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Food lubrication Q&A - Jim Harvey, Business Development Director

February 24, 2021

Even if you haven’t met Jim in person yet, there’s a good chance you would recognise him from talking on the phone (or, more recently, meeting virtually on Zoom!). As Activate Lubricants’ Business Development Director, Jim ensures that the entire company culture is focused on creating the best products and an unrivalled service for customers in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and animal feed industries.


Describe your role at Activate

My role (and my passion) is looking after customers, long-standing and potential, and ensuring that they are fully supported every step of the way. Our day-to-day customer service operation is a big part of this, and I hold regular workshops with all customer-facing staff to keep them up to date with best practice for guaranteed audit compliance. We often get customers call us while an auditor is actually on site, so we need to be able to provide real-time, expert advice!

The other big part is the development of our systems and products themselves. We are constantly pursuing innovative lubrication solutions to provide a ‘loop closure’ service where potential issues are designed out from the off.

I like the fact that we never sit still – we grow with our customers, who are constantly expanding and evolving, or having to cope with new legislation of unforeseen challenges such as Covid.


Tell us more about Activate

Activate is the trusted lubrication solutions partner to seven out of the top ten food groups in the UK, and the only lubricant specialist that is 100% focused on the food industry. Our dedication and experience, coupled with our ongoing commitment to exceed industry standards, has enabled us to become market leaders in food grade lubrication.

We are usually able to significantly reduce lubricant inventory while at the same time making the process of lubrication so much simpler, for example through the use of colour-coding. It’s a win-win for both the engineering team and the person who pays the bill!

The key point is that ‘loop closure’ service – the combination of innovative systems, high quality synthetic products and our combined, 60-plus years’ application experience ensure that customers are able to reduce downtime, guarantee audit compliance and 100% protect their brand integrity.

Feedback from customers often includes phrases such as ‘Activate are so easy to deal with’ or ‘once Activate is mentioned, invariably the auditor moves on.’ That puts a smile on our faces because it’s proof that we’ve done the job right!

How has Covid-19 affected Activate’s customers?

To be honest, we’ve mainly seen customers doing really well despite the challenges of social distancing, high demand resulting in increased machinery workload and the impact of diversifying into new client sectors. 

I think the wider implication of the pandemic has brought home the importance of being beyond reproach with regard to production processes and providing the enhanced traceability the consumer now desires.

We’ve had more enquiries during this past year than ever before – all from sites looking for a comprehensive lubrication partner who can watch their back and keep them on track. Give them peace of mind basically!


What can customers expect from Activate?

Our reputation has been built on honesty, integrity and trust and we have developed a brand that has become synonymous with compliance. We have Quality Management Systems that are BS: ISO9001 and BS OHSAS: 18001 accredited through Lloyds UKAS accreditation. We have also recently achieved a successful migration from BS OHSAS: 18001 to BS OHSAS: 45001 for our Health and Safety Management Systems. So, again, standards of operation and service are built into the very foundation of our business.

We also have unrivalled understanding of the requirements of audit bodies, including BRC, Global Standards for Food Safety, AIB, McDonalds SQMS and individual retailer and food manufacturing standards. Industrial oils used inadvertently within a food processing area will cause non-conformance issues for most of these standards.

Non-conformances, EPWs or Full Product Recalls have been known to destroy customer confidence and brand value overnight. Our systemised visual management approach, pre-audit inspections and free collection service of any non-conformance products ensure guaranteed NSF food safety and audit compliance.

We believe in developing strong, long-lasting relationships with our customers and our service comes with a Directors’ guarantee. Activate is often described as being ‘ahead of the game’. That’s because it is our chosen game - we will always provide the best food grade lubrication solution for your specific needs alongside quality, honest, on-time service!

Changing the game
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“Thank you so much for your help we cruised through the audit nicely thanks to your swift response! I don’t think there is anything we need at the minute but thank you again for the support - times like that show which suppliers truly deliver support and you do!”

Engineer - Leading UK Meat Producer

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“Thanks to you and the whole Activate team for your assistance this year, it has been great working with you.”

Chief Engineer - Global Snacks Producer

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