September 27, 2021

Stanmore Quality Surfacing Ltd – 20 years of operation and still going strong

This year marks Stanmore Quality Surfacing Ltd’s 20th anniversary but rather than resting on its laurels and basking in the achievement, the company is instead continuing to develop innovations such as its Training App and Ontrack, its bespoke online job management system, whilst at the same time delivering high quality reinstatement projects for its growing partner base.

“In the past 12 months we’ve further expanded our south-east operation thanks in part to our success in winning a section of reinstatement for Southern Gas Networks,” explains Daniel O’Mara, Director. “Our online training app is constantly growing – we now have a material identification module – and we are continually investing in Ontrack with the development of version three currently underway. We’ve built our own defect and interim management modules and developed Ontrack Mobile, which allows our operatives to navigate more easily onsite.IMG_3081 (1)

“We have also heavily invested in our depots and our training department so are now qualified to teach NRSWA Street Works operative and supervisor courses. We have invested in our in-house street works team, who are a support function to our contracts and also act as a safety net analysing every job before it’s closed down.

“Quality is in our name so we need to ensure our focus is always on delivering a complete reinstatement solution of a very high quality, safely, first time, on time, every time. Our in-house defect prevention team work with our contracts to drive good practices and reduce poor workmanship. All this is fully supported by our online training app.”

Daniel O’Mara, Director

“There is also a major focus at the moment on operatives training. You can have the best systems and processes but the teams actually completing the reinstatement need to be adequately trained and, more importantly, well supported.

“In addition, we have reinstatement manager coaching and regular street works operative sessions. This is where myself or a member of my team will visit each of our depots on a regular basis to carry out training on various topics from reinstatement methodology through to permit conditions.”

With such a proactive approach to the development of its staff through the various training initiatives it has introduced, it is little wonder that SQS has been able to chalk up 20 years of growth as a business.

“We constantly develop our people to be the best and proactively addressing their training requirements is integral to this,” adds Mr O’Mara. “It is very much a journey rather than a destination so we are always moving forward, always looking for new innovations and always looking for improvements. Our focus is on quality so we can never stand still. It’s very exciting times at the moment with the likes of version three of Ontrack in development, coupled with the steady and controlled growth the company is seeing. We just need to keep pushing forward and make sure that we continue to deliver a first-time reinstatement that is the highest of quality.”

At a time when there’s a major skills shortage within the marketplace, a situation that means that recruitment can often be an issue, SQS’s emphasis on developing its own people certainly makes a great deal of sense. “We have a strong focus on encouraging young apprentices in our local community,” outlines Mr O’Mara. “Our apprenticeship scheme is now City & Guilds accredited in highway maintenance so we can take people from the local area and mould them in line with The SQS Way via our training programmes.”_DSC0960

As well as its strong focus on training, what makes SQS innovations such as Ontrack and its training app all the more impressive is that they’re developed in-house by a dedicated team of system architects. This ensures that the initiatives are developed with the company’s precise needs and requirements in mind at all times. “Because they are developed in-house we fully understand exactly what the systems need to do. The danger with getting any third party developer involved is that they don’t have the in-depth knowledge of what the system should achieve. In contrast, as we’re able to build the technology ourselves, there is never any chance of anything being lost in translation.

“We have invested heavily in Ontrack and it is ever-evolving as a result. It’s an end-to-end multi-media representation of the job life-cycle recording high definition images of everything from excavation to reinstatement methodology. Many of our partners use Ontrack due to its benefits, which not only allows them to monitor jobs but also provide a defence to the huge risk of street work charges that the industry is facing at the moment. It also has the capability to talk to other works management systems and EToN (Electronic Transfer of Notifications), which is essentially a system that talks to the local authorities. Ontrack has the capability to be able to deliver everything from planning jobs right through to defect management.

“The ongoing development of Ontrack is very much a two-pronged process, with new innovation from ourselves combining with continual feedback from our partners. Between both we are constantly honing the system to come up with an ever-improving solution that gives us a clear point of difference within the marketplace. We never get complacent, however, as we’re always striving to offer even higher levels of integration with our partner systems and make everything as slick and as simple to use as possible. It also cements our One Team approach, internally and with our partners.

“A significant number of our partners use Ontrack and they want to have confidence in the way the system operates because of how transparent it is and because of its many benefits: the defence it supplies against street work charges and the way it allows us to communicate and exchange jobs so quickly.

“Quality is in our name so we need to ensure our focus is always on delivering a complete reinstatement solution of a very high quality, safely, first time, on time, every time. Our in-house defect prevention team work with our contracts to drive good practices and reduce poor workmanship. All this is fully supported by our online training app.”

In-between the ongoing quest for further innovation, SQS will hopefully find time to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2016 but looking to the rest of the year, more improvement looks a certainty.

“For the next 12 months we will remain focused on quality so that both current and future partners will continue to have a positive view of us as a business,” concludes Mr O’Mara. “With regards to the anniversary celebrations, we have set up a number of road shows in April where the owners and various managers of the company will visit each of our depots and speak to all of the operatives, giving an overview of what’s happened over the last 20 years and what our plans are for the future. It’s vital that we recognise the contribution every member of staff has made to SQS’s development since its creation. As part of this we have an awards scheme called the Stan Awards where everyone within the business will have the chance to be commended for their efforts. We will also include a safety and customer behavior based training program.

“We currently have a turnover of circa £50m supported by 500-plus staff across ten depots and satellite sites. These facilities allow us to cover utility reinstatement for water, electric and gas, plus local and highways authority works, which equates to around 100,000 reinstatements per year. This includes faults, repairs and maintenance, planned works, connections, consequential work and resurfacing. We’ve also now commenced delivering excavation works. As we grow we will also continue to invest in our infrastructure and facilities to ensure that we’re able to maintain the same high level of service that we have become known for.”

With such a committed and robust approach in place it is easy to see how SQS has been able to reach the 20-year landmark. The continual investment in its systems and its people will ensure that it has plenty more anniversaries to look forward to in the years ahead.