This month Simon Banks talks to Cindy Newnham, General Manager of Lifeline Alarm Systems – a family-run Fire & Security company based in Newport on the Isle of Wight.
What challenges come with running an installation company on an island and do you have plans to expand onto the mainland?
The island is a great place to live but an island based business is challenging, particularly regarding engineering resources. With an increasing lack of good quality engineers available we are sometimes forced to employ less experienced staff. We then need to invest substantially into training these new engineers to improve their knowledge and understanding. This also takes time away from our senior engineers. On the flip side however, being a small island means that much of the work we receive is by recommendation. Expansion to the mainland is always an option and we have undertaken several major projects already. Our primary focus is the delivery of high quality Fire and Security solutions to our local business and domestic community.
Have there been any unexpected benefits from your Venus Awards for Women in Business 2016 win?
The Venus ethos is something I have always admired and it was exciting to win. The award obviously comes with fantastic PR and since winning, I think I am taken more seriously now as a female General Manager in our industry. I was surprised and grateful by the extent of good wishes – and of course it was another award to add to Lifeline’s growing collection. The most unexpected benefit was meeting some genuinely inspirational, talented and determined ladies – who are now good friends.
Lifeline is very active on Social Media, what does it do for your business?
We are big believers in Social Media activity. We operate in a much defined geographical market, so keeping in contact with, reacting to and maintaining awareness of local and industry news is important. It also provides us with increased brand awareness. We provide our followers with tips and local warnings of anti-social and criminal behaviour. In addition, it also keeps us up to date with local opportunities – in fact this year we have won over £15,000 worth of business as a direct result of Social Media activity.
How important are Apprentices and Training to your business?
We are all huge fans of Apprenticeships, they are massively important to us as a business today and in the future – bringing energy and fresh thinking to the business. We have two members of our customer support team that really excelled during their apprenticeships and excitingly one of them is completing his engineering apprenticeship with excellent reports. As for training, this forms a huge part of our daily operations across the business including; customer service, product understanding, quality and standards.
CSL and Lifeline have worked together for over 20 years, why has the combination worked well for so long?
I recall when Graeme Lee (our Financial Director) attended the first product launch by CSL at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. We worked closely together and lobbied to have base stations installed here on the island. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength and remain strong advocates and partners now. We realised at the very start that CSL was going to become the leading signalling product within the industry and we were right!
@CSLDualCom The #DigiAir Compact PSU looks like ANOTHER game changer! Well impressed with your forward thinking, installer considerate kit!
Tweeted by @KHGSecurity - May 26