With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, I have seen ‘Be the Best’ slogans around the city during the successful event. It made me think: What does the best look like in our industry? And how do we measure that?
They say that turnover is vanity while net margin is sanity. But is that any more important than customer service and customer satisfaction? Is it all about reviews, or accreditations for meeting standards? What about fully automated factories?
If we’re serious about improving as an industry how do we do that, and measure that success? We still suffer as an industry in terms of credibility, and it still has a certain White Gold perception in the general public’s eyes. The Grenfell tragedy also, quite rightly, shone a negative spotlight on fire doors. We must challenge these things and shine a positive light on the industry.
The Grenfell tragedy has taught the industry the importance of certification and the all-round safety of the products we make. These products save people’s lives as well as keeping them secure and warm.
If we want our industry to be the best, we must set the benchmark. That can’t be turnover; it must be built on certification and standards. Hitting those standards is how we measure quality, and what should set you aside from others.
Most decent, reputable companies have got International Standards ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for our responsibility to the environment; it’s how we measure quality. The problem with our industry is that installation companies or even fabricators can spring up overnight without any business credentials whatsoever and not put any time into all the certification that reputable companies do.
If we know what we need to do to be the best, and where we sit in that, then we can improve. I do think we can learn a lot from other companies in the industry, be it competitors or suppliers.
At Shelforce, I always invite businesses in our industry to our factory to look at how we do things because I want them to adopt the same employment model as us. I know, however, that our business performance is what will convince others to adopt it.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Our industry should be about improvement and how we can challenge ourselves to make us better.
Business manager, Shelforce