Interview with Tim Swift, Managing Director of API

In this article, Tim Swift, Managing Director of API Pneumatic UK explains how API started, what his main values are as a pneumatic manufacturer and what he strives to achieve with API UK.

Why did you choose API as a supplier?

I was looking to find a reliable supplier of pneumatics that wasn’t yet represented in the UK but was readily available to be. Finding a pneumatic manufacturer as a partner that could add a new dimension of product to the UK, but at the highest standard and the fairest prices, was extremely important to me. We have always received incredible support from the Italian partners API and we have a mutual trust between us.

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What are the main values that you’ve instilled with API UK?

Customer service is the top priority when it comes to API’s values. We want the customer to feel we have provided the most appropriate solution for them and their application. Client satisfaction is paramount.

We value our ability to turn around technical problems using our in-depth experience and knowledge base. Finding a solution to your technical problem is vital to us, but completing the solution in the quickest time is highly important. We know that our competitors can only complete, for example, a bespoke control panel in 6-8 weeks. We will work to provide a quick turnaround for all products, from custom pneumatic cylinders on a same day basis to intricate control panels within a week.

Our next value, that works in line with our quality customer service and technical experience are our competitive prices. With a quick turnaround, premium prices are expected. But we don’t feel that you should pay premium prices for our services. We won’t take advantage of the necessity of a quick turnaround, we just do what we say and get the job done.

What do you hope to achieve from these values?

Loyalty is important to us and through sticking by our values, we hope to build our returning client base. Through good service and in-depth knowledge, we hope to never leave a bad taste in the mouth and provide the most seamless experience. There is more of a personal relationship between our clients and the team at API, which helps us to provide the most suitable solution in the quickest time and gain the trust of the client.

The relationship between a client and the team at API means that we don’t turn away from a challenge, such as an obscure kit build. It is very common within the industry that if you can’t provide a part number, you can’t be helped. At API, our solutions aren’t just based on a part number, we will bring in all necessary requirements and use all of our knowledge to deal with a special request and solve your problem. If you need custom pneumatic cylinders, we will find a way to provide them for you.

How did you build the right team?

Our team has been built on people within the industry that I have known over the years. They’ve come on board, bringing all of their years of experience. However, we also take on apprentices and train in-house. That way, the younger generation is trained using API products, so their knowledge is very specific. We utilise both young people and established experts to build the team.

What is the general process of getting in touch with API?

New clients come to us generally not knowing what they want specifically. From the first phone call, we tend to arrange a site visit to help us fully understand the requirements of the client and what they want to achieve. To ensure that we provide the most comprehensive build possible, we find out what their end goal is and the process of events that lead up to that goal.

From this point, our team take the responsibility of the job and the hassle away from the client. Trust our capabilities and let us find the solution to your problem.

What is the achievement you are most proud of with API?

That’s a really difficult question. Overall, I think our biggest achievement is that API started off as just an idea, and year on year it has grown into a well-established company with a great team. We have gained a wide range of returning clients and overcome many technical challenges presented to us by clients. We have worked on providing solutions all over the UK for applications of every type, from oil rigs to milking parlours.

How did you begin this career path as a pneumatic manufacturer?

I started off as an apprentice to learn how to become an engineer. From there I decided I wanted a career where your own results determined your success, which is why I moved on to pneumatic sales. I wanted direct rewards based upon my own hard work and achievements, and I loved the challenge of winning a client over. I have seen every side of the pneumatic industry, from the manufacturing side to client facing sales.

At API, we pride ourselves on finding a solution, always being truthful and trustworthy, taking responsibility for our work and we most definitely don’t run away from a problem. The experience a client has with API is so important to all of our team. Simply, we always do what we say and we do it well.

Speak to the technical team at API about your requirements and organise a site visit today. Call us on 01782 206 995, fill in a contact form or email us at [email protected].