People, relationships and loyalty are the lifeblood of any good business, particularly one working below the hook, says Sarah Spivey, managing director at Modulift.
I read a lot about robots and technology taking over the world and who am I to say one day they won't? What I can say with some degree of certainty is it's good old fashioned, hard working people that are still calling the shots at Modulift and in the industries we work with. Further, those individuals and their business acumen, loyalty and moral fibre are now more important than ever, as proven again this month (March).
I'll give two examples. The first came out of attending an enlightening event hosted by Modulift distributor Gaylin, in Dubai; and the second emerged during recent annual appraisals that took place at headquarters. Both instances only reinforced what I already knew but served as timely reminders that people still make the world go round. And that's the way it should be.
Gaylin groups together
I was honoured to be among a handpicked number of equipment manufacturers—Straightpoint, William Hackett and Samson Rope were also there—chosen by Gaylin to network and give a presentation at a gathering of representatives from 10 locations around the world, including Rigmarine (part of the Gaylin Group) facilities.
It might be easy to see why Gaylin / Rigmarine and Modulift get along famously. They are specialist suppliers of lifting equipment to the offshore oil and gas, renewables, construction, break bulk, shipping and marine industries; and operate out of hotbeds such as Aberdeen, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, UAE, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Indonesia. These are major consumers of our below-the-hook equipment and we are proud to associate ourselves with a world-class supply chain that gets stronger with every lift.
However, without forging personal relationships over many years, no amount of common ground alone would have led to such a fruitful and trusting partnership. And that's really what this event was all about. As Mike Duncan, managing director of the Gaylin Group of companies, said: "We choose suppliers carefully and build long-term relationships with them to ensure our customers are getting the best possible technologies and solutions."
I had to think carefully about this ethos when planning my presentation and networking strategy. The concept was different to visiting a distributor outlet in, say, Indonesia and training them on the practical application of our equipment. This event wasn't the time to explain why our spreader beams consist of a pair of end units and a pair of drop links with interchangeable struts. It was more appropriate to personify the application of our equipment to add value to the respective business units involved and create mutual opportunities through relationships and understanding of each other's worlds.
It was also an exercise in tailoring content for the audience of the day, which is something our marketing team reminds itself to do every morning. There in Dubai, a room of, say, 25 representatives of Gaylin and / or Rigmarine comprised senior management and key sales people. The subject of this blog isn't audience engagement per se, but I spent some time considering what content would be of value and interest to this delegation and how I could promote dialogue and energy that would meet Mr. Duncan's objectives for the event.
If you're reading, thank you again for the invitation and I look forward to extending our partnership for many more years to come.
The environment was starkly different when we conducted annual appraisals here in Poole, Dorset, UK—and not just because rain was lashing against the window! Yet, the same important message stood out: it's all about people. Even if one operates an open door policy, an appraisal is a rare opportunity where time is set aside to allow a manager and another individual to analyse performance and explore ways an employer can do more to enhance their role.
Companies that skip appraisals or deem them too bureaucratic are missing an opportunity to invest in their people. Yes, it's a time consuming exercise. Myself and Sue Spencer, technical director (who took care of our engineering department), had a long list of people to spend quality time with. But it was worth every minute. Look at it less like a box-ticking exercise and more of a way to add long-term efficiency and productivity to a business. Staff retention can often be attributed to a thorough, regular appraisal process that ultimately saves time and money in the long term.
It'll be an even longer process for Sue and I next year after we added four new people to the business recently. Our engineering and sales teams have never been so large so it's more important than ever that we put structures in place to ensure personnel have sufficient support to achieve their goals. Remember, people are not robots, they can't all be programmed the same way.
As I said during the appraisal of our longest serving employee, and in opening exchanges with our new business development manager, John Baker, who's only been with us a matter of weeks, without people there would be no Modulift (imagine that!). It's probably true of most companies, they just don't realise it.
We'll have people at the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association's (SC&RA) Annual Conference, which takes place in Scottsdale, Arizona from 18-22 April. We're always ready to start or strengthen a personal relationship so be sure to look us up or find our exhibit.
Thank you for reading and use the #belowthehook hashtag to engage with us on social media.
Managing Director Modulift