Think “family firm” and, all too often, you think “family feuds” – but, not at Jenx, even though the Jenkinson family lives and breathes the business.
“We all get on really well. Friends are always surprised at how well I get on with my siblings,” says Holly, who trained and worked as a midwife and now runs Jenx’s distribution business, Jiraffe.
“This isn’t just a job for me; this is my entire life. It has always been my entire life.
“If we go out for dinner or a drink, we always talk about work. It has been a constant feature of our lives, every car journey, every meal time. But that’s not bad, because when I came back three years ago, I knew everything inside out – even things that happened 20 years ago, when I was at school. It’s more than just a job or a business. I feel a great deal of responsibility for my direct family, the families that work for us and the families of the children that use our equipment. I always say to people, if you look at something you are sending out and don’t think it would be good enough for your children, your brother or your sister, then it is not good enough for the child who is going to use it.
“It is firmly ingrained that what we are doing is for the children.”
Jiraffe is firmly part of that philosophy and driven by a desire to get therapeutic equipment into the hands it is destined for at the earliest opportunity.
Much of Jenx’s equipment will be prescribed by an occupational therapist following an assessment and requires funding approval, which can take anything from a few days to six months.
Only then will an order be placed with Jenx and, before Jiraffe came along, it could take four to six weeks to be manufactured and dispatched.
Now, Jenx’s products have been redesigned to make them more modular and the company has been building up stocks, which will enable it to guarantee dispatch of a fully assembled product in five days.
Jiraffe can also supply equipment that Jenx doesn’t make, like walking aids, gait trainers and hygiene products and has launched a service operation that will refurbish old equipment and maintain equipment at special schools and learning development centres.
The increased flexibility Jiraffe offers also improves Jenx’s ability to respond to a rise in outsourcing of the administration of services for children with disabilities and the new Children and Families Bill before Parliament which could result in such children getting their own personal health budgets.