From the launch of their first product, the Multi-Bucket Calf Feeder on the Late Late Show in 1987 to a powerful presence in forty international markets, JFC Manufacturing Company, Tuam, Co. Galway is a leading Agri-Business.
2017 marks their 30th anniversary of their family-owned business, renowned for manufacturing innovative, high-quality plastic products since 1987.
John F Concannon, Managing Director can look back on his progressive entrepreneurial journey with pride.
“I never thought the business would have got to where it has today. JFC is a great success story.” John Concannon, Managing Director of JFC told That’s Farming.
“It’s not all about John Concannon. It’s all about selecting and putting a team together that can make exceptional things happen and build the company above and beyond what you expect. It’s a group effort.” John said.
“Everyone in this company matters.” John added.
Building a success story
Today, JFC is comprised of major divisions- Material Handling, Marine, Agriculture, Civils, piping and underground services, with over 250 employees.
John believes that the key factors that have pushed the success of his business are Innovation, Research and Development (R & D), new products and developing new markets. The company currently has a Research & Development team in place that design, develop and create new products and the company has up to 800 active products that are sold every day of the week.
While John highlights important factors that have shaped his business, he has the height of praise for his dedicated staff base and loyal clientele, which he believes are the main driving forces behind JFC.
“Customers are the backbone of JFC and we really appreciate the business that they have given us, with the opportunity to offer new products.” John explained.
Export-orientated markets are key when it comes to driving the business forward, having successfully gained ground in forty international markets throughout Europe, three locations in the U.K, Germany and a factory is also located in Poland with sales specifically targeting the Eastern Europe region.
While this enterprise has carved out a progressive path, John has taken JFC smoothly over unexpected hurdles, right from its formation.
JFC was in business when some of the biggest crises rocked the Agricultural sector and indeed the entire island, forcing the company to return to the drawing board to construct new plans.
“The big impact from an Agricultural perspective was the BSE crisis in 1998, the Foot and Mouth disease in 2000 and the 9/11 towers. Big decisions had to made.” John explained.
“We were left with sales representatives in Ireland and England and we had to change the whole programme. We had to go and source new markets, tapping into disciplines which were unexpectedly completely out of the Agri range.” John explained.
Rolling the clock forward to the present day, John is well aware of the challenges that are facing businesses.
As enterprises are forced to realise the power of Brexit uncertainty, John is keen to keep ahead of the curve with special efforts to design products that are Brexit proof, as he notes that his exports to the local U.K market will witness a decrease.
“With three locations in the U.K., it means that we have a foot on each side- the U.K. and Ireland. The currency has a big impact.” John said.
“The main things that impact business are culture, climate and the currency. They are key factors and you have to be able to deal with them.” John explained.
When asked to single out his high point, John drew attention to the days when the business was only in its infancy, having secured a Premier Award for Innovation at the RDS Spring Show that sprung an appearance on the Late Late Show in 1987.
Mr Concannon has since made several appearances on television, but his spot on RTÉ’s show Secret Millionaire in September 2011, when he donated €25,000 to Pieta House is an encounter that he regards as his highlight outside of business affairs.
John drew attention to the powerful televising of the programme that he believes “transformed” the organisation in question.
“I was overwhelmed by the impact that Pieta House had on me personally and the way that people viewed me and how it has helped thousands.” John explained.
“On a personal note, I would say that this was the most successful thing that I did from my social responsibility.” John said.
Pieta has since been established in Tuam which was John’s initial goal, followed by the establishment of branches in Dublin, Athlone and Letterkenny.
“That work is never ending and there are thousands of people that have gone to Pieta House, taken the advice and have been helped.” John added.
“People have to believe that there is help there. There is always someone and it is a matter of listening to the story and not to be afraid to open or tell your story.” John said.
With a leading entrepreneur like John at the helm of a multi-award winning operation, one can be reassured that JFC will continue to be a leader in the Agricultural field.
2018 is going to be another productive year for the company, with intentions to develop new products, explore and open new markets and the creation of products that are Brexit proof.
“We will be launching a number of new products next year that will be an eye-opener for a lot of the competition in the marketplace.” John said.
“We are going to keep doing what we are good at, designing and developing new products.” John concluded.
If you are an Agri-Biz and want to share your story, get in touch.
Photo: Facebook Page of JFC.