Exporting products to more than 80 countries and being prepared to operate in difficult and hazardous locations has won Southampton based R&M Electrical Group a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2018 in the International Trade category.
Now in its 52nd year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. R&M will celebrate its award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners in the summer.
Headquartered in Spring Road, Sholing, R&M Electrical Group Ltd has six UK based specialist distribution branches in Southampton; Bristol; Oxford; Swansea; Neyland and Aberdeen. R&M also has a branch in Baku Azerbaijan and subsidiaries in Kazakhstan, Miami, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Korea.
For more than 30 years the company has been specialising in the supply of marine, industrial, flameproof and hazardous area electrical equipment, and onshore/offshore power and instrumental cable packages.
A strategy of global alliance has been the key to R&M’s success in competing with the largest players in the world. R&M’s growth has been driven by the export market, which now accounts for around 50% of its annual turnover.
Group managing director William Crook said: “Winning the Queens Award for Enterprise is a terrific achievement and a great honour. It underlines the progress we have made on the international stage in the past decade.”
He added: “We accept it’s impossible for us to have a direct presence in many of the locations that our clients are looking to develop. So, in order to fulfil this requirement, we have strategic alliances with a number of independently owned companies in countries like Australia, Iraq, Singapore, Thailand, Korea and Japan.
“Together we pool our collective resources, customer and supplier relationships and provide our clients with all-encompassing supply chain solutions geared specifically for multi-location projects. This has allowed us to demonstrate a strong combined financial footing and the wherewithal to target many of the multi-billion-dollar projects that the major oil and gas operators are developing. Our experience means that we are prepared to operate in most countries in the world and are not daunted by exporting to some locations perceived as being the ‘more difficult’.”
R&M cites six main areas which differentiate it from its competitors: service; partnering with the right manufacturers; competitive pricing; employing the right staff; systems integration and cataloguing.
Specialist divisions ensure that the company has less reliance on third party suppliers and has allowed it to capture a larger percentage of customers’ spend. Industry specialists focus solely on their core areas of expertise. Specialist divisions include: assembly, cable, fixings and containment, hazardous area, process and control, projects, exports, marine, lighting design and supply and more recently rail and data centres.
With saturation in the UK market, going forward R&M is focusing on developing new territories. Account managers and sales representatives have been appointed in Turkmenistan and India. In December 2016 the company secured it first overseas acquisition, Miami based Lumen Electrical Inc which was supplying lighting to the cruise line industry. R&M Lumen Electrical is now offering a complete electrical solution to the cruise sector including cable, switchgear and containment. Two of R&M’s longstanding marine specialists have relocated to drive this new venture forward and it’s already enjoying impressive success.
With a team of 165 employees, developing and retaining talented individuals has been crucial to R&M’s success. Mr Crook said: “We empower staff to take ownership and have an excellent team culture. Over 40% of our staff have been with the company for more than 10 years and take great pride in their work.”
One of the cornerstones of R&M’s growth has been respect for the environment and efficient use of resources permeate its strategic objectives, corporate mid-level targets and operational controls. As a result, R&M has reduced its carbon footprint year-by-year, lowering the consumption of energy and natural resources; focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling and connecting with its overseas branches via VOIP technology and reducing miles travelled.
Mr Crook added: “Suffice to say we are fully aware of our responsibilities concerning our stakeholders and their requirements, which not only includes our customers and supply chain, but also the communities where we are located.”
Brian Robinson, R&M Group chairman, who founded the business in 1987, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by the Queen’s Awards. It’s a fitting testament to the commitment, hard work and expertise of our people around the world. Our greatest achievement has been the transformation of R&M from its humble beginnings as a UK based general electrical distributor to an internationally re-known specialist electrical distributor operating in many niche markets. This has been achieved by organic growth and self-financed from earnings. R&M has consistently ‘punched above its weight’ on the world stage.”