Long term organic strategies add resource capacity for growth
For the past five years the leadership of TClarke has carried out initiatives to increase resource capacity ahead of revenue growth. Even though headlines have focused on revenue growth, capacity increase is the biggest success story. Mark Lawrence, CEO of TClarke Group, explains the plan and what has been accomplished:
Our people deliver our reputation, and our reputation attracts business. The market is very familiar with and confident in this formula. We invest in and believe in the performance of our team members. Due to this, we have prioritised increasing our resource capacity over all else during the past five years, seeing it as the foundation for both our extraordinary rate of repeat business and sustainable expansion. I’ll list four examples of how we do that.
One – Expanding Regional Teams and Capabilities
To meet our margin requirements and suit our expanded skill set we target larger regional projects and so, over the last few years we have steadily built on and expanded our regional building services teams and leadership in one market after another.
For example, in the last 18 months, in Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough and Scotland we have expanded and upgraded our in-house team to offer full mechanical electrical and ICT services whereas before we were largely electrical contractors in those markets.
We have subsequently advanced “up the food chain” in each region in the eyes of the market. We have essentially more than doubled the market that is open to us in each region by establishing ourselves as a Tier 1 partner.
Importantly, we did it the TClarke way and built an in-house team, spoke with partners, won business to establish a reputation and then began to see a new, much stronger pipeline of business and partnerships.
We now have significantly more in-house resource capacity throughout our regional markets than we did just a few years ago, which has been the key to our success in securing substantial new revenue streams in what we believe to be the start of continuing growth.
Two – Expanding Technologies, Skills and Leadership
In terms of technologies, our reputation for delivering mission critical infrastructure allowed us to start at the top (we provided the ICT infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, for instance). Since then, we have steadily expanded, developing our in-house capabilities and resources to the point where we now employ teams of TClarke coders, numerous teams of data centre experts, teams of experts in smart buildings, and master systems integrators. These teams are led by an expanding group of senior leaders and specialists, and they are backed by a well-established programme for the development of our apprentices and graduate applicants’ talents.
Market leadership in serial specialist areas within our technology’s portfolio, just like our regional growth, is achieved with the same capacity-led approach.
When people praise the achievement that seems to have sprung out of nowhere for our Technologies Team, it’s crucial to emphasise that this success has been building consistently for fifteen years. We successfully delivered the most cutting-edge projects in the business (such 22 Bishopsgate, which dominates the City skyline), which helped us lay the correct foundations and expand our in-house resources. Building upon this foundation is a safe and well-organised procedure. We maintain and continue to create additional headroom for expansion by adhering to the same reliable pattern that our clients trust.
Three – Nationwide Apprenticeship at the heart of our culture
Although we may say it frequently, I make no apologies for the fact that apprenticeships are at the heart of our culture.
Our apprenticeship programme is unique in our industry. The gold standard benchmark of 5% of employees enrolled in an apprenticeship or training programme is considerably exceeded by us (we more than double it).
Our apprenticeship completion rates are outstanding at over 96%. Again, these are far in excess of the average and reflect the fact that so many of our people at every level – including me – were apprentices. As individuals, we believe in working to help the young people in whose shoes we once stood.
Throughout the turbulence of the last few years, TClarke consistently took on new apprentices and kept investing in our training and support systems (while many others did not). But now, as we grow, we have the nationwide infrastructure to keep that pipeline of quality people finely attuned to our needs.
And not just in London, either. The increase of capacity to accomplish our local and regional goals has been greatly aided by the extensive presence of apprenticeships in TClarke cultures across the country. Our talent pipeline’s long-term, national component is a key strategic asset in controlling the headroom in our capacity.
Four – Future Leaders is a nationwide pipeline of leadership talent
In 2016 we decided to formalise and expand our programme of support for our people with leadership potential. Long-term and consistent investment has built a nationwide programme that is strong, productive, aspirational, and highly effective.
We are well renowned for the size and calibre of the projects we win, but these projects also serve as tremendously excellent training grounds for bright individuals to polish their technical prowess and leadership abilities.
Future Leaders is another long-term success story for our business. There should be no doubt as to its importance in enabling us to grow at a rapid rate while maintaining high standards and having plenty of capacity for further growth.