Mentoring locks in strong growth for security firm

A South Ribble-based commercial security firm hopes to more than double both staff and turnover after receiving mentoring support from Boost, Lancashire Business Growth Hub.

Quality Essential Distribution aims to increase its team in all areas of the business, reach new markets and more than double turnover over the next five years.

Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme helped QED’s newly promoted operations manager Hannah Whittle learn how to delegate and manage the operational side of the business, improving profitability.

Hannah said: “The mentoring experience was very constructive. It was great to receive a third-party perspective on the business and my role within it.

“My mentor Julie has been such an inspiration for me. It’s been invaluable to have someone like her to talk to, as she is another successful woman in business who I can look up to.”

Established in 1997, QED supplies and distributes security products for the commercial sector and offers security surveillance solutions and support.

After significant growth and a need to streamline processes, QED’s product development director, Matt Philp, promoted Hannah to operations manager to develop and manage the KPIs for the firm’s key business functions. She was previously PA in the business.

Matt heard about Boost after meeting an adviser from Orvia at a networking event. After attending a Boost business review meeting to discuss his growth aspirations, he put Hannah forward to receive support through the Growth Mentoring programme to help her in her new role.

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Hannah was matched with mentor Julie Brotherton, a specialist in leadership, people development and team building.

Hannah was tasked with reviewing QED’s processes to improve productivity and subsequently make the firm more profitable.

As a line manager, Hannah initially found it difficult to manage colleagues that she had previously worked alongside. Mentoring helped Hannah to overcome these hurdles and grow into a position of leadership.

Julie said: “Hannah had worked as a PA to the directors at QED for many years. She now oversees many departments including, purchasing, warehouse, sales administration and order processing. Although very capable of carrying out her new role, she just lacked the experience to manage people.”

Julie worked alongside Hannah to build her confidence and develop her leadership skills. They also worked on how to motivate and encourage people and build a sense of accountability within their roles.

“It was fantastic to see Hannah’s confidence grow over the mentoring sessions. I am sure she will continue to be an asset to QED.”

Hannah’s line director Matt Philp added: “After the first two mentoring sessions, I noticed a significant change in Hannah, and how she was managing the team in her new role. Putting her forward to receive the mentoring has certainly proven to be beneficial for Hannah but for QED too.”

Hannah is now introducing new systems and procedures to improve efficiency. She has also increased transparency across the teams and communication between departments.

She said: “Julie’s input was unbiased and objective, she was practically ‘stepping into the role’ for me. It gave me great confidence.”

QED has since experienced a growth in enquiries, leading to an increase in sales. Hannah has recently recruited two new team members in sales order processing and sales administration. The firm is also seeking to secure additional office and storage space to support the growth.

Ann Lancaster, operations manager at Orvia said: “It’s great to see that after meeting Matt at a networking meeting that QED decided to join the Growth Mentoring programme. Hannah has found the mentoring experience with Julie so valuable. It has helped her to greatly improve confidence and to the growth of the company.”