Built with Integrity…

 Simon & Odelle Hewitt

With the introduction of a new identity for Chem Resist, Simon Hewitt MD, discusses Integrity.

WHAT IS INTEGRITY?

Integrity is in everything we do at Chem Resist, but it’s much more than just working with a quality approach. We really try and instil a sense of personal pride across the whole team in everything we manufacture and do for our customers.

The introduction of ‘Built with Integrity’ comes at a key time. We’ve worked hard, particularly through the recent months to keep growing, developing and investing to make sure we’re ready for the future.  Looking back, we’ve tried to build the whole business with integrity, always doing the right thing by our customers and employees, building relationships for the long-term.

CUSTOMER FOCUSSED

Every internal process enhancement and investment we’ve made has been about ultimately improving our customer service and their experience. Installing the ERP system, expanding Production Management and consolidating our Purchasing, all recent projects run by Odelle (Commercial Director, pictured right with Simon) have meant we’re more focussed and better able to service our customers.

Many of our customers have been with us since the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, some even go back to the ‘70’s and they remain loyal because we do exactly what we say we will. Over time we’ve invested in more customer facing roles; Project Engineers to make sure the customer expectations once a PO is signed, are met. Our Technical Manager is also an invaluable resource for our customers, advising and guiding them through complex processes, ensuring any technical solution we deliver is robust and sound.

THE CHEM RESIST TEAM

What has been, and continues to be absolutely fundamental to our success is our whole team.  We’ve got 50 people working here and we try and create an environment where everyone is happy, rewarded, fulfilled and also challenged. Odelle makes sure we find people with the right cultural fit through the recruitment process.

In a business of this size you’ve got to be continually looking at everyone in the here and now, whilst also planning for the future. As a company we have a phenomenal long service record, people who have been with us for 10,15, even 20 years plus, which is balanced by our expansion and bringing in new talent. We always try and do the right thing as an employer too; we support people, because you can be sure at some point, when there’s a tight spot you’ll need to ask people to give a bit more to get through it.

BELIEVING IN YOURSELF

My career at Chem Resist started back in 1989 and then I re-joined again in 1999 after a couple of years working for an American organisation. That period had caused some frustrations; decision making was really slow and I didn’t really suit working from home so it was really important there was a better natural fit with my role. I’d missed the fast-paced, team spirit so I returned to Chem Resist.

Discussions around Odelle and I taking over the business from Seamus, became a reality in May 2008. Unfortunately, this all coincided with the crash of the banks and the start of the recession. We’d put everything up as security for the deal and the first lender pulled out; perhaps the sensible thing to do would’ve been to wait until things were more stable but not doing the deal wasn’t an option and went against everything I believed in. We were up for the challenge so we found a second lender and put our money behind it, since then we’ve worked really hard and got through believing in our philosophy and values.

I’ve also not been afraid to seek external input into the business, to challenge what we think and how we’re doing things; individuals who can help make sure our strategy is on the right track. Knowing who and when to ask for input is absolutely key for individual and business growth.

SETTING THE STANDARD

Spiral Crane TileA key milestone for the business was between 1989 and ’91, Seamus took on the great task of creating our own spiral winder, which was a massive undertaking. We could’ve taken the easier route of buying a license and using someone else’s technology, but we chose to develop our own. Looking back, I now realise how this shaped our future and for that I give massive credit to Seamus. He’d seen what was happening in Europe, Germany was really the leader in the development of the material and the process, but there were also no standards, so only chemical companies or those with links to Germany understood the technology.

In 2000, Seamus was part of the working party to create the European standard BS EN 12573:2000 for welded static, non-pressurised thermoplastic tanks. The European standard made sure there was an absolute level playing field, as you either comply or you don’t. Everything we manufacture is in accordance with it, in fact we link as much of our operation as possible to standards, it gives us immediate credibility and helps speeds up the customers’ decision-making process.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP

Built with integrityWhen I joined in 1989, we’d just started working with Almatec in the UK. When you’re dealing with other companies, selling their product range, it’s not just about the product it’s about their principles and drive to push technology. We have a great relationship with Almatec and it works incredibly well for us both. Back in 1991, we began working with World Chemical, it was a great product range and our first experience of working with a Japanese company.

Unfortunately, there was some early miscommunication, and the relationship came to an end. It was only during a visit to Japan, being able to meet face-to-face, that things became clear. We then re-established our relationship, and a UK distribution deal was agreed and we’ve never looked back. The world is very different now, and the miscommunication would not have even occurred today with technology, but meeting face-to-face and personally knowing the individuals you’re working with is key to any successful partnership.

‘Built with Integrity’, is not rocket science, in fact it’s very basic; really focus on your customers and team, have a bit of self-belief, work to the best possible processes and standards and find the right partners. ‘Built with Integrity’ is fundamental to who are.

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