Peter Jones ILG Ltd
Peter Jones ILG Ltd, was founded in Abergavenny, South Wales in 1967 by master saddler Peter Jones. Through the years, Peter’s work diversified from quality saddles to other leather goods, all while maintaining his brand of craftsmanship.
In the 1980s the company saw great success in developing leather cases for Tetra radios, a type of hand-held radio used by emergency services. The company has continued to develop and now holds itself as one of the global market leaders for carriage solutions incorporating the renowned Klick Fast system. While this may be a niche area, it is one which the company has managed to thrive in.
Today, the company remains a family-run business in the same town it was founded. It employs more than 70 people across its two sites and products are marketed in many countries around the world.
General Manager at the company, Chris Davidge, sat down with us to discuss the trajectory of the business and why he felt the Help to Grow: Management Course would help the company establish its values going forward.
Davidge explains his feeling when he joined the company in 2021. After a career spanning across automotive and tourism sectors, ‘it was very exciting at the time, I could see the huge growth potential of the company from where it currently was. It also gave me the opportunity to return to my local area and use the skills I had acquired during my career to date.’
Davidge enrolled in the Help to Grow: Management Course in order to help develop his core skills to build the company’s growth plans.
Choosing Help to Grow: Management
After seeing the course on LinkedIn, Davidge investigated what was covered and found that ‘the strategic aims for the business linked well to the Help to Grow: Management Course modules.’
He explains that the company was looking at its internal culture, history, and opportunities for efficiencies as it expands into new territories as a result the course was incredibly useful.
Davidge had no objections whilst obtaining approval to attend the course, as the owners of the family business saw it as an enabler for growth plan.
Although he had previous knowledge of these topics from his marketing degree, the opportunity to take part in the course at Cardiff Metropolitan University allowed him to look at business frameworks from a new perspective and directly apply what he learned to the business model at Peter Jones ILG Ltd.
Defining a Brand Strategy
On the back of the Help to Grow: Management Course, and the advice he received from peers on the course, Davidge discussed with the owners the best way to look outside of the immediate future.
The ''Vision, Mission and Values' module really inspired Davidge, 'I gave the owners examples of certain very out-there visions, like Disney's and Google's visions, just to try and stimulate their imagination.'
Davidge built his own take on the need for a vision statement with his analogy of ‘if you go and buy Hogwarts Castle in a Lego set, you know what you're going to build from the picture on the outside of it. So that's your vision and you build the blocks to make it’. Simply put, a vision of the company’s future is needed, to build towards it.
Of course, a brand is not just a logo or an image, it is part of a working culture. This is another area that he and the leadership team at Peter Jones ILG Ltd have addressed off the back of the course.
Staff Retention and Culture
Although Peter Jones ILG has good staff retention, growth can lead to increased staff turnover. This prospect is something that the developing company has been keen to avoid. Instead, the company has leveraged the findings of the course to address this area.
Davidge explains that while he was on the course there were discussions about how to integrate new hires into the company culture and how to upskill staff throughout their career journey. He adds: 'We were looking at how we could do different things for staff, and engage them in what we're doing as a company.'
With this in mind, the business is showing all staff how products are made to give them a real sense of the skill and craftsmanship involved. It is also introducing robust sick pay policies and travel allowances.
He notes: 'Our people aren't just looking for a financial reward, they're looking for a package that enables them to be looked after for the long term.'
The Help to Grow: Management Course has already helped Peter Jones ILG and it continues to do so as the business addresses cloud security, introduces a new ERP system and launches a new website. that will help it build successfully into new territories.
Building a more robust structure enables the company to not struggle as it launches into new ventures.
Davidge summarises: 'The course opened our eyes, to say okay, we need to address these issues before we go full steam ahead'.
It's clear that Davidge has been able to put into practice what he has learnt on the course and is a keen advocate: I've already recommended the course to people. I've already told people that they will benefit from going on the course.' This includes family who are business leaders, as well as friends, colleagues and peers.
He unpacks this comment: 'Even if they don't have a specific need, it is worth getting a refresh on what they're doing as business leaders and what they can do.'
The Help to Grow: Management Course continues to have a lasting impact at a company that is set on achieving lasting success.