“A lot of businesses have gone by the wayside because they didn’t have good practices or because the structure was wrong. That’s where good leadership is essential.”
Andrew lists his essential leadership skills as “delegation, man-management and spotting opportunities and making things happen”.
“Once your business has more than 10 employees it becomes impossible to handle everything on your own,” he insists. “We have built up the business to £3m turnover a year from zero in 15 years. I am proud of that, but it has only come about through damned hard work.
“Now we have 350 account customers over the three sites, which generates a lot of work. We have 70 active suppliers. If you don’t keep on top of all that, the whole fabric of the business falls apart.”
While Andrew devotes many hours to the business – it operates six days a week and the depots open at 6.30am on weekdays – he has found time to revisit some favourite hobbies.
“Golf is gradually taking over,” he jokes. “I played as a kid but had to stop because of work and family. The children are 16 and 15 and more independent now so that has freed up more time. I joined Woodsome this year and I try to get on the golf course twice a week. A lot of my friends are golfers and we organise weekend trips and they are always fun.”
Andrew also coaches junior cricket at Clayton West Cricket Club. “I umpire as well as organising games,” he says. “Being on the cricket field is great for taking you away from the day-to-day cares.”
Andrew has been a keen skier for the past 25 years and the family have enjoyed ski-ing holidays to France and Switzerland. Andrew, wife Julie and children Jack and Isabel – not forgetting black labrador Monty – also enjoy family holidays in the UK, with Devon a firm favourite.
Nearer home, Andrew attends meetings of the Holme Valley Business Forum and the Yorkshire region of the Builders’ Merchant Federation, which provide opportunities for networking.
Procell and Holmebuild are also in the running for a national award – having been shortlisted in the Builders’ Merchant Website of the Year competition. The winner will be announced at the end of November at a ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel in London.
Updating the website is just the latest development for the business and underlines Andrew’s determination to take on “the big boys”.
Says Andrew: “It’s a matter of looking at what you have got and trying to improve it. If you try to stay still in the current climate you will go backwards. You cannot sit back and just hope to pull through.”