Posted on 7th February 2017
Barry Perkins joined Havelock two months ago as Director of Corporate Services. Last week, Suzanne Houston, Marketing and Communications Director, had a conversation with Barry to find out what inspires him and his plans for Corporate Services at Havelock.
SH: Welcome to Havelock, Barry. How have your first eight weeks been in the business?
BP: I have had a very warm welcome and a fantastic and structured induction into the company. This has enabled me to become part of the business and culture very quickly. The people I have met are passionate and dedicated and that makes Havelock a great place to be – together we are ready for the opportunity ahead of us!
SH: Describe your role within the business.
BP: I have joined as Director of Corporate Services and I am responsible for our corporate clients and ensuring Havelock delivers service excellence to them. It’s important to be close to the organisations I’ll be engaging, so I will based at our new London office in Clerkenwell.
SH: How will you provide ‘Corporate Services’?
BP: Quite simply by listening to customers! Our service excellence model is tuned into what our customers actually want and we can achieve this by working in collaboration with customers, consultants and supply partners to create high performing delivery teams across organisations.
I want to focus on building relationships. Our plan of targeted and sustainable growth will be achieved by exceeding our customers’ expectations, rather than simply chasing the market to win projects. We have some work to do, we can always improve but with a very clear vision we have a great starting point.
SH: Havelock recently re-organised the business into three market-facing units. What do you see as the benefits of Havelock’s reorganised structure?
BP: The new structure that our CEO David Ritchie has implemented will facilitate a more agile and customer-focused approach across our three main sectors – Public Sector, Retail & Lifestyle and Corporate Services. This is a really positive move, both for strengthening the service to existing customers, as well as delivering exactly what customers expect as we win new projects and prove our capabilities. Specifically for Corporate Services, it means we can deliver exactly what is asked from our banking and corporate clients.
I am also looking forward to working closely with John Gaughan (Public Sector Director) and Gillian Jenkins (Retail & Lifestyle Director), as we will all have similar demands in meeting customers’ expectations. With the added support from Peter McAllister (Manufacturing Director) and the factory and John Gillespie (Design Director) and the design team, I believe we can provide services and solutions like no other.
SH: So why did you choose to come and work for Havelock?
BP: I spent the previous nine years at a leading fit-out businesses in the UK. During those nine years I developed a number of customer and consultant relationships and created high performing teams who delivered some magnificent projects and programmes. It was important to me that the organisation I joined had the same appetite to focus on customers and service excellence – and Havelock has this in abundance.
At my previous company I also had good insight from the outside looking in. Having worked alongside Havelock for a number of years on several client frameworks, I could see, then, the enthusiasm to provide the best service! Add to this David Ritchie’s passion and inspiration in leading the business, Havelock really is a good fit for me, both personally and professionally.
SH: What is your current view of our industry and how should Havelock respond?
BP: Digital technology is progressive and the resulting pace of change is fast. However at the heart of technology is people: people working hard to deliver great service to other people. Nonetheless, suppliers like Havelock need to be increasingly agile to respond to this fast-changing world. We need to provide alternative solutions that drive out waste and duplication of effort for mutual benefit.
When we take on new projects we must place greater emphasis on people and collaborative working, rather than focussing simply on the task. As one customer put it to us during the Voice of Customer exercise: “give me the ‘right athlete’ for my project.”
Ultimately we need to demonstrate added value, not just to all our customers but also to the users of the buildings and estates in which we work.
SH: What experience do you bring to Havelock?
I started my construction career 34 years ago as an apprentice bench joiner (I’m showing my age now!) and after qualifying with ordinary and advanced City and Guild qualifications I moved out on to site installations at the very young age of nineteen.
I spent a number of years working on fit-out projects across multiple sectors including commercial, retail, automotive and on large construction sites. As a young man I watched the so-called ‘suits’ walk on site and always wondered what they did. After finding out a bit more I then aspired to move into project and operational management.
In my previous role I worked with some very high profile financial clients. I was extremely proud of my team, who excelled at flawless delivery. They did this by providing complete closure on a project with a ‘right first time’ approach. This avoided any wasted resources remedying defects and issues, it maintained margins and ultimately resulted in a happy customer.
Havelock also takes this ‘right first time’ approach to client delivery. By developing high performing teams, I want to demonstrate our approach to even more corporate clients across the UK.
Having fun at work and being recognised for a job well done – even with a simple ‘thank you’ – can go a very long way. I was born in a tough area of London where my mum always said to my siblings and me, “be polite and you will be all right”. This ethos will always create respect of others, both socially and in the workplace and I continue to apply this ethos at Havelock.
SH: You mention the future. What does this look like for Barry and Havelock?
BP: Throughout my career and the strong working relationships I’ve built with customers, it has become apparent to me that a diverse service offering across clients’ estates delivered by a strong and reliable supplier provides both consistency for the client and sustainability for the business. Havelock has a five year plan to develop our people and to provide succession and opportunity within a sustainable environment. Our goal of sustained profits and continuing to always do the right things will ensure we are strong in the future and that Havelock continues to be a great place to work!
People measure success in different ways but for me, success is simply doing something I am proud of. Whether delivery of an excellent project or the development of people that work with me, these are the things that make me proud.
SH: Thank you Barry, and good luck at Havelock.