Evolution of Kee Systems
‘I’ve done all sorts of things around the business. Jack of all trades, master of none, that’s me!’
Bob said he’s seen Systems change quite a lot over the years, not least in the area of health and safety: ‘We always used goggles and masks for the works, but we didn’t have the marked out walkways, and we didn’t have to wear steel toe cap boots. It was a lot less safe. Nowadays, since we were acquired by Kee Safety, you feel a lot safer, and they made a lot of changes for the better.’
When asked why Kee Systems and Kee Klamp in particular were so enduring eighty years on, he said it was down to the product’s reputation for versatility. He said: ‘We’ve been around for so long with the same product that people know its worth, and what we can do. We’ve worked with people all over because people know how strong and adaptable Kee Klamp is.
‘I remember one project for the MOD where they needed racking for replacement panels for the nuclear subs. These were great big heavy things so the racking had to be solid, and Kee Klamp was perfect for it. It’s easy to fit and if it gets damaged it doesn’t take any time at all to swap the damaged sections out. You don’t need to take the whole thing down as you would with welded systems.’
Bob also said that part of the company’s success was down to the vast possibilities and uses for Kee Klamp.
‘It’s not just industrial projects,’ he said. ‘You get lots of domestic customers wanting it for beds and shelves and climbing frames. We’ve even had a few celebrities in my time. I remember once a chap came in on behalf of Keith Richards. He was having a new kitchen built for his wife who wanted the whole thing done in Kee Klamp. I didn’t get to visit, unfortunately!’
Bob said although he couldn’t pick just one favourite moment from his time at Systems, it was the camaraderie with colleagues which had kept him there.
‘I could’ve retired three years ago but I’d just miss the camaraderie and the banter. It’s so nice to work in a place where everyone wants to help each other and everybody gets on,’ Bob said. ‘You know you aren’t going to struggle because you can always ask for help and people are comfortable asking you for help too. It’s the comradeship for me.’
‘The support you get here is fantastic. I was ill a while back and the company said ‘no, you’ve got to go home and look after yourself.’ I had regular calls from my then-manager Christian King asking how I was, keeping in touch. When (current manager) Jason Godfrey took over he was the same. It’s nice to know the company is on your side.’