Brit European is runner up of Sage’s ‘Bossing Business: Adaptability’ award
8th July 2021
Datel customer, Brit European, is the runner up of Sage’s Bossing Business: Adaptability award at this year’s Sage Sessions event, an event that celebrated the unsung heroes who go above and beyond. We’re so proud that this particular award recognises Brit European’s strong communication and skilled innovation, which has been the driving force behind the business’s success in times when other businesses have frozen in panic. Under Graham Lackey’s leadership – Brit European is a very worthy runner up of the Bossing Business award.
As Sage have the privilege of working closely with accountants, bookkeepers, partners and businesses, they’ve seen first-hand the hard work and dedication that has gone into supporting customers over the past 18 months. The Sage Impact Awards, in partnership with Sage Champions community, recognise the hard work and dedication of those who helped businesses survive and thrive, and will become an annual event after launching this year at their 2021 Sage Sessions event.
The Bossing Business – Adaptability award was one of eight categories at this year’s event, and recognises ‘businesses who have changed their business model during the pandemic and are seeing positive results due to that adaption’.
Founded 96 years ago, Brit European is a great example of a business with innovation at its core. And it’s this creative, flexible mindset that meant the business not only survived the difficulties Brexit and the pandemic sprung upon them… it actually managed to thrive.
The specialist logistics provider operates across a diverse range of markets and has been the instigator of many revolutionary logistics solutions. From its first milk tanker, the company now specialises in the transport of commercial vehicles and plant, as well as a tanker division, brokerage, and driver recruitment agency.
Brexit on the horizon was something they could attempt to plan for, however the events of 2020 were a huge test for the company, not least because of the nature of their work. Our marketing team at Datel recently had a conversation with Graham Lackey, Managing Director of Brit European, which turned out to be a fascinating dive into business resilience and meeting adversity head-on. Graham explained that at the start of the year he was optimistic, adding “we were expecting a bumper year, but by the end of March we had lost 95% of our business overnight”. It was tough, especially since their strong balance sheet, ready in preparation for Brexit, was needed to get them through the early pandemic months.
Always ready to adapt, they quickly made changes to ensure the safety of their employees, while also making big business decisions. As Graham explains,
“I don't think I've made so many major decisions in such a short space of time. I mean, literally, within two weeks, we managed to collapse our cost base down to absolute minimum levels. I can't believe we actually achieved it in that time scale.”
Home working wasn't a problem however, since Graham had recently worked with Datel to upgrade their systems. Upgrading to Sage 200cloud meant the team were now able to access information remotely and securely.
Thanks to this investment in their technology and the diversity of their business, they were soon able to turn the situation around. Customer demand for their home delivery vans increased, as well as their Weightlifter Division vehicles used for modular buildings like new hospital wings - and the business put all their efforts into making sure they could deliver to the change in buying habits. By June 2020, the company was profitable again and sales have steadily climbed back to levels seen pre Covid.
With Brexit and hopefully the pandemic behind them, Graham is looking to the future and how Brit European can continue to innovate. Their core work continues with new and existing clients, and they are soon to release an exciting vehicle concept designed in response to recent events. Having seen first-hand the benefits of improved technology, Graham is now prioritising the speed in which management information can be accessed and used to make better and even faster management decisions.
Graham’s certainly grown a taste for making quick changes but he knows to ensure successful buy-in and adoption across the business, that regular communication is absolutely compulsory. With all its upheaval, the pandemic has brought many positive practices that Graham is keen to keep, including transparency with their employees.
“I've communicated every few weeks with the whole workforce. From drivers to remote based staff, directly, by letter, by email, sometimes by social media. It's a bit of extra time for me, but I think it has made a big difference in helping us achieve what we have.”
Congratulations to Brit European, an inspirational business that we could all learn valuable lessons from.
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