied. As time passed and experience grew, we realised we could do it better.”
Noel made the bold decision to restructure the company’s products and services, a decision which would see Chemical System Control capture market share. With new premises in Ashbourne, the company formed an R&D team to create and manufacture bespoke products that would not only compete with the global brands but would outperform them. This led to the ChemFlow, the worlds first BS7258 certified fume cupboard. Fast forward to 2020 and CSC (as it’s now known) has clearly stayed the course on innovation and quality.
Their core product, the ChemFlow Fume Cupboard, is made from a corrosive resistant PVC which promotes durability and longevity. CSC cupboards have an incredible lifespan which outlasts anything on the market and they are rated with the latest BS EN 14175 certification.
Co-Director Declan Smith, who has been with the company for 24 years, explains CSC evolution.
“Since joining the company in 1996, I’ve seen a lot of changes in CSC and the sectors we service. Over the years, it became clear that processes were changing, clients needed more flexibility and scope from their fume cupboards and labs. We decided to focus our priority on meeting the clients individual requirements and not expect their processes to fit a standard product. We’ve benefited from this ethos through repeat business and recommendations.”
“Our team reassesses our product range regularly and we find ourselves constantly expanding our portfolio. These days we consider ourselves turnkey lab specialist. We manufacture fume cupboards, lab furniture, extraction systems, plastic fabrication and acid storage. We have partnered with other leading manufacturers to supply LEV Arms, chemical storage, lab equipment, seating and more. We also provide an excellent aftersales service on all our products.”
“As for the company itself, we have undertaken some internal projects to keep us on our toes. Our latest self-improvements include a Mentoring Programme, LEAN PLUS, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 which we achieved in March of this year. All this could not be done without the dedication and hard work of our team. We currently have 23 members of staff and employee turnover is very low. Our production manager, Ian Dowd is with us 25 years, head of engineering, Ciaran Byrne 14 years and our dynamic accounts duo, Mary Bonner and Marjorie Hession both 22 years.”
“The majority of our production crew have been with the company 10 or more years. They’re dedicated, hardworking and highly skilled. Their attention to detail is a massive selling point for me. We have several clients who allow us to bring potential customers on site to view our work. Between the quality of our work and our client reviews, our sales conversion rate is excellent.”
So, what has been the secret of their success over these past 40 years?
“Hard work and persistence. CSC have built very strong relationships with Universities, Colleges, Pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies throughout Ireland. We have developed an excellent product and a niche approach to manufacturing. Our R&D team are constantly developing and fine-tuning processes and products to keep us ahead of the competition. And our strength lies in quality products, quality services and great people. It would be impossible to be successful without all three.
What does the next 40 years hold?
“Well, we’re launching our new energy efficient 2020 Vision Fume Cupboard to coincide with our 40th Anniversary in August. The new product will feature improved VAV energy save, energy save LED lighting and sockets. It will also include our new state of the art, touch screen airflow controller and monitor with unique features exclusive to CSC.
“We are also confident that our new LEAN processes and ISO certifications will open new opportunities here in Ireland and globally.
We’ve been working on export for the last 5 years and we plan to increase our presence throughout Europe and the Middle East. We have several distribution partners in the G.C.C. and will be expanding our partnership in Europe.”
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the supply chain worldwide. CSC has been able to keep manufacturing and installations on time and on budget, while adhering to government guidelines, thanks to our extensive planning and LEAN implementation. Of all the reasons and benefits of dealing with CSC, our local presence is perhaps our greatest in this climate.”
“Our commitment to our clients in Ireland will remain steadfast as we rebuild our economy. New infrastructure will be required including laboratories for testing, research and development. It is important now more than ever to use and support Irish manufacturers, suppliers and services.
“We have ambitious growth plans for the next 10 years and we’re investing in our company to make sure we hit our targets. We’re looking forward to a busy future and the next big anniversary.”
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, July/August 2020, Vol 6 No 4