Sometimes it’s nice to meet the people behind the big companies. People often think that the big wigs are inaccessible. But this is not true! I’m doing a series of posts which aim to tell us a little bit about the top people who’s companies sponsor this site. First up is David Jennings, MD of UAP. Top supplier of locksmith equipment and hardware. Here’s what he had to say:

  1. Why did you get into this sector?

I got into the uPVC industry about 16 years ago when I was owed some money by a neighbour who I then found out was having some financial difficulty. I then went round to see him and asked him what he did for a living. He told me he bought, coated and delivered door knockers across the country. At the time I was looking to invest money into a new business venture and I could see the way he was doing it wasn’t working. So I ended up taking over what my neighbour was doing and he became my first employee. We came across the Locksmith industry about 4 years ago when a company approached us and asked us to develop a range of products for them and we did. However, for some reason the company we’d produced the products for were unable to sell them, so we launched TradeLocks and sold them ourselves. So from what all started with a door knocker, we’ve managed to expand our range of door hardware and Locksmith supplies to over 1,500 different products which we’ve built on the back of high quality, good service and affordable prices.

  1. What did you do before setting up UAP Limited?

Before setting up UAP Limited, my background was mainly Marketing. In the past I worked for companies such as Crowne Paints, Car Plan, Robinson Jam and acted as a consultant for Bernard Matthews.

  1. What do you like most about your job?What I enjoy most about my job is New Product Development. I love taking on a concept and seeing it brought to life. That’s why we started the ‘Dragons’ Den’ themed campaign through TradeLocks ( We wanted to encourage innovators to come forward with new ideas and we’d use our contacts and resources to help them see their initial idea as a final product being sold in the market.
  2. What do you like least about your job?

Company politics.

  1. Do you feel that the Locksmith industry has a positive future over the next 5 – 10 years?There will always be a demand for Locksmiths, but the way Locksmiths look at the market has to change. It’s inevitable that companies such as the AA or RAC will start to offer typical Locksmith services as part of their range of extra services to their customers. So Locksmiths will need to start looking outside of standard domestic work and offer more, such as Auto or Commercial work. Perhaps even add to their current skillset and offer maintenance work along with Locksmithing.
  2. How do you think the industry has adapted to the online world?

The uPVC industry has adapted to online marketing and product sourcing, but not so much product ordering and becoming e-commerce. In terms of social media, the uPVC industry seems to be quite behind compared to other industries, but there has been a move towards online advertising – such as e-zines and blogs. In the Locksmith industry, there is a much bigger online presence, with a big demand for us to be e-commerce. There also seems to be a larger network on social media sites such as forums, Facebook and Twitter, which makes instant messaging and real time updates a lot easier. The online world is having a huge effect on advertising for Locksmiths. For example, to get some work a Locksmith may have to advertise through online directories such as Yell or Thompson which can be very costly.

  1. What is a typical working day like for you?

06:00am – I wake up and check my messages and liaise with our exports office which is based in China before taking my dog for a walk which helps me clear my head and think about what I have to do for the day before having breakfast and setting off to the office.
08:00am – I arrive at the office and start planning my day before everybody else arrives.
08:30am – I meet with the Marketing Department to review the marketing plan and any marketing activities that we need to go through. I then meet with our Sales Director, Chris and our Financial Director, Wendy to review the financial aspects of the business and discuss product sales.
10:00am – I spend the next few hours looking at the business and identifying any areas we need to focus on.

12:50pm – I take a short break to check up on the building work we’re having done on the premises before visiting the different departments to talk to everyone.

1.15pm – I get some lunch from our onsite café ‘3 Town Catering’, then I get back to work and spend the rest of the day working on new product development as well as marketing and sales plans.

5:30pm – I leave the office to go home and do some more work for an hour or so before having dinner and settling down for the night.

  1. What are your hobbies or interests outside of work, assuming you get time to do anything else!Leeds United, Leeds United and Leeds United. In fact, we’ve just got a box booked over at Elland Road for the company’s use which I’m really looking forward to using. I also enjoy cooking and doing DIY around the house.
  1. What is your main ambition for UAP?Over the next 5 years, I see UAP becoming more consumer facing and recognised by the consumer as much as we are in the trade. I plan to do this by using above the board advertising to raise awareness of our security products and range of Zero Lift cylinders and mortice locks.

For information of the wide range of high quality locks, locksmith equipments and pretty much every hardware solution available from UAP, contact @UAP_TRADELOCKS on Twitter or phone: 0161 796 7268