Bringing an international flavour to VEO
A clearer strategy resulted in a good year for UK-based I.C. Electrical Ltd. (ICE), which can be seen in the robust sales figures presented. This was due to having a more focused approach, increased production as well as improved project control and risk management. Good teamwork coupled with additional project management resources also means a positive outlook for 2020.
2019 was a high-growth year for ICE with an overall 26% increase in order intakes. Tim McNeilly, Managing Director at ICE, is proud of what his team in Staffordshire has accomplished.
“The growth was accommodated with almost the same amount of resources as in 2018, so it was a hectic year, especially with the opening up of our new production facility TEHDAS. I’m grateful that the team managed to pull this through.”
VEDA production with a British twist
In February 2019, the decision was made to start producing low-voltage VEDA switchgear in the UK. Only two months later, ICE’s production facility TEHDAS was up and running.
“This is a clear shift in strategy. We have evolved from being VEO’s British sales office to a more independent member of the VEO Group, developing the VEDA range to suit the British clients,” McNeilly explains.
“We have evolved from being VEO’s British sales office to a more independent member of the VEO Group, developing the VEDA range to suit the British clients.”
Local clients appreciate the flexibility of the VEDA solution and are impressed by the new facilities that now house both production and offices to enhance the workflow.
“Our new facilities also include lines for mechanical erection and final assembly as well as a dedicated space for demanding factory acceptance tests (FATs). This means we have excellent conditions to be both quick, flexible and affordable,” McNeilly states.
Stricter project follow-up
The renewed strategy also involves more rigid project control and improved risk management. The ICE staff, consisting of around 65 professionals, at times backed up by up to 70 subcontractors, has been positive towards the new way of working. Even though increased project control with extensive follow-up inevitably entails more work, at least initially, it clarifies the processes and makes the projects run more efficiently.
“We have also increased the amount of early warning notices to our clients as soon as we see the first signs of deviation from the plan. Raised contract awareness with clear risk-management procedures increases our professionalism and is an indisputable advantage for our clients.”
Improved communication throughout the VEO Group with information sessions at regular intervals has led to a deeper understanding between the VEO countries.
“Thanks to VEO’s collaborative approach, the entire Group benefits from ICE’s insights into Health & Safety.”
McNeilly was taken on board VEO’s management team Q4 2019, which further enhances the link between the UK and the Nordic countries according to VEO’s strategy, where increased internationalisation holds a key position.
“With my experience as a business owner in the UK, I believe I can bring an additional perspective to business reviews,” McNeilly explains. “As ICE has an extensive electrical installation history, I have deep insights into items such as Health & Safety. This is a competence area that the rest of the VEO Group benefits from due to our collaborative approach.”
McNeilly can see the efforts starting to bear fruit. ICE has been able to take on increasingly larger-scoped projects, especially within the waste-to-energy segment; ICE is currently working on two large utility projects, each with switchgear and installation work worth £1.5m.
Along with other extensive projects, all with healthy profit margins, the order book for 2020 looked solid at the beginning of the year.
“We have a backlog from 2019 as we had a shortage of resources, especially within project management. This situation has now been addressed with greater focus and an additional Project Engineer onboard.”
The prosperous forecasts for 2020, however, are now slightly overshadowed by the covid-19 pandemic.
“Under the circumstances, our use of subcontractors has proved to be a good strategy. Temporarily, we can manage with our own resources, but once business is up and running at full speed again, we can quickly ramp up,” McNeilly concludes.