Here at Formation we pride ourselves on our expert team and we want you to get to know them as well as we do. With that in mind here is the first in our series of meet the team blogs.
Raul recently joined Formation bringing with him experience of working for a number of construction firms both in the UK and in his native South Africa. He tells us why the move to Formation has been so important and why he believes the time to innovate is now…
How are you Raul?
Really well, busy looking for a new home.
What brought you to the UK, not the weather?
Ha, not the weather! I studied law at University, my family are all lawyers. Like most students, I decided to see the world and that trip finally got me to the UK.
I needed to earn, construction was booming and that’s how I got started here and also in construction. I worked for fit-out firms and specialised in cabling. It was a lot of fun and I got paid!
So you stayed in the UK?
No, I went back to South Africa and took my newly acquired skills and experience and started my own construction and fit-out business.
Wow, how’d it go?
Really well, it got so busy we quickly grew to over a 100 staff. We worked for the mining firms who were growing and super busy. We focused on doing a good job and the work kept coming.
What did you learn?
Health and Safety for the mining firms was important. In other sectors, you do a bad project, you may lose your job. Here, you can kill, so H&S is and always has been my first and last thought.
I learned you need to specialise, doing construction and fit-out was tough. So eventually we split the business and I focused on fit-out.
I also realised you have to look after your customers. We had Mercedes as a customer and you were only as good as your last project, it kept me on my toes.
What changes have you seen since you came back to the UK?
The biggest change is quality, customers will no longer live with ‘OK jobs’. This is good and about time. It raises the bar for everyone. That is quality of finish, staff, proposals, everything.
I think the other big change has been Health and Safety, it used to be a tick box exercise but now it is a cultural shift and it underpins all our work.
Formation have a single focus on keeping customers for life, it means that all the components that ensure this, are done right. I think its rare and its how I want to work. Projects carried out safely, to budget, on time, to specification and ensuring everyone are still friends at the end. I like it a lot.
Much left to do at Formation?
Lots! We particular focus on innovation. We have a formal review after every project, what was done well, what we need to improve on. We have a culture that means you can call out when things went wrong, even if it’s one of the directors. We want to keep nudging the bar up higher.
We educate our customers on our joint responsibility on environmental stewardship. How we avoid putting things in landfill or skips, you can repurpose. There are always better ways to deal with or avoid waste. Some customers like it others have no interest, so we need to vary the message to them, so they do get it.
We are implementing a bonus scheme which rewards on customer satisfaction not project profit or margin. It’s a first for me and it feels the right thing to do. Unhappy customers don’t call you again.
Thanks Raul, look out for our next meet the team blog next month.