How did you begin your career with Kingspan?
I had been working for Aircell Insulation for 3 years, moving from an Area Sales Manager role to State Manager, before that business was acquired by Kingspan in 2009. It was an exciting time for us – Kingspan hadn’t had a huge presence in Australia previously, and when we started to look at who they were and how they operate we understood what a great opportunity this could be. Within a few years after the acquisition I was looking after not one, but two states, progressing to a National Sales Manager role around 2016, and then Sales Director for New Zealand and Australia in 2017.
Describe a typical day in your current role?
My day always starts with people. Three out five days a week I will have a catch up with the teams who report directly to me, checking in with how they are, what challenges they may be facing, especially in the current climate. Having these meetings virtually means we can plug straight in with 7-8 people on each call and get across any problems. Often, we can get the business at hand done in under an hour. I work with both the internal and external sales teams, as well as technical support. After that, I’ll start contacting clients, making sure that any challenges they have are addressed – it’s a good opportunity to really engage with our clients and make sure that they have a good customer experience with us. The role is an interesting blend of internal and external touchpoints, both transactional and non-transactional.
What has been your career highlight to-date?
Over the last few months things have changed massively. You need to bear in mind that across New Zealand and Australia we are dealing with five different time zones and covering vast territories, so we were spending a huge amount of time travelling, meaning that we were often slow to react to customers needs. Six months before Covid struck we were already looking at ways to become more agile, and trialling Webex as a potential platform to use. We were able to fast track that project and execute a two-year plan in just 6 months. The fact that we have been able to do that has made us more accessible in lots of different ways.
The benefits have not just been for customers – our staff have a better work/life balance, they are happier, healthier and more productive now that the whole team doesn’t need to travel as much. It’s been a real eye opener, and I am particularly proud of how we have been able to embrace the technology, implement it so quickly and make such a success of it. We now have plans in place for a post-Covid world where we will continue to use this technology to best advantage – we have learned that many of our clients, particularly those focussed on design such as architects and engineers, have also embraced this new method of communication and information sharing, and we actually have more contact with them now than ever before.
What inspires you about Kingspan’s future impact in the industry?
It has to be about the vision to deliver products that reduce our environmental footprint, and the commitment to Planet Passionate. We talk about this a lot in our day to day work, it is on the agenda at every discussion – how are we doing, what are we doing to meet our goals? We have total buy in from everybody, and the way the vision was set out to the staff has had a really big impact. Of course, it’s not going to be easy delivering on some of the targets. Take the commitment to only have electric vehicles used within the business – unfortunately, the infrastructure just isn’t available in Australia to make that feasible for a few years yet. But what we can do right now, and already have done, is dramatically reduce the amount of travel we do without negatively impacting our customer service. I feel like we are definitely taking steps in the right direction.