In this new feature we take a snapshot of a leading industry figure and focus on aspects of their personal path to success.
You have been Managing Director of Bystronic UK for over 16 years now, can you tell us a little about what attracted you to the company?
Bystronic glass is world renowned and it has a great many strengths. The name itself, is a brand that is one of the strongest in the UK, Europe and further afield. It doesn’t matter whether you go to Asia, Europe or South America – the Bystronic brand is known and recognised for its innovative technology and high quality standards.
When I was invited to join the global Bystronic glass group it would have been madness not to leap at the chance. I have a diverse range of activities here, from Service, Technical Support for customers and UK Marketing.
It is now so important for us as a team to be focused on the sustainable, positive development of the Bystronic glass group. If a customer buys a machine today, then we want to reassure them that they are also buying into the brand and getting excellent service and spare part support as a valued customer, …they are buying into a co-operation together with us.
Can you tell us a little about recent developments within the company?
When the industry felt the impact of the 2008 recession it was essential that Bystronic UK restructured completely. We had built up an incredibly strong reputation on the service engineering front and subsequently, Bystronic UK reorganised the use of its engineering resources as we recognised that our customers needed our help more than ever.
In that period it was important for us to give our customers the best support possible during extremely difficult economic conditions and our involvement with their growth has been comprehensive on the back of that. As a result, the service side has grown exponentially each year whilst competitors have been forced to reduce their head count and that has resulted in their knowledge base being diluted.
As refurbishment, servicing, relocations, repairs and the optimisation of production facilities became increasingly important in this reorganisation, we recognised that we could also share our engineering expertise with other Bystronic glass companies in the group.
The success of this has taken our team from an initial two when I started the company back in 2000, to a company that now employs 25 people. With a highly skilled workforce we now have a broad international customer base with our UK team providing regular support across the globe, plus we support Bystronic companies across Europe.
That must keep your team quite busy?
Yes, we have developed the company around service and support and it had to diversify this way to cater for customer potential and to optimise our own growth.
There is now an excellent team in place and we have developed excellent in-house systems which along with our working partnership with Hegla UK Ltd, and the good team relations, it ensures that we stay focused and organised in a way that best suits our customers.
What type of systems have you developed?
We originated our software programme in the UK for the company’s Technical Hotline here and to serve as a service database, which was originally started back in 2000 when Bystronic glass UK Ltd was launched. Ultimately, the concept is to have a single source for technical information across all the Bystronic companies in the group which will provide advantages for the worldwide customer base.
What started as a simple program has been developed over the years and has been written internally to provide us with a powerful tool that enables an incredibly fast response to customer needs and one that can be rolled out as a service initiative at an international level. It has garnered such a positive response and acceptance from customers that it became essential to develop it further and subsequently we have now gained international support for the system.
Working alongside Innasoft, who have evaluated the system, we have now created an advanced system with Bystronic glass that is being launched in 2017 throughout the UK. This will have a fast trajectory and provide major benefits for customers that will leave others standing still. Once launched it will be swiftly followed by a roll out to Bystronic-Lenhardt and the remaining group companies to make it one of the largest service initiatives worldwide.
Can you explain a little more about the Preferred Partnership with Helga UK?
Both companies have exceptional reputations and we have all worked extremely hard to create complete glass solutions for manufacturers that optimise efficiency. The partnership with Hegla provides robust and dynamic production solutions to the industry.
This builds a trust with our customers that they come to rely upon and we work hard to ensure they have all the support they need to succeed in a very competitive sector.
What can customers expect from Bystronic in the near future?
We are a division of a global company and we have a simple message of putting the customer first. Customers trust us and they notice that we work alongside them to help them achieve their goals. It really is that simple. We care and place customer satisfaction as vitally important to our own growth. In terms of service we offer more and a greater range of services than any other company. The competence and skills of the team leads to the trust that we build with each and every one of them….we place them first.
What is your proudest achievement in your capacity as Managing Director of Bystronic UK?
Being asked by our group CEO to take responsibility for developing sales and service activities in the Nordics, Scandinavia and the Baltics.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Working more closely with all Bystronic glass businesses to provide sales and service processes that are highly valued by our customers’.
What can’t you live without?
Quite simply – my phone to remain in touch with customers and the Bystronic glass team.
What would you say to your younger self just starting out?
Set out your vision and targets with achievable milestones. Develop enthusiasm and teamwork, regularly review, adapt processes and share responsibilities and accountability with others.
Helen Duval 2017