WITH the construction sector seen as a key driver of growth we hear from a Scottish firm that provides an example of how SMEs can help to promote innovation in the supply chain.

Name:

Jeanette MacIntyre.

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Age:

Over 21.

What is your business called?

Indeglas – it’s a Danish words that means ‘inside glass’. We are the exclusive distributor of DEKO of Denmark’s engineered glass screen systems in the UK and Ireland. Up until June this year we were known as DEKO Scotland.

Where is it based?

Cumbernauld; we also have an office in Manchester.

What services does it offer?

Advanced industry expertise in the application of internal glass, providing solutions to transfer and optimise light, the very heart of all buildings, whilst providing high levels of fire, acoustic and safety properties.

We have an exclusive distribution and installation agreement for the UK and Ireland covering DEKO’s range of engineered glass screen systems.

To whom does it sell?

Our clients include construction companies, property developers and facilities management providers. We work directly for healthcare organisations, universities, colleges and schools and sell business-to-business within the commercial and industrial sector.

What is its turnover?

£3 million.

How many employees?

Twelve directly employed and 20 to 30 subcontract installation teams.

When was it formed?

In 2000 as DEKO Scotland.We are a Scottish company, but decided initially to use the well known brand name DEKO to establish the product and service provision throughout Scotland.

Why did you take the plunge?

I completed a management buyout over two years between 2011 and 2012 to enable the former major shareholder in the business an exit strategy towards retirement. I felt strongly that there was potential for the team working in the business at that time to develop and grow the company in many ways and was keen to avoid it being sold.

At that time, the economy was in recession and construction was affected badly with the commercial sector, on which the company had formerly relied, greatly diminished in activity. We made a concentrated effort to focus on glass within the educational sector and I engaged with architects and designers to create interactive learning spaces within new-build schools, colleges and university campuses by assisting with the specification process.

The recent experience of re-branding the company and designing a new website has been an exhilarating challenge.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Apart from a short spell with a large contracting company during the early 1990s I have always generated my own living. I started my first business a year after I graduated in interior design in the 1980s. This was an interior design consultancy in Edinburgh I was part of the team which established Zenith Contract Interiors in 1992 and saw it grow to £8m sales. In 2000, I helped launch Deko Scotland as a director responsible for marketing and design.

How did you raise the start up funding?

By carefully reinvesting the profits earned in the past five years back into the business I have managed to completely fund the re-branding project including the design of the new brand, its trademark protection, the launch of the new website and the creation of a new store and workshop.

What was your biggest break?

Two years ago, I secured a place on the Building for Growth course run by hub South West where I compiled a five year strategic plan to ensure our company was better placed to bid for an increased level of business and generate sustainable growth. The business planning exercise forced us to look at the company from the outside in and consider our client engagement approach. This process, which won us first prize on the hub South West course, informed my decision to engage specialists, re-brand and launch Indeglas, in June this year. We also engaged with our local Business Gateway and benefitted from the help of a business strategist with whom we analysed our business from our clients’ perspective, looking at the engagement process through their eyes. This informed the design of our new website.

What do you enjoy most about running the business?

This is a great time to be involved with the design and application of glass. Computer enhanced production technology and engineered processes are continually bringing to market exciting, new, high performance glass types which present development opportunities. Having worked with glass since I graduated, I am still learning about its application and how it can enhance attitudes and performance.

What was your worst moment?

The complications involved in contracts, coupled with the demands of tight construction programmes and challenging site conditions result in a life fraught with complexity and risk. However, most days I feel blessed to be doing a job I love surrounded by committed, talented and enthusiastic people.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish Governments do that would help?

SMEs within the construction sector can face challenges resulting from comparatively poor payment terms and late or withheld interim payments. Both governments could set and monitor higher industry standards..

What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

To seek expert advice where required and listen carefully, especially to the things you least wanted to hear.

How do you relax?

Sitting in our cottage in Balquidder. On a clear night you can see every star in the sky.