Operating under the six-year-long stewardship of Scott Hardie, who has been retained as Managing Director following the acquisition, the former IISL operation has now been amalgamated into the Enigma Industrial Services family.
With 1,200 staff across a national footprint that includes 12 separate locations across the country, it is easy to see why the IISL operation was such an attractive proposition for Enigma, which was originally formed in 2003 as London-based Enigma Security. Driven forward by the ambition of CEO, Glen Webley, the business subsequently diversified its suite of services, evolving to include Enigma Industrial Services in the process.
“With Glen looking for other opportunities that would allow the Enigma business to move into new areas, when IISL became available for sale he entered into dialogue with myself and ultimately we reached agreement on how to go forward,” explains Mr Hardie. “Any acquisition of this scale involves an additional workload for many people within the business but the response from every member of staff has been fantastic. Their enthusiasm and commitment has been a huge factor in the success we have seen so far and will continue to be so as we move forward together with the aim of retaining all of our existing clients and adding new ones to our customer list”.
“As an organisation we are very much focused on customer service, while the priority has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of our employees and customers. At the same time, we provide strong value for money. This is only possible because of the high degree of expertise within the management team and throughout the workforce. We have very capable staff and some excellent products that have been developed over the years. We fully understand the level of service our customers expect from us.”
This high degree of competency and customer service didn’t come about by accident, with the IISL business having honed its skills base over the years thanks to a strongly ingrained emphasis on training and staff development. “I really have to take my hat off to our previous owners, they continued to support my aim of ensuring that our team were continually trained and developed, right through to the conclusion of the acquisition process,” adds Mr Hardie. “Even during growth periods, when it can be challenging to dedicate resources to training, Interserve continually spent time and money on training. This philosophy remained even when the company was having to tackle some of the widely publicised problems it was having. Even during the tough times, the skills of our staff were constantly being improved and developed. Ultimately this ethos became a major determining factor in the continued strength of the business. Again it is to Interserve’s credit that this investment has not gone to waste and that Enigma Industrial Services can now benefit from such a highly developed resource.”
“The same approach to staff development has remained under the new ownership. In a climate where there’s a well-recognised skills shortage within a wide range of industries, it is imperative that we not only work hard to ensure our employees reach their full potential, but that we are also seen as an employer of choice for existing and prospective employees. We want to be the first port of call for young talent coming into the sector.”
The quality of the infrastructure and workforce within IISL has become an instant asset for Enigma Industrial Services. Mr Hardie explains further about the acquisition process and how the switch in ownership was achieved so smoothly. “Glen Webley and I are very much aligned when it comes to business practice, so it proved to be a really good fit for the both of us.
“Given the length of time I’ve been looking after IISL and the qualities it brought to the table, we were quick to reach agreement on the direction we should take. We are now very much one business, one team, and are extremely keen to make real progress in the months and years ahead.”
While the potential of the new venture under the auspices of Enigma Industrial Services is clear, change can be unsettling for any workforce and with this in mind, measures were made to keep all employees fully updated about the acquisition process. “We have always believed in open communication with our employees and have strived to be as honest with them as we could. Unfortunately, in business there’s always a high degree of speculation and this has been particularly true for Interserve in the past couple of years.”
“The senior management team were aware that the business was being marketed but there was a strong feeling that the situation would certainly be no less stable under new ownership than it would be remaining under Interserve’s control. Given that I’ve been within the business for a number of years and was staying on meant that I was a continuing element of the process, which helped instil some comfort and reassurance within the workforce. It helped to demonstrate that things would carry on in the same way as previously.
“It was absolutely imperative that we were able to take the entire workforce on the journey with us. They are a massive part of what made the business so attractive to Enigma Industrial Services in the first place, particularly their experience and their skills. Having allayed any concerns the workforce might have had, I and the rest of the management team are now absolutely focused on taking the business forward.”
With the employees on-board, coupled with the determination of the management team to make the new venture a success, Enigma Industrial Services is now committed to capitalising on its inherent qualities and using its existing infrastructure to make the most of the opportunities currently available within the marketplace.
Enigma Industrial Services incorporates two divisions: Access Services and Hard Services. The business has implemented systems, standards and training that have led to over 120 RoSPA awards over the last several years, while it is also fully accredited to IS09001:2008, OHSAS 18001:2007, ISO 14001:2004 and PAS99, all of which are incorporated into the company’s Integrated Management System.
Led by Mr Hardie, Enigma Industrial Services has a management board of eleven that collectively has more than 250 years of experience in the sectors in which the business operates. The company itself has grown by servicing clients and providing access and industrial solutions across the whole of the UK. The separate divisions are led by three board level operations directors supported by an experienced, competent and strong support functions made up from Commercial, Finance, QSHE, IT and Human Resources.
Maintaining one of the largest stockholdings of scaffolding and access equipment in the UK, the in-house design engineers develop the most cost-efficient and safety-focused design solutions. Another of the company’s strengths is the ability to provide clients with the widest spectrum of self-delivered bespoke services and resources, from consultation, design and quotation through to delivery, assembly, maintenance and dismantling. With a breadth of expertise, together with reliability, professionalism and ability to envisage the right solution, the business offers a cost effective and responsive service. Focusing not only on working environments and PPE, the quality of materials, people and products throughout every process has helped lead to a strong safety culture within the business. Risk management and prevention, together with suitably qualified and experienced personnel working with the best tools and resources, ensures the company achieves the utmost level of quality and safety.
With experience accumulated from many years of working in industrial environments, Hard Services, meanwhile, has the capability to deliver a broad range of services. These can provide a wide range of services in diverse environments. It can deliver an individual service but the greatest strength lies in an ability to manage multi-disciplinary activities, often across several sites, driving better quality, continuity and economy of scale. The breadth of services allows the business to offer comprehensive support to clients.
The main type of system scaffolding that the business supplies is Kwikstage (originally designed by GKN Kwikform) and is the preferred scaffolding for the business’ customers in Scotland. Access and Hard Services also offers HAKI scaffolding, the popular modular system scaffolding that has fewer connection points, as well as being up to 30% lighter than tube and fitting and other systems. In addition to these systems, the business also owns and utilises a massive stock of traditional tube, fittings, boards and ancillary components – as a piece of context, if laid end-to-end the tube would stretch from the office in Newton le Willows, all the way to the North Pole.
“We’ve got a really good core business that has been firmly established for a number of years,” outlines Mr Hardie. “We know the marketplaces we operate in really well, having developed strong relationships with our client base in the process. Now the acquisition has been done and dusted, customers are gaining increasing confidence that it is ‘business as usual’ and are committed to trading with us.
“From a supplier perspective, our existing supply chain were all given the opportunity to come with us and I have to say the response has been superb. Their appetite to continue trading with us has been really heartening. We hope to continue building our relationships with existing suppliers but at the same time it is up to them to ensure they remain competitive and demonstrate that they want to trade with us. It certainly tells a story that our suppliers have been so keen to continue working with us.
“At the same time we’re also taking the opportunity to review our offering for existing customers. We no longer have to operate within the restrictions of the Interserve model, which meant we couldn’t offer competing side services because they risked cannibalising some of the group’s other activities. We’re now in a position to offer complementary services for our clients and subsequently we are open to expanding our offering where appropriate. This won’t be a knee-jerk development. Instead we’re adopting a longer term approach that will be developed over years rather than in the coming days or months. We want to take our time to make sure all the individual elements are correct and work well together, both for our benefit and for the benefit of our client base.”
This long-term strategy underlines the belief Enigma Industrial Services has in the latest addition to its stable, which will again help instil confidence within the ranks. In the short-to-medium term, however, the company looks equally focused on building further on the early momentum.
“We are currently concentrating on our existing markets in the industrial, housing and construction sectors” says Mr Hardie. “A key facet of this approach will involve adding value whenever we can for the client, which again is only achievable thanks to the experience and expertise we hold within the business. We’re always looking at ways to offer more and as part of this objective we are currently increasing our stock holding. Looking further ahead to the medium term, we are committed to expanding our sphere of influence by broadening our footprint into geographical areas where we’re currently not quite so well represented.
“Of course there will be challenges along the way, some we know about already, such as the skills shortage issue, and others that are yet to make themselves known. What’s important is that we’re now much better equipped to tackle challenges as they crop up.
“It’s still relatively early days but the team have done exceptionally well to manage the transition process so far and we hope to continue progressing in the same manner. Retaining all our key staff has been crucial to this and having achieved that goal we are now in a really strong position to look forward.”
With the foundations firmly in place, Enigma Industrial Services’ latest acquisition means it can look towards 2019 and beyond with the utmost confidence.