As you can imagine, we are in the middle of an extremely busy period in the run-up to Christmas. We have 5 individual wind projects (full balance of plant) to be delivered in the next 7 weeks starting on a 225kW project in Durham next week. A few projects which we were hoping to complete this year have slipped back into Q1 next year which in the whole scheme of things is a blessing in disguise. It is quite a nice feeling knowing the lads will be busy for the next 4 (possibly 5) consecutive months meaning I can relax (but only a bit!).
Whilst that all looks rosy, there is a major caveat which the industry as a whole is facing. We are all extremely concerned with the Government’s recent negative rhetoric regarding the future of onshore wind. I posted an interesting article on our Facebook page yesterday which explored some of the reasons why the Tories’ in particular are hell bent on destroying what is one of the few economic success stories they should be championing. It is a complete disgrace and boils my blood that the Government is playing party politics with people’s livelihoods – we have invested a lot of money (as well as blood, sweat and tears) building WindCare up from a 3 man-and-a-van operation to where we are today – employing many highly skilled and experienced engineers. To think this could all come crashing down due to some blokes in their ivory towers wanting to win some more votes (in a constituency they have no connection to other than a ceremonial house – don’t get me started on this!) is simply not right. That is bad but the fact that at the very same time the “greenest Government ever” is legislating to force fracking down our throats is just completely bonkers and I can’t get my head around it at all.
However, without sounding cliché, we are not allowing this to happen and refuse to give up without a fight. With that in mind, we are about to launch a new range of service packages aimed outside of the onshore wind sector where there is a lot more political (and financial) support. We will of course continue to operate in our existing niche market and once the elections are done, this negativity towards onshore wind may well blow over. Our position is simple. We cannot continue investing in the business in the current political climate with the real chance the Government could pull the rug from under our feet (removal of all onshore wind subsidies) which would clearly have a catastrophic impact on our business. This is not a purely defence move as we see huge opportunities in this new arena and it strongly complements what we are already doing. More news on this to follow.
On a bit of a lighter note. We had a funny encounter a couple of days ago when booking a welfare facility for a job in the back-end of nowhere. This site really is seriously remote and we were worried nobody would be interested (or able) to supply a facility for us to use for only a week. We called up a nice young chap and explained our dilemma before asking him if he was able to serve this remote location. His response was classic “mate, we are like the prostitutes of the welfare world and will do anything and go anywhere”. Now that is service for you.
It got me thinking. Whilst we would never use his exact terminology to explain our business model, there is a definite similarity between how we both operate. Let’s be clear, we are far from desperate for work and have a full order book between now and the end of February 2015. However, we do pride ourselves on catering for a wide range of clients and doing a lot of work other companies wouldn’t touch (normally because the scope of works is too small but also due to the location of the works). I am a firm believer on small works leading onto bigger things and this has happened to us on numerous occasions. One of our largest customers came to us last year in an emergency due to their G59 witness engineer letting them down. We sorted them out at very short notice and now they use us for the majority of their civil, mechanical and electrical works. You can spend many thousands of pounds on glossy marketing material and trade exhibitions (and there is a place for this) but in my opinion the best way to win future work (and more importantly develop long-term relationships) is to be available for people in their time of need. Offer an excellent service at a fair price and why wouldn’t people continue to work with you into the future?
Let me know if you are attending RenewableUK in Manchester. I will be there on the 12th and 13th November and it would be great to meet and have a chat/coffee. My mobile number is 07825 994004.
Enjoy the weekend.