2016 was a year of celebration for Stonegrove Refrigeration after the company won not one but two RAC Cooling Industry Awards having been named The Resource Data Management Refrigeration Contractor of the Year and winning Industrial Project of the Year. What makes the double success all the more impressive is that it was the first time the company had entered the awards.
“We’ve always been pretty shy when it comes to putting ourselves forward for awards but last year we decided to stop hiding our light under a bushel in order to get our name out there a bit more,” explains Dan Cashmore, Managing Director. “To have won the awards at the first time of asking was fantastic and is great recognition for the company and for our staff in particular. We’re often described as one of the biggest fridge companies that nobody knows about so we’re looking now to raise awareness and become as well-known as the multi-nationals. The big advantages for our clients are that we we remain privately-owned so are able to think a bit more quickly on our feet and provide the flexibility and responsiveness that is so important to client at times, and also we are independent and not tied to any one manufacturer. This means that we can give the best impartial advice and find the best solutions to meet the client’s needs. So now it’s just a case of sticking our head above the parapet and getting our name and message out there. We’ve done well building the company on the back of repeat business but if we are to really start progressing strongly we need to look at other avenues within the wider marketplace.”
“To have won the awards at the first time of asking was fantastic and is great recognition for the company and for our staff in particular. We’re often described as one of the biggest fridge companies that nobody knows about so we’re looking now to raise awareness and become as well-known as the multi-nationals.”
Dan Cashmore, Managing Director
Formed in June 2002, today Stonegrove’s turnover primarily consists of large industrial refrigeration plants, with the remainder being mainly made up of commercial refrigeration, air conditioning and process cooling works. “We’re able to turn our hand to most things but large industrial continues to form the bulk of our workload,” adds Mr Cashmore. “Geographically we cover pretty much all of the country, although we tend not to venture too much into the south-west at the moment. However, we are certainly looking to develop our business in this region.”
“Geographically we cover pretty much all of the country, although we tend not to venture too much into the south-west at the moment. However, we are certainly looking to develop our business in this region.”
Dan Cashmore, Managing Director
A 30-plus strong workforce supports Stonegrove’s activities supplemented by tried and tested sub-contracted labour during busier periods. As its awards underline, the company has developed a strong proposition within the marketplace and as it becomes more well-known it will be even better placed to make the most of the opportunities that are currently available. “Many clients like our family feel as a business and the fact that they can pick up the phone and speak to a director, which they find particularly reassuring. Our personal touch is certainly a major strength we have as a business. This, however, only gets you so far and it’s just as important that we also have the knowledge base to back it up. This is becoming an increasingly notable advantage we hold over the marketplace as skills and experience are lost across the wider industry as knowledge of ammonia refrigeration, which we specialise in, continues to be lost as older engineers retire. Thankfully we have some of the best engineers in the marketplace and we’re also very strong on training and bringing new talent through via apprenticeships to ensure that this continues to be the case.
“In terms of the skills shortage that the industry is seeing, many firms have perhaps been guilty of stepping back from helping develop young engineers but for our part we’ve recently brought a couple of apprentices through and we’re keen to keep investing in our people. It’s also vital that we enable our staff to progress with us so that young apprentices can improve their skills and so that our mid-range engineers have the opportunity to become the design engineers of the future. It’s all about investing the time and money in your people to give you the resources to support your ongoing development as a business.”
With this in mind, Stonegrove is looking ahead with bolstered confidence following 2016’s award success with the clear aim of broadening its horizons. “For 2017 we’ll definitely be looking to push into new fields and having gained a strong reputation within the storage and distribution sectors dealing with large sheds and other big buildings, we certainly have the opportunity to transfer this experience and our skills set into other areas, such food processing, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals,” concludes Mr Cashmore. “We’re very keen to spread our wings because at the end of the day we have the skills and the people to achieve this objective, as the awards demonstrate. It’s great that our staff received such a significant pat on the back and we’re now all collectively focused on making the year ahead every bit as successful.”