Getting to know our industry’s insiders, we speak to Nigel Milbank, Managing Director of Milenco.
Tell us about your current role – what do you do?
I’m the MD. Most of my role involves business development – moving the company forward in a strategic way. We’ve got a really good team and everybody looks after their core area – we like to see every area grow a little bit each year.
How did you get into the industry?
My background is in automotive manufacturing. In the early 1990s, there was a lot of car theft, so I and some former colleagues decided to develop an easy-to-use wheel clamp. That was the start of Milenco; we began production in Milton Keynes.
Tell us about the Company now.
We’re now number one in the world for towing mirrors and probably world leader in mechanical security for recreational vehicles, as well as the world’s biggest producer of wheel clamps.
We sell more globally than in the UK. At our headquarters in Milton Keynes, we have a sales office and a warehouse and we still manufacture wheel clamps there.
We work just like a car plant, so everything is assembled at Milton Keynes, where we have around 23 people, and we also have a production facility in Taiwan, where there are 72 people.
What’s special about your brand – what’s its USP?
Our philosophy has always been to make a quality product. We’re not the cheapest but we always offer the best value. Our products are very well engineered and innovation is at our core.
What news from your company this year – any new products in the pipeline?
The big new product is the Aero Platinum mirror. We’re excited about that. And we’ve developed two new hitchlocks for the Hobby caravan.
We also have the new BC lock, which is a Sold Secure Gold-approved lock for the brake and clutch on your motorhome. It currently fits the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay post-2007, although we are planning to make other models available in due course.
What has been the effect of the pandemic?
Obviously it’s been a disaster for humanity, and it has affected production worldwide. Following last year’s lockdown, we had to work our socks off to keep up with demand for products – we’ve done a pretty good job and expect demand to be strong this year.
What memories do you have of camping trips?
I didn’t go motorcaravanning until 2001. In fact, in the very first edition of Practical Motorhome, you featured my Knaus 708K, which was the only right-hand-drive model ever made. The K was for Kinder (children). It was a motorhome specifically designed for a young family, which I had at the time, and it had bunk beds in the back.
One of my big passions is motorcycle racing and I’d go to the Isle of Man TT races in it and to races in Ireland. The kids had great fun – they loved the years we spent camping in it.
What’s the best trip you’ve been on?
One trip I try to do every year is to the North West 200, the largest motoring event in the UK. This takes place in Portrush, Northern Ireland, near the beautiful Giant’s Causeway.
You’ve got a couple of motorhomes on order – tell us about them!
The new one on order is a Hymer 620 ML, but that won’t be ready until next year, so to tide me over, I’ve just bought a Roller Team Zefiro 690.
Where would you like to go next?
I’m meant to be in Australia on business now, so it would be nice to go touring in the Outback.
What advice do you have for people looking to take up motorcaravanning?
Before you buy, figure out what you want from your motorhome. Are you going to be mainly inside or outside? That has a huge bearing on the layout. Some people buy the biggest vehicle they can get for the money and then find it doesn’t suit their needs, because they want to drive into town, or need something more manoeuvrable.
What’s on your driving playlist?
Queen, Pet Shop Boys, David Bowie.
Favourite meal or recipe while out on tour?
When I used to go away with the children, I was very keen on one-pot cooking, and one of our favourite meals was a packet of Vesta beef risotto. We all loved it! It’s such an easy one-pot dish.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people!
I’m a qualified scuba diver – I have dived all over the world, in places like the Florida Keys, the Red Sea and off the cost of Scotland.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.