A Day in the Life of Nick Ferguson, Technical Team Manager

A Day in the Life of Nick Ferguson, Technical Team Manager

The best way I can summarise my team’s role is this: we are the company’s trouble-shooters.

Whenever one of our customers has a problem on site, we are called in to find a solution. It may be that they need a transition between two different floor coverings, or that there has been a specification change and the contractor needs guidance on how to install one of our products.

One thing is for sure: no two days are the same, and that is what makes the job so enjoyable.

Meet the team

In my team there are 3 full time surveyors, one of them is based in North London, one based in the south of London, the final one, like myself is based in Macclesfield in the North West of England.

Together we cover the whole of the UK, helped by the fact that the Area Sales Managers are also trained to carry out surveys. Sometimes, one of the ASMs will be able to get to a job quicker than us, so we’ll arrange for them to go.

For me, it’s about communicating with colleagues as clearly and quickly as possible to make sure we get the right outcome for our customers every time.

On an average day, one of us may carry out three or four substantial jobs, although depending on the size or complexity of a job, this figure can go down. On the flip side, the figure could go up if the geography is favourable. The record for our team is that one of them carried out 14 or 15 surveys in one day, but this is a rarity!

A great company to work for

I started at Gradus 15 years ago as a Surveyor, progressed to Area Sales Manager and then I had the opportunity to move into a more technical but field-based role by becoming the surveying team manager. From building up my experience in these roles, I was able to take on the Technical Team Manager role.

When I started out building a career for myself, it wasn’t in my plan to become a Technical Team Manager. Prior to joining Gradus I ran live music events in my local town, never imagining I was going to end up in the world of flooring! However, when I started a family, it became clear that a nocturnal lifestyle was not all that compatible with bringing up a child.

Gradus is a great company to work for. There are a lot of people who, like me, have worked here for a long time, and had opportunity to advance and develop. That’s because it’s a great environment to be in.

Since the pandemic, I have become more of a player-manager, going out and conducting more surveys than I was previously. Working in this way, personally, is more satisfying as I enjoy being out on the road, meeting our customers and helping them solve problems on-site.

The trouble-shooter

Once we get a call, we will visit our customers’ site to inspect the problem, before providing them with a written survey that outlines how they can best overcome it.

The process can simply be that we are able to measure out a project, to provide our customer with a product that is cut to the millimetre, all marked up, making it easy to fit. Other times, customers may not be sure what it is they want, in which case we work with them to specify the whole project with a detailed survey.

Once we have carried out a survey, we send a copy to the flooring contractor and a more detailed copy to the distributor. This will outline how much stock (and at what sizes) they’ll need to purchase to service the order.

A request can come from a range of sources, whether this be our ASMs, distributors, technical support or head office. We have built up good relationships with our customers over many years, and plenty of them come to us directly for our expertise.

A range of products

We work with many products, but stair edgings are the product we work with most often, followed closely by entrance matting.

Matting is a bit more complicated as it must be engineered to a particular size. If there’s a perfectly square matwell to fit it in, the customer can usually fit it themselves.

Circumstances when we need to be called in are: if starts to get complicated, if there’s any shaping involved, or if it’s being installed in a revolving door.

We also cover LED lighting systems, which are quite complicated to install as you have got to consider various factors, such as the positioning of the power supplies.

The key is to use our expertise to benefit our customers as much as possible, and we will recommend products to them when we are on site if we believe they will benefit from them. An example of this is that if we spot a scuffed wall, we will offer them a range of wall protection solutions.

Expert recommendations

We have a piece of digital software, the Gradus Cut Optimisation Software, that tells the distribution network what material they need to order and how to cut it.

The tool is easy to use and produces a large proportion of the administrative side for them. It is an invaluable asset that makes the whole process run more smoothly.

What ultimately matters to us are the customers’ needs, which we’ll do whatever we can to meet. That means things can get very busy and turnaround is fluid and can vary, but it’s an atmosphere that allows us to thrive.

To contact the Technical Team at Gradus about an upcoming project, please visit gradus.com or call 01625 428922.

Since writing this ‘Day in the Life Of’ interest piece, Nick has taken up an opportunity within Gradus as a Business Development Manager for Matting and Lighting.

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