Business focus: Allcooper
PUBLISHED: 14:24 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 09 May 2017
Most companies are familiar with the 360-degree appraisal system, where employees from the office junior to the CEO are critically-analysed by colleagues. In a new series of features, we've applied the same principles to a company - this month, it's Allcooper
Allcooper, which specialises in security and fire systems, is about to celebrate its 30-year birthday with a move to a new head office opposite Gloucester Rugby’s Kingsholm ground.
Owned by brothers Gerard and Roman Cooper, it’s a rapidly-expanding family business with offices in Gloucester, London and Birmingham.
The business - a long-time sponsor of Gloucester Rugby - handles the security and fire safety of businesses of all sizes, as well as private clients and home customers.
Now, it also boasts two London-based divisions, which includes a consulting division offering customers ongoing strategic security advice.
Allcooper’s homeland is Gloucestershire and the firm - a one-time Coutts Family Business of the Year - is justifiably proud of the customers it looks after in the region and beyond.
With a team of 130 and dozens of engineers on the road, Allcooper is there when its customers call, and from the top down, it takes its responsibility to customers very seriously.
So what makes the staff tick?
Name: Roman Cooper
Years at the company: 30
“I like to think I lead by example. I work hard and never hide or walk away from a problem or issue. I’m available, open and honest - I’d like to think people know where they stand with me, and that breeds trust.
“I’m even-tempered and don’t like getting cross, though I get a massive kick out of seeing a great job, a quality installation and a happy customer. “I’ve done this for 30 years and I’m weirdly passionate about protecting people and their property.
“I also love seeing people develop and flourish and our business allows people to start at 16 as an apprentice, and then move up through the business.
“What keeps us at the top of our game is that we’re an engineering-led company: we know what products work and have high level contacts in all the organisations in our supply chain.
“We have a very strong management team, supported by a £500k investment in IT systems, which are all geared to providing our customers with the very best service.
“Our commitment to our people and their development is vital to the growth of our business as well as taking the greatest care of every single one of our customers.
“We’ve had many successes at Allcooper, but the ones I’m most proud of are people related.
“Laura Main winning Gloucestershire’s Employee of the Year at the Gloucestershire Business Awards was fantastic because it illustrates our ethos as a business.
“She started with us as an apprentice and now runs our finance team at the age of 26.
“Also Tony, one of our engineers has been with us for 20 over years and our customers love him.
“We have customers who are still with us from our first year, way back in 1987, which shows we continue to do what we set out to do.
“We have excellent recruitment partners who know the kind of person we like - hard-working, caring, customer-centric with a positive disposition - and they point people in our direction.
“It doesn’t always work out, but by and large we get it right. I’m very proud of our teams across all aspects of the business.”
“Running a business like this, there will always be challenges, but I also recognise I’m a bit too hands on.
“I’ve got very involved in the redevelopment of our new Kingsholm site, which I’m enjoying immensely. It’s been brilliant experience, and even after 30 years, I’ve learned a lot.
“Plus it’s been an opportunity for my management team to take more control and show me what they can do without me.
“We’ve been in Hucclecote for many years. The site needed to be re-developed and we needed to find new premises.
“Fortunately the old Saab dealership in Kingsholm was available. It is a lovely building, but hadn’t had any investment for a very long time and we’re spending a lot of money bringing a semi-derelict site back to life.
“We’re Gloucester people, and enjoy investing in our city and hope to continue for many years to come.
“I’m so excited about our move to a new HQ opposite the hallowed turf of Kingsholm - this is our launch pad for another 30 years of success, growth, investment and excitement.
“Our business continues to evolve – we have proper, staffed offices in Gloucester, London and Birmingham. We truly believe we are excellent at what we do, and people always want a good job.
“It’s in our DNA – do a good job, and someone will tell someone else about you. All our work is repeat business or through word-of-mouth and recommendation.
“We’ll continue to invest in our people and our technology - and the move to our new HQ signifies that we mean business.
“The thing is, there’s no substitute for hard work to get a business off the ground. Then it is critical to build a strong team you can trust to grow it.
“My advice to anyone would be to get a great set of professional advisors and of course, keep an eye on the cash. It’s an old adage, but cash really is king.”
The team leader
Name: Jamie Rokny
Position: Engineer - install department team leader
Years at the company: 3
“As install team leader I’m responsible for looking after the team, helping with any technical issues, answering any questions the team may have regarding specific jobs and filling out all necessary paperwork.
“I’m also responsible for carrying out my own install work for some of our business customers.
“I was attracted to Allcooper because of their reputation in the industry. It’s working for such a professional outfit that keeps me here - plus the fact I enjoy my job and have made some good friends.
“The standards we work to are of the highest level, and I love how everyone takes pride in their work.
“I’ve been promoted twice in the time I’ve been at Allcooper, from install engineer to project engineer to install team leader and I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the UK and abroad.”
“We really have a great team that has such a wide range of skill sets there is nothing we can’t do.
“My motivation is that I enjoy my job and love the people I work with. The relationship between staff and management is great, and the senior management and board are all very approachable and willing to help.
“But don’t get me wrong; there are challenges.
“In the install department we have to do a lot of paperwork because of the standards of accreditation we maintain, but I don’t think there’s a way around this except through continual development of new technology to help us, which is what Allcooper does all the time.
“In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve been promoted twice so I’m sure I’m in the right place to progress a successful career in security.”
The account manager
Name: Patrick Hickman
Position: Account manager
Years at the company: 6
“I look after various corporate customers for the business, which involves providing ongoing reporting, organising monthly customer account meetings and dealing with any issues that arise with their security.
“My job is to be there for them and ensure we’re never more than a phone call away if they need us.
“The reason I came to Allcooper was because it’s a local family business and really well respected in Gloucestershire.
“The company uses the latest technology and I wanted to learn as much as I could about IT and technology.
“Being recognised for the work I do, internally and from customers, keeps me here.
“Every day throws up different challenges that I thrive on, the atmosphere in the team is absolutely immense and the management team are always there to support us and help us get the job done.”
Training and development
“I first joined Allcooper to work in the IT department.
“When the new business system was implemented six years ago, a role opened up for me to take away the day-to-day operational issues from the IT manager.
“I learnt a lot in this role and was given the chance to go on a college course.
“That knowledge opened up a door for me into the security world, because of the prominence of IP in the sector.
“I went on loads of training courses to learn about the products we sell, which has allowed my knowledge to grow too.
“I’ve also completed the Prince2 project management course which has set me up to become an account manager for some of our really exciting corporate customers.
“The world of technology moves at great speed.
“This has presented me with a great opportunity to keep pace with new innovations, and that means I can offer our customers the most up to date solutions.
“I’d love to continue working my way up through the business.
“I’d also like to continue working with complex customer needs, because this helps me grow my technical knowledge and skills.”