Pulsar aiming to make a noise in new markets

Sarah Brack
Sarah Brack
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PULSAR Instruments, which helps companies protect their workforce from noise-induced hearing loss, is expanding into new markets thanks to a series of product launches.

Hailing from Filey in North Yorkshire, the business specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of noise measurement equipment, mainly to the health and safety industry.

Its recently launched PulsarSafeEar – a wall-mounted device that illuminates when noise levels are exceeded – opens up new markets for the firm. “That opens up new areas for us because it can also be used in environments where quiet is essential such as hospitals and libraries and courts of law,” said chief executive Sarah Brack. “Up until very, very recently we focused on noisy areas.”

And the business is looking forward to the launch of a new range of sound meters in the new year.

Ms Brack said: “These products have been around for a long time. The new range will have a new colour LCD display, it will have a lot more features than the existing range, and it will fit both the European legislation and also the American legislation as well, because the two standards are very different.

“So again it will give us the opportunity to enter markets we haven’t been able to enter in the past, mainly the American market, but also Canada, Australia and South America.”

American parent company Scientific Measurement Instruments brought Pulsar Instruments over to the UK in the early 80s. SMI is still the holding company of the group, but Pulsar Instruments now operates independently. Ms Brack joined Pulsar Instruments eight years ago, becoming chief executive two years ago.

“By probably about four or five years ago, the company had grown to such extent that we could be cut loose from the sister company’s apron strings and become more independent,” said Ms Brack.

“The focus over the past three years has been growing the brand awareness and then investment has been given by the board this year for a new product range.”

Thanks to the recent investment, the company has grown from two people to nine in the last six months. “We are reaping the rewards of it already,” said Ms Brack. Pulsar Instruments is expecting to turn over around £450,000 in its 2012 financial year, up from £340,000 in 2011, and £415,000 the previous year. It is also set to make a profit this year for the first time in its near 45-year history. Ms Brack is hoping to hit the £1m turnover mark by 2015.

Exports account for 75 per cent of sales at Pulsar Instruments. “We have just over 30 distributors worldwide now. We’ve recently recruited the export sales manager who’s going to be involved very, very heavily in looking after our existing distributors, finding new ones for us and dealing with the direct export sales.”

Ms Brack added: “At the moment our top distributors are in Hong Kong, Italy and South Africa. We’ve recently recruited new distributors in Vietnam, New Zealand and Egypt. And France has grown quickly for us this year as well.”

Thanks to the recruitment of the export sales manager, Ms Brack has been able to spend more time on generating sales in the UK.

“Although it’s only a small part of our turnover we have seen massive growth over the last six months in the UK. I think it’s because quite simply there’s been a lot more effort put into it. We’ve had some huge orders from Hitachi and DHL over the past year,” she said.

“Our target audience is the very busy health and safety manager. Noise measurement is just one of many, many things they have to do in a day. And they don’t want to have to spend two days reading the user manual for the product before they can switch it on.

“Our products are very, very easy to use and practical, yet compliant with the current legislation.”

Employing the cream of crop

THERE is a huge skillset in the North of England, said chief executive Sarah Brack.

“We’ve been really lucky to go out there, know exactly what we need and recruit the right people. There are some absolutely fantastic skillsets out there to be had,” she said.

“For every role we advertised for over the last six months we’ve been bombarded with applicants and we’ve been able to choose the cream of the crop.”

There are also plans for further recruitment. “We will probably take on at least another two people over the next two months in sales and marketing. Beyond that, as the company grows, or as the turnover grows, we’ll focus on probably another export sales manager.”