ScaffMag interview with Danny Wood, Sales Director.
Change comes with time, as the old adage goes, and this has never been truer than in the age of coronavirus. The world as we knew it altered beyond recognition in the blink of an eye and only businesses that moved fast to adapt to the ‘new normal’ were rewarded with anything like a stable ride.
Businesses such as George Roberts Ltd.
“We adapted quickly to the changing environment, which we were better placed to do than some of our larger group structured competitors,” replies Dan Wood, sales director at scaffolding supplier George Roberts Ltd, when we ask about the immediate effects of the pandemic.
Staff and client safety was of paramount importance, with swift decision making and the introduction of new on-site policies meaning the firm could continue trading during lockdown.
“We seem to be coming out the other side now and we have been seeing, in the past couple of months, a sharp rise in business activities, so we feel a great degree of confidence in the recovery of the construction sector,” Dan adds. Clearly there remain some challenging periods ahead of us and we feel confident that the Operational changes we have made internally will serve us well, to ensure we sustain and continue to support our customers.”
We ask for figures, and he’s quick to pull some impressive numbers out.
“Critically we have seen a 70% uplift in tendering for new business in the past few weeks since coming out of lockdown, which shows some very promising signs for the future of the company,” he says.
An increase in business activity is a welcomed relief for everyone involved in the scaffolding and construction sector, and for George Roberts Ltd the bold decision to focus major investment towards our marketing & branding in recent and subsequent months during a period of adversity appears to have been a worthwhile strategy.
“We wanted to showcase a totally new look that was more aligned to the changing world and the global business that we have become, whilst at the same time retaining our traditional core values, which remain integral to the DNA of this company,” Dan tells us.
“It’s more of a refinement of our core message rather than a change in direction as we wanted to use the new platform to solidify our positioning and demonstrate where we stand in the marketplace,” he continues, explaining that in addition to this clearer positioning, skill sets will be improved or added to the current offering.
These include product branding and security stamping services, with the overall goal being to improve value at the customer end — increasing satisfaction levels that are already high among the client base following 25 years of trading.
“Our vision for the next 25 years, in the words of George Roberts himself, is to maintain our strong customer relationships whilst driving improvements throughout the business, in both health and safety, as well as consistently delivering on the quality of products which benefits our customers every time,” he adds, citing goals like adding more blue-chip companies to the existing client list while maintaining the strong local ties the firm was founded on.
The preceding quarter-century also saw some seismic shifts and major developments. George Roberts Ltd has gradually built its international activities, for example, with the firm now capable of supplying products across the globe, from the Far East and Australia to North Africa and North America. Investment in infrastructure, not least to allow on-site container loading, along with the geographical location close to Liverpool’s docks, helping this no end.
“Product evolution, with more systemised scaffolding solutions, has also proved to be a fruitful and natural progression for the company with the inclusion of the K-lok system followed by the Uniscaff stair tower system around 15 years ago, and subsequently the latest generation of system scaffolding with the market-leading Layher Allround in 2010,” he says, before continuing to explain the elements that have played an integral role in the company’s growth to date, revealing that corporate attitude has also been important.
“We have a reputation for collaborating with our customers and developing solutions to solve their problems.”
This collaborative approach works in two ways. Not only does it expand on the talent and knowledge available for a specific project by including the client’s expertise, but it also affords the opportunity for a contractor to learn from the client, not just the other way around.
Within the context of 2020, a year when we’re told to pull together and use all available resources, this practice almost seems revolutionary. For George Roberts Ltd, though, it’s just business as usual, suggesting the firm is set to enjoy a brighter future at a time when adaptability is everything.
Article featured in ScaffMag, page 40-41, August 2020