We would like to introduce our product specialists, what their job role involves and how you can get in touch with them for advice on any future projects.
First up, meet our North East Civils Product Specialist - Colin Hailstone
How long have you worked with James Burrell and how did your career with the company start?
I've now been with James Burrell for 14 years, to say these years have flown by would be an understatement, but I suppose time flies when you're having fun!
Previous to James Burrell, I worked for a company that specialised in the supply of civils and utilities products, supplying in the main to the Northumbrian Water Framework, its contractors and sub-contractors.
A lot of the products were specialist and technical, and a whole load different to what a 'general' builder's merchant would be used to getting involved with day to day - this is where my knowledge grew from and why James Burrell were interested in my services.
When I first started with the company, we were working towards getting established and recognised as a specialist civils merchant. Working together with other staff members, we put a lot of time, effort and knowledge into this and it was a major success for the company.
Signing on that dotted line for James Burrell and taking the opportunities available is the best decision I've ever made.
What does your day typically involve?
No two days are the same that's for sure! I manage several large spending Key Account Customers. The majority of these are civils based so I can concentrate my efforts in my expertise. This gives the customer peace of mind that they're dealing with the right person who will know their requirements when they're looking for quotes and also putting orders in to us. They can benefit from me being able to offer the right thing of course, but I'm also pro-active in looking for value engineered solutions, offering savings to them as well- which is always of interest! Over the years I've built up great relationships with these customers which I value hugely.
Products I'm involved with are mainly anything underground and civils related, from any general civils items, i.e. pipes, fittings, reinforcement, castings, attenuation, flow control and then to some of the weird and wonderfuls such as; valves, penstocks and Viking Johnson flange adaptors! As we speak we have 2 x 600mm dia Viking Flange adaptors on the shelf awaiting call off from the customer for delivery. I'd be surprised if you've seen anything like this in any merchant yard, this is very much a specialist utilities product away from the norm!
I will also offer my help to colleagues when they need assistance on pricing products. This gives comfort to our sales staff, as they know there is help available if and when they need it.
I also keep a close relationship with our key suppliers and manufacturers. The relationship with our supply chain is a very important aspect of the business. Keeping close to them enables me to keep up-to-speed with any product innovation which I can then relay back to our sales teams and customer base in an effort to keep ahead of the game.
Another aspect of the job is getting involved with civils stock profiles, deals and negotiations, this is to ensure we're doing everything the correct way at purchase level which ultimately means we have the right offer for our customers.
What do you enjoy best about the job?
I come to work happy, this has got to be the most enjoyable part of the job, but several factors contribute to this. One of these factors is the variety of tasks that I get involved in and the technical aspect of the civils product range that keeps my brain ticking... every day is a learning day! The strong relationships that we all build with our customers and suppliers is also a big part of the job.
But most importantly it is the ethos of the company and the people in it. That feeling your hard work is noticed and appreciated! It really does feel like one big happy family and we all work together as one. One of the key things in any business is the people you work with, your colleagues, your team! It's these people that keep the important positive vibe ticking throughout the day and that is invaluable.