A reputation for quality and customer service makes for good business, says Les McCracken
How long has McCue been operating in Northern Ireland?
McCue was established in 1954 and started with the humble business of manufacturing packing cases for the fruit and veg industry, so we’ve been around for 56 years.
Do you have any plans for expansion?
Always. McCue has continuously grown at a steady pace since my involvement in 1987.
In the middle of 2008 we were in the process of developing a strategic growth plan for the subsequent three years. However, towards the latter end of that year it became apparent that the only plan to use was consolidation. This consolidation is now slowly retreating and we are looking ahead with a plan of growth.
The retail and construction industries have had a difficult period in recent years — how has that impacted on business?
As previously mentioned the recession initially put a hold on our development plans. Our turnover decreased and we also found a dramatic difference with the regional spread of sales.
Much like any industry — with exception of undertakers, perhaps — we have had to batten down the hatches and focus on survival.
Have you launched any new initiatives to combat the current challenges?
We are intensifying our marketing initiatives — in particular our relationship marketing, which not only focuses on building relationships with current and potential clients but with all stakeholders, including our sub-contractors, suppliers and employees.
This is in an effort to ensure we can get the best from each in terms of quality, delivery and customer service. This approach is paying dividends as demonstrated by the prestigious national awards we have won this year including Retail Week’s store fit company of the year, The National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) shopfitting excellence award and NAS design partnership award.
In this competitive marketplace with plenty of choice for consumers, how do you win business?
The marketplace has been increasingly competitive, not least in the construction industry.
In order to win business we have adopted a positive approach to changing market conditions supported by our reputation for being a company committed to quality of delivery, product and customer service. In the past 18 months we are delighted that this approach has led, not only to us retaining our existing clients, but also winning and retaining new business.
Do you think the upcoming public sector cuts will harm your business?
As the Northern Ireland economy depends largely on the public sector, there is no doubt that these cuts will significantly affect the level of disposable income in the region, and as a result, impact not only on our business through the retail sector but also substantially reducing the potential investments from sectors such as hospitality and leisure.
There will, however, continue to be opportunities within sectors and areas which will not see as great an affect from the public sector cuts and these will be the focus of our development.