Arc Energy Resources announces promotion of Andrew Robinson as new Managing Director
PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:44 30 November 2015
Gloucestershire-based weld overlay cladding and fabrication specialist Arc Energy Resources has announced the promotion of Andrew Robinson, son of the company’s founders, Rosemary and Alan Robinson, as the new Managing Director
Andrew, who graduated with a degree in Economics and Spanish from Nottingham University, joined the business in 2008 and was appointed to the Board in 2013. His parents, Alan formerly managing director and Rosemary finance director, are still involved as directors in the running of the Eastington-based engineering company, who’s highly trained welding teams, provide fabrication and weld overlay cladding services to the oil & gas, defence and water treatment industries.
Following his university studies Andrew had plans to work at the treasury in London. But nearing the end of his course he became ‘underwhelmed’ with the idea of crunching numbers for the rest of his life and wanted to do something more exiting and practical. So in 2008, Andrew started working for the company, and found that he really enjoyed it. In discussion with Alan, an opportunity was identified to benefit from Andrew’s economics background to develop a purchasing department, an area in which Arc Energy was deficient. Says Andrew: “Many technical products were dictated by commodity markets and we were buying them at spot prices, which I felt could be improved.” The introduction turned out to be an outstanding success, with cost reductions of up to 25% on key spends such as welding consumables and industrial gas, and a halving of stock days within the first two years.
He went on to develop Arc Energy’s environmental management system and won accreditation to the international standard ISO 14001 in 2010. He then set his sights on the company’s shop floor scheduling system. “It was time well spent”, he admits, “as it enabled me to experience all aspects of the business.”
Commenting on aspects of projects that he has been involved with, he quotes a growing interest in full supply projects, where Arc Energy is involved in buying materials and ancillary components; and which exercises his purchasing background. “Most Arc Energy projects have involved clients supplying free issue materials, but recent trends indicate an increasing requirement to source and supply material”, says Andrew. “Our clients are seeking to maximise production and offload risk. Many customers are keen for us to get involved in full turnkey supply packages, and these projects fit nicely within our strategic plan to grow this aspect of the business.”
Says Andrew, “From conception, the business has always punched above its weight in the provision of technical support. Indeed, many clients rely on the technical skills we supply as part of our service.
Our clients may not be experts in welding, so whilst their products look fine in CAD, when we take it apart to weld it we realise that production is not possible or would work better if it was designed differently. We don’t push our design capabilities but we actually carry out a great deal of ‘design for manufacture’ on behalf of our clients.”
Significantly, ‘design for manufacture’ was also an important element of the recent Fit For Nuclear audit which Arc Energy successfully undertook. The company was one of the first businesses in the south west to achieve the prestigious award. The directors identified nuclear new build as a significant area of growth in the UK and are keen to be able to offer its cladding and fabrication services from an early stage. Says Andrew: “We are currently heavily reliant on oil and gas. It is a measure of the reputation we have achieved that we are extremely busy whilst many others are quiet, at a time of falling oil prices. However, we recognise that we need to pursue a strategy of diversification nonetheless. New nuclear is an important part of that plan, as well as growing our other market sectors, such as green energy, defence and petrochemical.”
Since his appointment to the Board of Directors in 2013, Andrew has also been busy working with Cranfield University to develop Arc Energy’s five-year business plan. “This period was particularly exciting, mixing with other leaders from a wide and varied range of business sectors and talking about how we could drive our business forward. The thrust of the plan is growth” explains Andrew. “We are targeting 15% year-on-year growth, expanding both our cladding and fabrication facilities, whilst also seeking inroads into new markets. We are largely on track to meet that target in 2015.” As part of this plan, the company is building an additional 500m2 of workshop space on its site in Eastington to house additional cladding stations, and is taking on extra welders to support this.
Andrew is determined that he will continue the business philosophy of support and encouragement for all employees. He says: “The business achieved Investors in People accreditation in 2004, and that infrastructure has improved year-on-year. We won Bronze award last time and at the next review will target the Silver standard. I recognise that our employees are the key to our success and will always be proud to get the best out of everyone.” The business has a comprehensive training system which includes yearly apprentice intake and extends to regular careers support for youngsters who wish to find out more about engineering.
Says Andrew: “I now think that the future of business is less about hurdles and more about opportunities. I see the future as a really exciting place, and a lot of the opportunities that were included in our plan for 2015 are really taking off. Construction on the new building started in October, we are currently trialling our latest investment in new machinery, and our latest batch of apprentices have just started college.”
Andrew was the proud recipient in 2014 of the Institute of Directors South West Developing Director of the Year, and the company’s hard work was rewarded in 2015 with several prestigious awards: Stroud Life Family Business of the Year and overall Business of the Year; Cotswold Life EMI Awards Employee of the Year (for project manager Charlie Fryer) and runner-up in the Cotswold Life EMI awards Manufacturer of the Year category.