The Big Interview: Rory McNaughton, Managing Director, Contract Services
"Business is very good, given the economic climate. .. Forward thinking and being one step ahead of the competition is vital".
Business is very good, given the economic climate. We are in an ever more competitive marketplace with new multinationals coming in looking for their piece of the action, but thankfully our sales are very strong and we are managing to keep our market share and margins high. Forward thinking and being one step ahead of the competition are vital and at Contract Services those are things we are good at.
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINE?
We have been chosen once again by IKEA as their preferred contractor to provide complete electrical retail fit-out for the prestigious new store in Southampton. We have also booked some interesting jobs in the UK for Makro and Homebase. We have grown organically to be a multi-million pound company in just three years.
WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM PROSPECTS FOR YOUR COMPANY?
We have won our market share of the electrical, mechanical, building and cleaning sectors by paying attention to detail and our customers’ needs, by doing business smarter noticing our competition’s weaknesses and exploiting them. Being better at everything is always my aim. We have a great ability to mould our business around the specific needs of our
customers and this has proven itself to be a key to success. We intend to keep growing in one hand organically and on the other by acquisition. It is our goal to have a turnover of £15m to £20m within the next five to 10 years, while maintaining our award-winning customer service levels.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR ORGANISATION?
As all business people would agree, we need to be streamlining our business as we grow, doing business smarter, cutting costs where we can and keeping a steady hand on the tiller. As we grow the business we need to ensure that there are enough highly skilled worker available, from management to engineers.
COULD THE GOVERNMENT HELP YOU TO DO BUSINESS BETTER?
The Government could help not only my business but all businesses within the Northern Ireland marketplace if they actually went to work. Local government has a lot to answer for. They should actually be doing the job that they are paid for at the time we need them most. Instead of bickering over nothing and dragging up the past, they should be working hard bringing investment and government funds into the local economy, boosting the work load for local business, which in turn brings jobs and inward investment, which in turn brings confidence. They need to cut red tape in tax laws and planning laws.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WORK FOR YOU?
From the outset of bringing Contract Services from a concept/dream to reality, I was focused on building a company which treated its best assets (being my employees) as they should be treated. I have always offered better working practices, fully paid training services, better salaries, better vehicles, better holidays and above all a very personable, friendly atmosphere to work in. This is why I have some of the best staff members our industry can offer — a first class professional team who care for the continuing growth of the business.
YOUR VIEWS ON THE ECONOMY, PLEASE.
The overall economy is bad. I fear they may bring back the ration books — not for food but for work! On a serious note, the country's finances govern all aspects in life and affect everyone from the top paid business persons to the local window cleaner. The Government needs to shake off the flu that America has passed on, at this time we need very strong decisive action to stabilise the markets and bring back confidence to the lending institutions. This in turn will filter down through the whole economy.
THE BUSINESS CLIMATE — GOOD OR BAD?
We are very busy and looking forward. Our order books are more healthy than ever, this is a fair achievement given the current state of the economy. I believe that some businesses shall be struggling to remain solvent. The business climate is tough and only the toughest and smartest shall survive.
WHAT AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE ON A PERSONAL LEVEL?
I guess when I have built my business to a very comfortable level I would really like to give something back and help young people like me start up in business and better themselves through hard work. I also wish to get involved with a few charities and do some good for others struggling in the world.
WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I have a boat and I love nothing more than heading off on a Friday evening to the west of Scotland or Strangford Lough and spending some relaxing time away from it all cooking nice food and having a glass or two of wine...Bliss..!!!