Moving, Improving and Everything 2016 so far…Chris
Firstly I’d like to say a big hello and welcome to our blog followers, customers, suppliers and everyone else. I realise our blogs are usually quite informative, on topic and to the point, but I’m breaking the mould with this one and coming to you from a personal level. I’ve been asked to write a few words for the various media outlets covering our move, and all have have agreed that I can put everything into a blog post, so quotes can then be taken from here…
On the topic of posts, we’ve steadily increased our blog readers to around 160 people per day at the moment, and naturally our overall website visitors have increased too… thanks.
I’m writing to you from my new desk located at our brand new premises, that, in case you haven’t heard, we moved into on the 22nd of August. It’s absolutely fantastic here! Why is it so fantastic? For over 40 years, Rossells as a company has had to evolve around the restrictions of our building, and now it’s like we’ve had the doors opened to a whole new way of thinking. I’ll elaborate as much as I can below…
Sadly, I miss our London Road community… The Beauty Refinery from upstairs at 101, London Bites a few doors down gave us plenty of selection for lunch times, Demontfort Dry Cleaners were the kindest neighbours next door and Sempervox (business communications technology), based at the back of our car park are a great bunch of VERY clever people. Personally, I do miss everyone down at Costa, who always made me smile, come rain or shine. I still pop in whenever I can, and always receive a warm return.
London Road however was a logistical nightmare. Finding our car park was very hit and miss for customers, then once they found it, there was a chance that the arrogant solicitor next door had told his clients to park in our spaces. All deliveries, large or small had to come through the shop front, and it’s really not that easy to roll a 1.5 tonne safe up a few curbs and over a busy road. Inside the premises, we made the most efficient use of every available area to incorporate our desks, stock racking and workspaces, but it was a constant struggle to remain organised in such a small space. The building itself was a beautiful old structure, but energy efficiency was pitiful, and our ever increasing computer systems were restricted by nonexistent cable routes. More frustratingly, regardless of our city centre location, the only internet services that were available to us were two 6mbps phone lines with the reliability of South West Trains.
All this is behind us… we have plentiful stock storage space housing more racking that we’ll ever need, a 100mbps fibre internet leased line, office space for 12 or more people, and a lovely new trade counter… all of this in a new, highly energy efficient building utilising the latest in eco technologies.
I’ve received lots of great feedback about our new light up signage, highly visible when travelling in either direction on Abbey Lane. This was designed and crafted by our great friends over at Digital Deadline.
The workshop team now have three separate areas to conduct their magic, this consists of a clean room for administration and master keying operations, the main workshop that houses all of our key machines in one place, and a separate metal fabrication work area.
Our trade counter has a wide selection of safes, along with many demonstration units for Locking Systems, CCTV and Access Control. We had the space to make our trade counter much bigger, however we are making much more efficient use of the space for storage.
All of the team agree, that having a loading bay door has given us so much flexibility and really saves us a lot of time. We can quickly roll in palletised deliveries or stock and safes, directly into the stock areas for unpacking. The packaging spaces are also in our warehouse area for ease of dispatching the daily run of parcels.
The biggest task of October will be introducing our servers currently held at our offsite data centre into our new dedicated server racks. With our new high availability fibre connection, and full power backup system (UPS), we are able to host all of our servers within our premises. Our website, online store, customer cloud servers and everything else (this blog) will be hosted in-house… they will be very speedy (for those interested, we’ve kitted the whole building out with Cat 6A cabling, and our new 10G switches are lightening fast.).
The car parking is easy to access, plentiful, well lit in the evenings, and is a right outside our trade counter entrance. We’ve seen lots of new faces recently, and it’s great that people have been quick to switch to our services now we have easy parking.
I’m an open and honest person… the biggest negative of the whole moving process has definitely been the pressure it has placed on my whole team. Rossells are experiencing one of our busiest years in my history of running the business. At best, we would have been hard pushed to maintain our great customer service without the pressure of moving the entire business, but I know for a fact that we haven’t been meeting the full expectations of our customers over the last few months.
The month and a half of internal building work required much detailed planning to ensure every area of our work was catered for. We had one shot at creating the perfect space, and we wanted to get it right. I’m not one to ‘pass’ on an opportunity to graft, I put my hands to anything I could, along with the valued support of Tom (one of our workshop staff), who consistently put in extra hours most evenings and weekends to help progress the build.
I can’t put my finger on exactly how many hours we threw into the entire process, but I do know that when deadlines were approaching, I was putting in 120 hours per week (Monday to Sunday).
I haven’t had chance to fully evaluate 2016 so far, mostly because we’re still so incredibly busy, and also because there have been some incredible moments involved. Personally, I got married to my best friend in May… my wife and I have been on such a wonderful buz ever since and it’s really helped me through this tough period. Rossells completed one of our largest access control projects at a national HQ in Peterborough in August, and the customer feedback we’ve received was outstanding. Add to this that we’ve been partnering with some amazing local companies to improve the services we offer, and we’ve also taken on some brilliant clients (none of which I can tell you about for security reasons) to add to our customer portfolio.
The remaining 3 months of 2016 look like they’re going to be tough but great fun. Although we’re at a point where we can pause any further works at the new premises, there are still many ideas and additions we’re excited to make. Our work load schedules look to be very tight, so our focus will be on maintaining a high level of customer service throughout this period, but it will definitely be made easier by our efficient working environment.
It will mean little to many of you reading this, but it’s crucial that I publicly thank a few people who have played a strong role in supporting Rossells through this time… my brother in law Greg and his team of skilled tradesmen have delivered everything we asked for throughout the internal building works and I’d like to thank him for being rock solid throughout the entire project, always stepping up when suppliers let us down, always researching ideas in the evenings, and helping keep the project in budget and on time. Another thanks to our very own Tom, for the endless hours of overtime he put in, and for still being fresh and enthusiastic for the customers every morning, regardless of what time we finished. My parents for their continued support in so many ways, and the same goes for my wife who has seen little of me since our marriage. Finally a thank you to the whole Rossells team for their commitment to the project, and pushing forward with my ideas, even when the purpose was unclear.
This is around the time when I conclude this very personal blog, and I’d like to thank you for reading, and hopefully understanding how our year has played out so far. I can’t express how excited I am for the future of Rossells, and I hope that our customers, old and new, join us for the new chapter of our story ahead.
Spare a thought for the founder of Rossells, Mr Sidney Rossell… Back in 1928, I doubt he would ever be able to comprehend how his small locksmith business would turn out to be nearly 90 years on.