Welcome to the weekly blog ramblings of our Managing Director Stephanie Bessant.
This week has so far been a busy one with interesting new projects to tender for and also the challenges that those bring.
Monday is always a meeting day, scheduling contracts, people, and money and setting objectives for the week. The workshop was busy preparing orders for collection and delivery and we had teams on site in Oxfordshire. Training on MIG Aluminium was a priority in the workshop. The MD received confirmation that she had passed the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety complimenting the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety she was awarded with last year.
Tuesday was a day for meetings, the MD attended the BMG Event ‘The Future of Berkshire Business’ at The Madejski Conference Centre on Tuesday, a really well attended event that gave opportunity to listen to Sir John Madejski speak about how he became successful and the opportunities that he sees for growth and development now. He was inspirational and everyone left the room with a buzz and enthusiasm for the day.
Other speakers were also energetic and delivering messages of a brighter future and how to ensure business growth. The MD of BMG, Amanda Gee, and her strong team delivered, as ever, a successful and positive event. We look forward to attending the next one in September. The Commercial Director, Nigel Bessant, attended a meeting in London with regard to a Tender that we are pitching for. His time was spent wisely looking at other projects that are coming up and we are positive that there appears to be more movement within the construction sector at the moment. The Production Manager spent a day on site surveying for Q Railing we are installing at the theatre at Christ College, Brecon.
Wednesday, a day full of an exciting new project involving a royal connection, watch this space for more information. The day was spent with designers and other suppliers and the evening was an enjoyable one at the Bang and Olufsen store in Windsor being involved in a presentation to professionals and notables with regard to the exciting project. Champagne, canapés and presentations! A fabulous evening and such a positive vibe for The Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society and The Windsor Chamber of Commerce. Steel archways, flowers, roses and willow – this is going to be wonderful!
One of the Senior Installation Fabricators attended a PAT Testing Competency Course in Swindon further ensuring that we as a company are compliant and importantly work to develop our team with their skill set.
The Business Support Co-ordinator passed her Managers and Professionals CSCS Test which will assist her to attain her Appointed Person qualification, this will mean that we can work with clients requiring Crane Lifts as she will be able to produce Lifting Plans with Method Statements and Risk Assessments.
Thursday and many of the site guys are at the G Casino Reading, installing a kick plate in the bar area. This has been a great project to be involved in, the MD now feels a night at the tables is on the cards.
Friday tomorrow and whilst much will be happening the week will end on a high with a team event Go-Karting at Teamworks Karting. As there is a strong competitive drive here we envisage some fast racing and vying for pole position. Will it be girls against boys, office versus fabricators or every one for themselves? No doubt I will update readers with next week.
As part of the Action Group for SME’s, a committee of the Local Enterprise Partnership, Stephanie this week was asked to prepare a report on the things that challenge her as a Managing Director. The main factors that keep the Directors of Samka Architectural Solutions awake at night are money related. Cash flow – money in and money out, being able to stand in the marketplace in an industry that has little support from the finance fraternity – Bonds that are difficult to secure, loans that are not easy to achieve, overdrafts, commercial finance, insurance – the cost of money becomes more and more expensive. Other challenges are based around employees and skills. The Thames Valley is a very technical area and it is harder and harder to attract people in to a manufacturing environment, the hours are long and the work can be pressurised. Our welders are highly skilled and often their skill is not acknowledged. There is often a lack of understanding of the work it takes to produce a bespoke piece of work from a lump of metal. Margins are tighter and clients take longer to finalise decisions and then want the product immediately.
These are challenges that we face daily and that we rise to, we strategise, we plan, we train, we improve, we discuss and we work in partnership with people to ensure satisfaction.