Day in the Life of … Managing Director, Adrian Witty
Yorkshire born and bred, Adrian Witty joined Portable Offices as Managing Director, 15 years ago. Since then he has seen the company go from strength- to-strength and believes his passion for the industry and the products has been the single most important ingredient to his success in navigating the company through the stormy waters of the economic recession and upwards into the significant player in the portable buildings sector that it has become.
Adrian’s day starts early and he is usually on the road by 6 to 6.30am, battling with the traffic to get to one of the company’s five locations around the UK.
He spends around two days a week at Portable Offices’ head office in Sandycroft, Chester where he will for example, assess each depot’s performance, catch-up with customer reviews, examine client procurement protocols, assess the vehicle fleet composition and at this time of year, draw-up budgets, in conjunction with the finance director, for the next financial year.
Adrian said: “Over recent years, we have introduced a more formal management structure with depot managers, sales managers, project managers and project supervisors. This has all helped to enable me to become a little less hands-on and take a leading role in overseeing and directing the business. I can then become selectively more involved as the need arises.
“The business has always enjoyed a strong platform of technology which meant that right from day one, it was already one step ahead in the web-based sales arena which has become an integral part of marketing within the industry. However, it needed to introduce more structure and allow its structure to catch-up with sales success.
“One of my biggest challenges is to manage staff and client expectations; to make sure that everyone is moving in the same direction and at the same pace. Nowadays, people expect products to appear immediately or by next day delivery on an ‘Amazon type’ basis. I have to make sure our teams understand the importance of getting it right, first time,” Adrian explained.
The company is currently involved in a depot-wide ‘learning initiative’ which has involved an outside trainer, Mark Francis, coming on board to help improve the quality of service provided by individuals and to help with succession planning and upskilling the management team so that depot managers become more holistic.
Adrian continued: “We have enjoyed a considerable growth pattern over recent years and we have continued to surprise and surpass ourselves with the kind of contracts we win and bring to fruition. The correct training of our team will future-proof our continuing growth strategy and allow us to upskill staff and keep good people by providing them with the right career trajectory.”
Good business ethics are important to Portable Offices and are an integral part of the company ethos. These, together with the right quality standards to keep the workforce safe are at the cornerstone of the operation. He said:
“Having a positive impact on communities near and far is at the heart of our values. We’re friendly to our customers and we treat our staff well. Customers care about where they spend their money. They expect businesses to be responsible and ethical, but we don’t just do it for those reasons, we genuinely believe it’s important to give something back when you can.”
This past six years has seen a time of unprecedented strategic growth for Portable Offices, in the light of this we asked Adrian:
What’s the best work-related thing you did recently?
He answered: “Expanding both the internal and external sales force against the industry trend during the recession.”
Adrian’s top tips for business success:
• “Have a clear idea of what makes your business unique ― what is your USP?”
• “Be prepared to react to customer feedback ― don’t be stubborn.”
• “Have a vision of where you want to take the business.”
And what about Brexit?
Adrian says: “It is not going to help to speculate, but what I can say is that we have a good business spread and we are robust enough to continue our business success in any eventuality.”