For those of you who don’t recognise the acronym NRG, it might be better to think about a bunch of other TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms!) with which you will be more familiar.
Think RTR – Riverside Truck Rental, the specialist vehicle rental and fleet management company.
Or think NMS – Noblet Municipal Services, a strong player in the Municipal vehicle hire market which recently became a part of the NRG Group.
Or think DTM – Direct Tyre Management, the commercial sector tyre management experts.
Or, think AIS – Alex Inglis Scotland, a leading municipal and specialist vehicle and equipment repair service provider, which joined the group as part of the Noblet agreement.
All of these now make up NRG Fleet Services, the specialist fleet operations support group headed-up by the redoubtable Sid Sadique, ex Director of Fleet and Recycling at Biffa, who was also instrumental in the re-establishment of IRTEC, the voluntary accreditation scheme that assesses the safety and competence of technicians who maintain and repair vehicles in the commercial vehicle,trailer and passenger carrying industries.
Sid set up NRG in 2006 since which time it has moved from having a handful of staff to well over 400 employees, has gone from a single depot to 17 (With more to come in the very near future.) and is now looking towards a turnover in excess of £100 million in the next few years. FACTS recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mr Sadique to discuss his hopes and plans for NRG.
“The reason I set up NRG in the first place was that I felt there was a hole in the market for supplying fleet services in the waste management and municipal vehicle sectors; a hole which was not being addressed by the existing commercial vehicle rental companies. Having been in that business for over twenty years, and having seen at first hand the kinds of issue that effect both central and local government agencies and their primary contractors, I decided that what the industry needed was a company that specialised in doing the very specialist things they need. Virtually everyone else bolts waste and municipal into a much wider range of activities, across every transport sector. I wanted to offer something which is completely focussed on municipal authorities and their contractors; one which was able to offer them a service and product range exactly tailored to their needs.
I think that is the core reason behind why we have been winning so many contracts over the past few years. We don’t try to shoe-horn the customer’s needs into our existing operations. NRG was designed from the ground up to be able to deliver flexible support with regard to almost any aspect of fleet services. Whether it is taking over a customer’s depot operations, or simply making some RCVs or sweepers available when they are overstretched, or refurbishing some older vehicles, or running their tyre operations for them, it doesn’t matter to NRG, or rather to the companies within the NRG group, because our structure and our remit was set up from day-one to help our customers to save money and maximise efficiency in ways which makes most sense for them.
Within the group we have hire resources and maintenance resources, we have repair and refurbish capabilities, and workshop and fleet management experience, and complete tyre management services and also, perhaps most importantly, the flexibility to be able to deliver exactly what the customer needs, through the combination of all of the different resources which make up the NRG Group.
That’s why recently we have been managing a large part of the MoD’s non-armoured vehicle fleet, and refurbishing 30 or so Car Transporters, and supplying full fleet management services for Viridor in Scotland, and running dozens of municipal fleets or fleet maintenance depots up and down the country. Solving many different problems by being able to deliver a wide range of skills and solutions.
Recently, for example, an opportunity came up to refurbish a load of buses for Greater Manchester. This was not something we’d done before but is something which is well within the capabilities of our people and our facilities, and something which will help us to grow in a new direction. So we are doing it and delivering on it, and we are learning and growing and enjoying ourselves along the way.
We can do this because our business is not focussed on a narrow range of capabilities and offerings where we see there is a quick profit to be made, but rather on delivering what our customers need, and making sure that it makes sense for both of us. Of course NRG is a business, and we have to make a profit or we’ll soon be out of business, but, as this quote from Gary Comer implies, we don’t want to be the biggest, we simply want to be the best, and to be the best in the only way that counts, having our customers tell us that we are the best.”
“Worry about being better; bigger will take care of itself.
Think one customer at a time and take care of each one the best way you can.”
Gary Comer – founder of mail order clothing retailer Lands’ End
“Actually, when I think about it, there is another way in which I want NRG to be the best. I want the people who work here to think that NRG is the best too. Oh, not in some flag-waving, martial music at breakfast-time kind of way, but simply by finding the right people, giving them the training they need, giving them the tools they need to do their job, giving them the opportunity to grow and develop, and giving them the communication channels to enable them to tell us what they think, to tell us about the changes they believe will help us, them, and our customers, and about how they themselves want to grow and learn and develop.
I still know almost everyone in the company. (We now have seventeen depots, with another two in development and of course we recently brought Noblet and Alex Inglis into the fold, so I am not sure that I know everyone’s first name any more. Not yet at least!) But the point is my door is always open, I am always on the look-out for new talent, and I encourage all my managers to do the same, to encourage everyone to step-up and help us to be better. And to enjoy ourselves along the way. Work can be hard sometimes, but it is always much harder when you don’t enjoy it. NRG tries to help everyone to enjoy their job, and I believe that helps to make our customers happier too.”
Chatting with Sid was a real eye-opener. There are many, many commercial vehicle rental companies out there. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they (almost) all want to deliver great value and great customer service. Most of them probably do. But NRG is a very different kind of business. Sid Sadique is an ethical man with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and has imbued the company with his drive, his sense of fairness, his focus on getting it right for the customer, and on making it right when things go wrong, and on making NRG both a great company to work for and a great company to do business with.
When asked about what would characterise NRG’s perfect customer, Sid’s reply was typically off-beat. “Someone who needs us.” he said. “Anyone who has a fleet management problem, or a problematic fleet, who needs help to sort things out – and to save money at the same time. That is what we do best. We solve problems.”