Five Star Autocentre

A vehicle repair business is investing in its staff to drive ahead of the competition.

And its director is leading by example — having attained a string of formal qualifications during 10 years in the trade.

Five Star Auto Centre, at Paddock, was established in 2009 by Mohammed Asif Ali — enabling him to realise a boyhood dream to build up his own business to provide a hassle-free, value-for-money service and set a standard of excellence for the industry.

The company provides a full range of services, including MoT testing, servicing, brakes, clutches, tyres, exhausts, diagnostics and air conditioning servicing.

Before launching his business in a former joinery building at The Triangle, Mohammed undertook four years of training to achieve the status of master technician with Toyota.

Within the past 12 months, Five Star Autocentre has expanded its brand presence by linking up with the Huddersfield Giants and sponsoring player Kyle Wood.

It has also formed a partnership with the RAC to handle vehicle breakdowns within a 10-mile radius of its garage.

And Mohammed has also turned the focus on further developing its eight’ strong staff — having himself gained numerous qualifications, including passing tests with the Automotive Technician Accreditation Board, a national voluntary scheme which not only tests ability but assesses ethical standards and codes of
conduct.

He said: “Continually, Five Star Autocentre has invested to increase the development career progression of the staff. In June, the company paid for its key personnel to go and attend key learning events and gain certification. I believe that by investing in its staff, it will benefit the company in the long run.”

In keeping with his view that “leadership should come from within rather than without” Mohammed works alongside his staff in the workshop to align them with the firm’s strategies and values to build unity, integrity, ethics, teamwork and communication — which in turn builds relationships with customers.

By working with staff under the bonnet whenever possible, he has promoted the values of teamwork and leadership coaching.

Mohammed said: “Management by walking around and working alongside staff is far more effective than management from behind a desk.”

Earlier this year, Five Star Autocentre decided to acquire a new purpose-built unit to double its workspace and provide an area to concentrate on commercial vehicle repairs and
maintenance.

Orchard Energy

Gareth Henderson, of Orchard Energy in Elland
Gareth Henderson, of Orchard Energy in Elland
 

A company advising organisations on energy issues has set out its vision to become “an employer of choice” as it celebrates its 10th anniversary and looks ahead to the next decade.

Elland-based Orchard Energy has put in place a plan to double its 90-strong staff and quadruple turnover between now and 2020.

And it has marked its 10th year in style — enjoying record sales, signing 356 new clients in the past 12 months, creating jobs at all
levels of the business and appointing a senior management team to drive the business forward.

Orchard Group offers a complete business utility management service through its energy management business Orchard Energy and sister companies Orchard Environmental, covering waste and recycling management and Orchard Networks, providing IT and telecoms and support.

It now has teams in Elland, Glasgow, Bristol and Newcastle and is opening another office at Northampton to serve the
Midlands effectively.

Managing director Gareth Henderson said Orchard Energy was committed to transparency, excellence in customer service, empowering its staff and building strong relationships with clients, energy suppliers, colleagues and partners.

During the past 12 months, Orchard Energy has undertaken a staff survey with highly positive results and taken steps to empower employees to make decisions and contribute ideas.

Employees are given individual development plans while potential new leaders  are given the opportunity to shadow their managers. The senior management team is made up of employees who have worked their way through the ranks.

Gareth said: “Staff are encouraged to take a proactive role in shaping the business with the confidence that their views and ideas are always being listened to and valued.”

After five years or more employees can opt to take a sabbatical to participate in charity work, enabling them to invest time and energy in something that they are passionate about. Line managers have the power to reward results by awarding an early Friday finish to their teams — while each team has its own reward system and Star of the Week.

Staff benefits include a Bike to Work scheme, childcare vouchers, personal accident cover, a pension scheme and subsidised gym membership.

There are regular away days and social events as well as flexible working. New initiatives include fruit baskets and extra leisure facilities in the break room.

Gareth said: “Orchard’s business is based on a philosophy of regular face-to face contact with our clients. This extends to internal communications with all staff having frequent one-to-one and regional meetings in person with the senior management team.”

Wesco Aircraft Europe Ltd

A company supplying vital products and equipment to the aerospace industry is flying high when it comes to focusing on its staff.

Wesco Aircraft Europe Ltd, based at Clayton West, is a leading distributor and provider of supply chain management services to about 8,500 customers worldwide.

It employs 230 people at its Park Mill Way premises and is part of a business with more than 2,700 employees across 81 locations worldwide.

As an authorised distributor for almost every major manufacturer in the industry, it has hundreds of thousands of items in stock, ranging from hardware, bearings, fluid fittings and electromechanical products as well as machines and fabricated parts and installation tooling.

Alison Garnham, learning and development specialist, said: “Wesco Aircraft was established over 80 years ago and has a family history to this day. With this in mind, it has always had a culture of nurturing our talent within.

“We are the industry’s established leaders with a global presence. It is important to us that each location has the same development opportunities for growing with the business and many employees have moved from one location to another, sharing their knowledge and skills.”

She said: “Our tag line is ‘Promises Delivered’ and our employees pride themselves on the strong customer base we hold. Wesco offers a competitive benefits package. In addition, we run our
annual Employer of the Year Awards — nominations and selections purely driven by our employees — where we celebrate success and share our pride and value in staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

“Having a very low staff turnover is also celebrated with our long service awards — a testament to working relationships which are collaborative, knowledge-sharing and fun.”

A long list of employee-related activities over the past 12 months included implementing an automated performance review process to enable staff to manage their performance and careers; five key staff undertaking NVQs in team leading, which resulted in significant business improvements; action to promote diversity in the workplace; an employee survey which delivered “some truly positive feedback” for the firm; internal secondments to help
employees spread their wings; the recruitment of a gap-year student and provision of work experience placements; and running a Blue Sky course to improve communications, individual skills and team building.

Goals for 2015 include implementing a new Learn Management System (LMS) available to all employees and working in partnership with colleagues at Wesco’s California office to build a “Wesco University” within LMS.