Electrical Contracting News (ECN) October 2016

British Made, Innovation Led uPVC Trunking Aluminium Steel Wire Cable Tray Underfloor ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE OUR STRONGEST ASSET Marco’s continued growth has been supported by a strategy of product innovation, exceptional customer service and an investment in its people. These three key factors underpin the Marco business, shaping the firm’s vision and continued development. Marco Sales Manager, Jeff Kerridge, takes us inside the Marco business, explaining why the ‘people first’ approach is the right fit: ‘People undoubtedly are at the heart of the Marco business and we are recognised nationally for our customer service and the personal relationships that we have built with all of our clients, from small independent outfits to large international contractors. We pride ourselves on our high staff retention rates and believe that this is largely due to creating the right environment to work in, whilst giving staff opportunities to develop and grow with us. ‘Progression within the business spans all areas of the operation. Members of the manufacturing team have the scope to grow from machine operative through to foreman and beyond, up to management level. The majority of our supervisors have joined the company as operatives and have risen through the ranks. By recruiting this way, new starters are able to recognise opportunities ahead whilst senior staff can empathise and support their junior colleagues. It is a pattern that has proved to be incredibly effective, cultivating a strong team ethos. Marco Dummy Cover.indd 1 ‘In the office, we have given internal sales staff the opportunity to take on external sales roles. Intensive training is important to make this switch, however. If a member of the team has demonstrated the skills and confidence internally, we believe that these skills are transferable. An existing understanding of the business and belief in the Marco way is already there – it’s simply about applying a new way of working, including face-to-face interaction, to make an external role a success.’ Since its inception, Marco has been involved with graduate recruitment programmes. Working largely with the nearby University of Bangor, graduates have joined Marco from sales, marketing and product development positions. Jeff explained, ‘Jac Parry joined the team some two years ago under a graduate recruitment programme and during this time has grown to become an incredibly important part of our small product development team.  He continues to collaborate with Bangor University through the KESS 2 programme, researching best practice as part of his MRes studies and applying some of the thinking behind new and emerging trends in innovation and applications to the Marco business.  Jac has been involved in the development of several of our quick-fit products which have ultimately changed the way contractors install in a modern site environment.’ This year, Jac and Grahame Austin (who leads the product development team) have launched three new products including the Cavity-Floor Box which has been designed as a power and data outlet for raised floor applications; the Quik-Clik, an evolution of the popular fast fix range comprising a length of tray with the new MCFJC accessory pre-attached as standard; and the G-shape wire tray, ideal for under-desk cable management and above suspended ceilings for service containments in small voids. Jeff continued, ‘Having a dedicated resource in-house has been a huge asset for Marco and enables us to be both proactive and reactive in our approach to product development. We undoubtedly stay ahead of our competitors through a commitment to innovate and ensure we understand the market-place, introducing new accessories to support existing products whilst also launching standalone products.’ Recognising what is taking place across the wider manufacturing sector is important and Marco collaborates and partners with other organistaions and businesses to share and understand best practice. One of the UK’s most celebrated businesses, Jaguar Land Rover, recently hosted a Breakthrough Masterclass, with Marco amongst the small group of UK manufacturers invited to attend. Over the course of the day, Jaguar Land Rover shared a unique insight into its approach to Lean manufacturing that has underpinned rising sales in a global marketplace, as well as offering a guided tour of one its production facilities and a chance to see the latest models in action.  Jeff continued, ‘It was great to be able to gain such a strong insight into one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world and to see how they have honed and developed their manufacturing model. Of course, ours is a much scaled-down version, however, we have been able to apply a great number the principles from Jaguar Land Rover to our own business. Aside from the operation itself, what really struck our delegation was the firm’s approach to staff, reinforcing our wider approach and ethos to our own people.’ He concluded, ‘We have cultivated a business based on shifting market conditions, with a team that is primed and ready to react and ensure that the customer continues to have the best experience in terms of products, customer service and building essential personal relationships. ‘Change is inevitable and we must be flexible to ensure we can cater for the changing shape of the businesses we work with. We are seeing wholesaler businesses merge and evolve and we must adapt our approach in line with their changing shape and requirements.’ Plans are now in place to relocate the Marco business within North Wales, consolidating the two commercial premises and building a larger purpose-built site to house the entire manufacturing operation. 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