When the UK moved into its first COVID lockdown, the stay at home order saw the doors to ADS Electrical’s most profitable contracts slam shut. However, as an agile business with a switched-on leadership team – and with regular, strategic support from RfM – ADS was able to quickly adapt and generate revenue from new markets. We spoke to ADS HR Manager, Julie McCormick, about how the company has evolved and achieved exceptional growth over the last 15 months.
As the shadow of COVID slowly recedes, the team at ADS Electrical are feeling positive. The business is not what it was at the start of 2020 – but, in this case, that’s by no means a bad thing.
“Before COVID, our most successful and profitable area of the business was our contract work; carrying out heating, electrical and plumbing repairs and maintenance for commercial properties,” explains ADS Electrical HR Manager, Julie McCormick.
“These included a large number of care homes and offices. Following the stay at home order, most offices closed and care homes went into strict lockdown. This meant that the work we would normally do under contract couldn’t be carried out and we had to shift to providing emergency work only. The loss of income was, of course, completely unexpected and we needed to take prompt action to mitigate the threat to the business.”
Plans already in the pipeline
Prior to the lockdown, the senior leadership team were already looking at other opportunities to enter new markets and increase revenues. So, in effect, COVID acted as the catalyst to accelerate the development and rollout of plans already in the pipeline.
“We were already developing a service package for the domestic market so we stepped up our plans and were able to launch our Homecover 365 service before the summer. Homecover 365 allowed us to tap into a completely new audience of homeowners looking for an alternative to the market leaders, such as Corgi. The timing was just right, as it happened, as more people were working at home and more conscious of things like boiler and heating cover.”
Alongside the development of new products such as Homecover 365, ADS was also making plans to expand by acquiring other businesses that would complement and strengthen the core business. These plans were pushed forward in 2020 and the new ADS group now comprises three main businesses: ADS Electrical, ADS Environmental (asbestos removal) and specialist sign manufacturer, Taylor & Pickles.
RfM Client Manager Lee Tomlinson has worked closely with the team at ADS to provide high-level strategic advice and support during this period of change, growth and consolidation. Although Lee already knew the business well, technology and data have been the key to providing the right guidance at the right time.
“RfM recommended that we start using a Xero add-on called WorkflowMax, which is a cloud-based project management tool,” Julie tells us. The software allows us to do everything in one place – from quoting to logging time and invoicing. It also makes it easier to plan and budget, and we have better transparency with our employees.
“We would not have been able to achieve what we have in the last year if we hadn’t been using Xero. Lee has access to much better reporting tools and the business runs much more smoothly too.”
An up-to-date picture of the business
“We prepare monthly management accounts from Xero which reveal a clear and up-to-date picture of the business at a given point in time,” Lee explains. “This allows us to identify and act on issues much more promptly and has been invaluable across all areas of the business.
“On a practical level, I have supported ADS to define the group structure, set up the separate companies and set the strategic direction for each business.
“Despite the huge operational challenges thrown up by the lockdown, ADS has been able to respond in such a way that the business is now in an even stronger position than before – which is quite remarkable!”
Exclusive offer for RfM clients – Peace of mind with Homecover 365
If you are thinking of having a boiler installed, either at home or in a commercial property, ADS electrical has an exclusive offer for RfM clients.
Arrange your new boiler installation with ADS and receive Homecover 365 free for 12 months*. Contact Julie McCormick for more details and to arrange a quotation. Don’t forget to mention where you saw this exclusive offer.
*Offer available for private sector landlords, commercial property, and domestic homeowners. Terms and conditions apply.