Andrew Creese, Managing Director, Unwin Safety Systems

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Hello Andrew, tell us about Unwin Safety Systems and your role.
Unwin Safety Systems is a leading supplier of safety equipment for wheelchair users –in particular to improve mobility safety in vehicles.  Established over 50 years ago, the company has led the way in championing improved safety for wheelchair users and in developing safer and more convenient solutions.

As CEO my principle role is firstly to lead our team to ensure that the company continuously improves our offering and the way that we deliver it, and secondly to establish a value enhancing, sustainable strategy for the company.

How has the economic recession impacted your business?
Our principle customer base is financed by public sector money and charities across much of Europe. Budget cuts have led to a reduction in market volumes.  We have responded by launching relevant new products, enhancing our capabilities, streamlining our processes and improving our customer service. 

What challenges are you facing over the next 12 months?
Unwin are ‘champions of safety’. We are faced with changing sector legislation and cheap imports from the Far East. It is a time when the best products and service are particularly relevant and we intend to provide both to the highest safety standards. 

Do you think that the government should intervene more?
I believe in ‘light touch government’ and a recognition that most businesses are managed by good people. In my current role, I have been encouraged by the helpful role that UKTI have played in helping to research potential export markets.

What is your view on the South West’s business scene?
I haven’t established how it is different from other business scenes, but I do recognise the potential value of some of the ‘cluster’ work.

Do you have any Non-Executive Directorships? If so, what have you learned from the experience?
Yes and currently in the Chair role.  NED roles are more about facilitation than directly ‘making it happen’; listening, offering constructive guidance and sharing relevant experiences are a good template.

Do you have any advice that you’d pass on to a newly appointed company director?
As with any position, make sure you are clear on your principle objectives in the role, and then deliver on them. Accept responsibility for performance with your board colleagues. Success breeds success.

Interests

What do you like to do outside of work? 
Golf, sailing, family. I’ve always been a generalist that likes variety.

Who is your hero / personal inspiration?
I don’t have a ‘hero’, but I have always admired the thinking of Michael Porter – particularly with regard to competitive strategy.

What is on your I-Pod and what are you reading right now?
The rugby world cup app  -  I am a rugby nut.  I’ve just finished Tony Blair’s autobiography – when you live through a period of time, it gives perspective to major events of our time.

Working with Moon Consulting

Why did you choose Moon Consulting?
I met them when they recruited me to a NED role and liked their style, openness, and honesty.

What roles did Moon Consulting recruit for you?
They recently found us a new operations director.

What has been your experience of working with our company?
The Moon team have delivered on the assignment in all respects