Published On: Fri, Jun 14th, 2019

Nathan Barr, Managing Director of ODL Europe

First job: Apprentice Toolmaker at Edwards
Precision Engineering, making high pressure die casting tools and moulding tools
When did you join your current company: I joined ODL Europe in September 2017.
Most useful/favourite gadget: Skype for Business
Favourite/most useful website: – it’s full of interesting and inspiring information.
Business person you admire: There are several people I really admire, but particularly the entrepreneurs who have risked everything and have taken their companies from small sheds to multi-million pound turnover businesses.
Recommended hotel for business: I have no particular favourite; as long as it has wi-fi and is comfortable, I am good.
Favourite UK restaurant: Again, I have no favourites. But having a young son, I would say socialising has changed somewhat, so anywhere you don’t have to order at a bar is good for me!
Best business decision: As I still have a good few years ahead of me I am sure my best business decision is yet to come! However, looking back, I would say taking an apprenticeship was a great decision and has served me well throughout my career so far.
Other interests: When I have some spare time – which is in pretty short supply – I spend time with my family and young son – who keeps me busy. I also enjoy archery.

Working Week: I try to start every day with a swim and get up at
05:00am to complete 1500m. For me, Mondays are about seeing everyone on the shop floor and reviewing the previous week’s performance with the managers. We have a daily huddle with all the managers to discuss what was achieved the day before, what we are planning for the day, any issues that have arisen and how to overcome them, sales figures and more. I also do this later in the day with my US colleagues. And one night of the week I stay late to see the night shift too!. Communication across the business at every level is imperative and is something I have always done.

Working Location: ODL Europe’s main manufacturing and distribution plant is in Bootle on Merseyside and I spend two or three days a week there. On Fridays I tend to work from my home office. It’s the perfect day for having one-to-ones with key team members and ensuring everyone is clear on their key goals. The rest of the time, I’m on the road, visiting customers and suppliers and ensuring projects are moving forward.

Looking back over the last 12 months we have achieved a lot to be proud about. The headline achievement is obvious – we’ve achieved 30% growth, which is truly something to shout about. But it’s what sits behind that growth that is so important. We’re in the process of transforming the business from top to bottom to ensure we’re in the best possible position to deliver for our customers. We have invested in our infrastructure – putting in place new people, bringing a new sales team on board, introducing new working methods and putting an increased focus on marketing. We’ve put a lot of focus on sustainability too – we were finalists in the Sustainability Initiative category at this G Awards because we have reduced the amount of plastic and general waste we were sending to landfill by four tonnes per week. And of course, alongside all of this, we’ve continued to emphasise product development.

I’m a passionate believer in the power of people and it has been fantastic to see how proactive the team has been in embracing the changes we’re making throughout the business to support our customers’ own ambitions. We’re far from perfect, and in the past you could say we have been a victim of our own success in some instances. But recognising this has made us stronger and more determined to deliver better as a team and a business. We’ve got a real momentum behind us now. We are a determined business with ambitious plans and we have no intention of standing still, so I’m expecting to see more of the same from the business this year. We’ll be helped in this by a number of favourable factors.

The first is the market. It’s very strong at the moment and that presents a lot of opportunities for us and for our customers. Then there’s our product range, which we’ll be extending this year to give our customers an even stronger offering. We have a new cassette system which is undergoing final testing at the moment. There’ll be developments to our market-beating Capstone composite door to take advantage of new material technologies and we’re introducing new door styles too. If you want to be the first to see all our new developments, you need to book your ticket for this year’s FIT Show. You’ll find us on stand Q5.

We’re also continuing to invest in our business infrastructure. We are about to launch a new online portal to make quoting and ordering much quicker and easier and we know how much that’s going to help our customers. And we’ve just commissioned a further 15,000 ft2 of manufacturing space at our Bootle headquarters to increase capacity and help us drive further efficiencies.

It’s especially exciting to see how positive our customers are about the changes we’re making and how much they encourage us to shout about what we do. On the other hand, it also shows us how much further we have to go in raising the profile of our business and what we have to offer.
Customers tend to come to us in the first instance for our market-leading TriSYS cassette system. It’s only once they’re through the door they discover how much else there is that is to ODL Europe. The TriSYS cassette system is just one part of the widest selection of glazing cassette designs in the industry.

Our Capstone range of PAS24:2016-accredited composite doors stands apart from its competitors thanks to its superior quality, aesthetics and security. And our Blink range of enclosed blinds delivers a contemporary and streamlined alternative to traditional blinds for simple operation and safe light control. Talking to our customers tells me that we’re in a strong position to deliver for any business with ambition because there’s a great deal of demand for what we’re able to provide. Our product range delivers in all areas. It is a great mix of high quality core products that are an essential part of every portfolio and value-added products that give fabricators and installers excellent upselling opportunities.

We’re part of the global ODL brand whose roots stretch back over 70 years, with all the reliability that implies. We’re not afraid to invest in our business to take our offering to the next level and we don’t believe in standing still either. And we’re committed to our own success and we know that the only way to secure that is to form long term partnerships with our customers by delivering excellence in every interaction. These are all valuable attributes when you’re looking to grow and my advice to any business that’s hungry for more success is to give us a call and see how we can help you achieve it. As for me, I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend most of my time working. I consider myself extremely lucky that I love what I do and I do what I love. I’m incredibly proud to see how far the company has come in the past year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

Tel: 0151 933 0299