Composite Profiles

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Composite Profiles's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Composite Profiles is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.compositeuk.com

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | ADVANCED VENTILATION SYSTEMS
Continuing to push forward
Despite 12 years having elapsed since
AVS started, I have never believed
we have “arrived” as a business.
There is still always more to do, and
complacency is something that we
simply never allow. I believe the
success we have enjoyed can be
attributed to a wide range of factors.
We have always sought to provide a
high-quality solution-based product
while delivering the right combination
of price, performance, service and
technical support.
Customer retention has been key,
and this is linked to our market
orientation, customer focus, and,
crucially, relationships with our
customers and suppliers. We take
pride in paying all of our suppliers on
time and in full. We want the best
prices but we also recognise that
our suppliers need to make a profit,
allowing them to be supplying us
not just now but ten years down the
line as well. With all of this comes
a big slice of luck. Gary Player, the
South African golfer, holed out from
a bunker shot and was asked if he
was lucky, to which he replied: “The
harder I practise, the luckier I get.” Its
a phrase I live by and totally believe in.
The bottom line is: you always get out
what you put in.
A global business
environment
The reality is, as a business, we
already operate in a global world.
Our primary component is aluminium
extruded in the UK, our design is
completed by a Norwegian-owned
company and our raw materials are
sourced from across central Europe
and beyond. These materials are
traded on the Chinese-owned London
Metal Exchange and the trading
currency is US dollars: a truly global
supply chain.
When the US imposes sanctions
on Russian aluminium producers,
our prices go up. When the pound
slips against the dollar, our prices
go up. This challenge isn’t new to
us but it is further compounded by
uncertainty. We look to mitigate this
by locking ourselves into annual supply
agreements with our key suppliers,
giving us, at least, price certainty for a
12-month period.
Our business is also linked to elements
of government spending, as our
product is widely used in schools,
hospitals and other public buildings.
This means we have a vested interest
in the UK having a strong economy,
allowing necessary spending to be
maintained on both existing and new
builds in these sectors.
Of course, we also have the local
challenges of looking to grow our
business against the backdrop of
uncertainty that currently exists. We
find ourselves at a time when we
could look to invest in space and
people, allowing us to manage our
business better and to maintain and
improve our current lead times while
expanding our market share. This,
however, would be so much easier
to realise if we knew the direction of
travel and the outcome of Brexit and
its futureimpacts.
Gary Player,
the South
African golfer
was asked if
he was lucky,
to which he
replied:
‘Theharder I
practise, the
luckier I get’
AVS34 louvres at
Chichester Enterprise
Centre
31COMPOSITE PROFILES |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Helen Clayton receiving the
Champion of the Year Award
from Managing Director Mark
Norton
Specialist deck installation at
Maidstone Audi dealership
Composite Profiles are a specialist metal decking contractor,
established in 1992. Whereas many in their industry focus
solely on price to remain competitive, they champion the
quality of their service, ensuring that all client needs are met.
Having weathered the financial crash in 2008, they have seen
significant growth and have since quadrupled their turnover to in
excess of £5 million. Managing Director Mark Norton discusses
their focus on people, delivering quality safely and their work
with the BBC’s
DIY SOS
to support the Grenfell community.
Being a specialist metal decking contractor with just 20 permanent employees
doesn’t automatically convey our status as an award-winning, people-centred
business. We face the same challenges as larger organisations do, but we approach
them differently. In a price-dominated market, we focus on our culture, values and
service, influencing the industry’s
status quo
.
At the beginning of 2018, we set ourselves the challenge to reach our ambitious
“Ten-in-Ten” growth strategy – to double our turnover to £10 million in ten years.
Our company was started by my father, Roy Norton, in 1992. Splitting from his
former business partner, Roy hit the road following his instinctive principle to
focus on customer service and loyalty. This founding philosophy remains central to
our decisions and manifests through our values and pillars of excellence: building
the future, building trust, building knowledge, building team spirit and building
relationships – the building blocks of our “building excellence” brand identity.
Late last year, we unpicked the meaning of those two special words, “building
excellence”, and commenced our journey towards them. We recently created a set of
“excellent” behaviours, which form the basis of our new team welcome pack.
FACTS ABOUT
COMPOSITE PROFILES
»Managing Director:
MarkNorton
»Established in 1992
»Based in Poole, Nottingham,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne and
Derby
»Services: Composite floor
decking and structural roof
decking, plus related services
»No. of employees: 20
permanent with up to 40
subcontractors
»Awards include Investors in
People Gold accreditation
2019, Business Excellence
Forum Best Company Culture
2018 and numerous best
contractor awards
Composite Profiles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | COMPOSITE PROFILES
How building relationships
and trust builds business
The client lifecycle is complex. With so
many factors influencing the decision-
making process, it’s almost impossible
to apply a repeat business model. It
might be five years before we work
with a client again on a similar project
so building trusting relationships is
vitally important to us. For example,
The Curve in Slough, Arts University
Bournemouth student accommodation
and multi-storey car parks, have been
delivered via our ongoing relationship
with main contractor, Morgan Sindall.
Similarly, we worked with the same
pair of contractors, Galliford Try
Construction and SCWS Ltd, on the
mixed-use redevelopments of 55
St James Street and Forbury Place,
Reading. We work with more than
200 clients throughout the UK and
categorise nearly 40 per cent as
“premium clients”: those with whom
we win more than half of the jobs we
quote for them.
Although repeat models are hard to
apply, we calculate that 35 per cent
of our clients repeat with us within
12 months, which is testament to
our professionalism and service. We
don’t aim to be the biggest or the
cheapest, but we do aim to be the
best. Clients buy our services because
we are reliable and flexible and provide
outstanding service.
Financial doom to £5 million
turnover
The global crisis of 2008 accelerated
my takeover as managing director.
The phones literally stopped ringing
overnight. We weren’t just a small
family business anymore: we had
a team of subcontractors, direct
employees and their families all relying
on us. On reflection, it was the first
time I truly understood every penny of
the finances. I scrutinised the accounts
to ascertain how much the business
needed to generate each week to
stayafloat.
Prior to the recession, we were known
mainly for small, complicated projects.
Seeking to expand into new markets
and adopt a radical new approach to
our policy and pricing structure, we
managed to secure our largest project
to date: the development of JD Sports’
massive 865,000-foot distribution
centre in Rochdale. At £340,000, this
accounted for more than 24 per cent
of our total revenue that year.
A year later, reputation and word
of mouth took us to new levels.
Commissioned by Severfield, who
were the largest steel fabricators
in the UK, we installed the decking
on E.ON’s new headquarters in
Nottingham. Two further prestigious
developments followed: Admiral
Insurance’s headquarters in Cardiff and
Google’s London offices. By 2014, we
had surpassed our previous best year
in growth and have since averaged 22
per cent year on year.
Eleven years on from the recession, our
financial charts look beautiful: a steady
growth curve sitting at an enviable
45-degree incline. We have quadrupled
turnover to in excess of £5 million,
were awarded Investors in People
Gold, won Best Company Culture at
the UK’s Business Excellence Forum in
2018 and have just celebrated our first
£1 million sales month.
Extension of Allied Irish
Bank, Finsbury Square,
London
In a price-
dominated
market, we
focus on our
culture, values,
and service,
influencing
the industry’s
status quo
33COMPOSITE PROFILES |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
How our reputation for
“building excellence” is our
holy grail
Reputation is paramount to our
success, with 75 per cent of our work
coming via referrals and long-standing
relationships. It was this reputation
that presented us with our most
rewarding contract to date. Featured
on the BBC’s
DIY SOS: Big Build
series to mark the one-year memorial
anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire,
as members of the BCSA, we were
approached by Tata Steel to help to
rebuild Dale Youth Boxing Gym. We
were honoured to provide a team
of specialist installers to rebuild this
much-needed sports facility for the
Grenfell community.
Working with the community isn’t
new to us. My father, Roy Norton, was
bestowed with a lifetime membership
of AFC Bournemouth following his
financial donation when the club
was on its knees facing relegation.
We are also youth sponsors and
community partners for Bournemouth
Rugby Club, plus all sorts of individual
commitments come from our team
members – in late 2019, Operations
Director Joel Nurser is conquering
Everest base camp while raising money
for Marie Curie.
What does the future hold?
With such levels of growth and new
players evident in the industry, we
are aware of the possible threat of
market saturation. We have had
a trusted presence in the UK steel
industry since 1988 and are one of
only three specialist contractors to
supply Tata Steel’s full range of floor
decking. The future lies in the hands
of companies like ours, that champion
better practices, collaborate and drive
innovative build solutions.
There are certainly challenges on the
horizon, but we have overcome them
before. We’re not the biggest in the
industry, but we are leading the way
in best practice. We’re flexible, open
and welcoming – essentially, we’re a
people business specialising in metal
decking. We will keep a close ear to
the ground and keep doing what
we’re good at: interweaving our values
into all we do and building excellence.
Our journey towards building
excellence is not complete, nor do we
want it to be. It’s evolving, but, for
now, we know what those two special
words mean to us and how they
translate into team behaviours. It’s our
verb and our mantra to live by for the
next 25 years.
35 per cent of
our clients repeat
with us within
12 months.
Clients buy our
services because
we are reliable
and flexible and
provide
outstanding
service
Team activity at
our annual building
excellence strategy day
Mark Norton and Joel Nurser
receiving a national award from
global entrepreneur Brad Sugars
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | COMPOSITE PROFILES
How building relationships
and trust builds business
The client lifecycle is complex. With so
many factors influencing the decision-
making process, it’s almost impossible
to apply a repeat business model. It
might be five years before we work
with a client again on a similar project
so building trusting relationships is
vitally important to us. For example,
The Curve in Slough, Arts University
Bournemouth student accommodation
and multi-storey car parks, have been
delivered via our ongoing relationship
with main contractor, Morgan Sindall.
Similarly, we worked with the same
pair of contractors, Galliford Try
Construction and SCWS Ltd, on the
mixed-use redevelopments of 55
St James Street and Forbury Place,
Reading. We work with more than
200 clients throughout the UK and
categorise nearly 40 per cent as
“premium clients”: those with whom
we win more than half of the jobs we
quote for them.
Although repeat models are hard to
apply, we calculate that 35 per cent
of our clients repeat with us within
12 months, which is testament to
our professionalism and service. We
don’t aim to be the biggest or the
cheapest, but we do aim to be the
best. Clients buy our services because
we are reliable and flexible and provide
outstanding service.
Financial doom to £5 million
turnover
The global crisis of 2008 accelerated
my takeover as managing director.
The phones literally stopped ringing
overnight. We weren’t just a small
family business anymore: we had
a team of subcontractors, direct
employees and their families all relying
on us. On reflection, it was the first
time I truly understood every penny of
the finances. I scrutinised the accounts
to ascertain how much the business
needed to generate each week to
stayafloat.
Prior to the recession, we were known
mainly for small, complicated projects.
Seeking to expand into new markets
and adopt a radical new approach to
our policy and pricing structure, we
managed to secure our largest project
to date: the development of JD Sports’
massive 865,000-foot distribution
centre in Rochdale. At £340,000, this
accounted for more than 24 per cent
of our total revenue that year.
A year later, reputation and word
of mouth took us to new levels.
Commissioned by Severfield, who
were the largest steel fabricators
in the UK, we installed the decking
on E.ON’s new headquarters in
Nottingham. Two further prestigious
developments followed: Admiral
Insurance’s headquarters in Cardiff and
Google’s London offices. By 2014, we
had surpassed our previous best year
in growth and have since averaged 22
per cent year on year.
Eleven years on from the recession, our
financial charts look beautiful: a steady
growth curve sitting at an enviable
45-degree incline. We have quadrupled
turnover to in excess of £5 million,
were awarded Investors in People
Gold, won Best Company Culture at
the UK’s Business Excellence Forum in
2018 and have just celebrated our first
£1 million sales month.
Extension of Allied Irish
Bank, Finsbury Square,
London
In a price-
dominated
market, we
focus on our
culture, values,
and service,
influencing
the industry’s
status quo
33COMPOSITE PROFILES |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
How our reputation for
“building excellence” is our
holy grail
Reputation is paramount to our
success, with 75 per cent of our work
coming via referrals and long-standing
relationships. It was this reputation
that presented us with our most
rewarding contract to date. Featured
on the BBC’s
DIY SOS: Big Build
series to mark the one-year memorial
anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire,
as members of the BCSA, we were
approached by Tata Steel to help to
rebuild Dale Youth Boxing Gym. We
were honoured to provide a team
of specialist installers to rebuild this
much-needed sports facility for the
Grenfell community.
Working with the community isn’t
new to us. My father, Roy Norton, was
bestowed with a lifetime membership
of AFC Bournemouth following his
financial donation when the club
was on its knees facing relegation.
We are also youth sponsors and
community partners for Bournemouth
Rugby Club, plus all sorts of individual
commitments come from our team
members – in late 2019, Operations
Director Joel Nurser is conquering
Everest base camp while raising money
for Marie Curie.
What does the future hold?
With such levels of growth and new
players evident in the industry, we
are aware of the possible threat of
market saturation. We have had
a trusted presence in the UK steel
industry since 1988 and are one of
only three specialist contractors to
supply Tata Steel’s full range of floor
decking. The future lies in the hands
of companies like ours, that champion
better practices, collaborate and drive
innovative build solutions.
There are certainly challenges on the
horizon, but we have overcome them
before. We’re not the biggest in the
industry, but we are leading the way
in best practice. We’re flexible, open
and welcoming – essentially, we’re a
people business specialising in metal
decking. We will keep a close ear to
the ground and keep doing what
we’re good at: interweaving our values
into all we do and building excellence.
Our journey towards building
excellence is not complete, nor do we
want it to be. It’s evolving, but, for
now, we know what those two special
words mean to us and how they
translate into team behaviours. It’s our
verb and our mantra to live by for the
next 25 years.
35 per cent of
our clients repeat
with us within
12 months.
Clients buy our
services because
we are reliable
and flexible and
provide
outstanding
service
Team activity at
our annual building
excellence strategy day
Mark Norton and Joel Nurser
receiving a national award from
global entrepreneur Brad Sugars

www.compositeuk.com

This article was sponsored by Composite Profiles. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster