Published On: Thu, Mar 31st, 2016

Justin Hunter, Managing Director of Reynaers

First job: Sales Office Administrator, Monarch Aluminium.

When did you join current company: I joined the company as Managing Director in 1994.

Most useful/favourite gadget: iPhone.

Favourite/most useful website:

Business person you admire: John Harvey-Jones. He was the successful, outspoken industrialist and chairman of ICI, who became a television trouble-shooter.

Recommended hotel for business: Any hotel with a gym.

Favourite UK restaurant: Bibendum, London, SW3 6RD.

Best business decision: Embrace change.

Other interests: Spending time with my family, going to the gym, watching live sport.

Working Day: I am very fortunate to be able to say that there is no such thing as a typical working day in my role as Managing Director at Reynaers and my work is hugely varied. I live in Cheltenham, which is around one hour’s drive from our Birmingham Head Office and about two hour’s drive from the London Design Office. I tend to navigate between these two sites and schedule in regular visits with both customers and suppliers around the country. Our global headquarters are in Belgium so I also regularly visit Duffel, which is between Antwerp and Brussels alongside other trips to sites across Europe and beyond. So no two days are ever the same and I very rarely work a nine-to-five day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Working Location: I usually spend most of my time split between our Head Office in Birmingham and our London Design Office. They are both great spaces that showcase our high quality aluminium products and are open to visitors. We recently opened a training facility too in Birmingham so that our customers are able to benefit from our expertise on products, services and installation. During 2016 we are set to move to a brand new facility in Birmingham that will more than double our current capacity. So there is a lot to look forward to this year.


The Interview:

Justin Hunter, MD ReynaersI’ve met few people in life who can genuinely say that they love their job and I feel very privileged to be one of those who really enjoy what they do. I’m incredibly lucky to have such a great team working with me at Reynaers. Currently there are 55 employees in Reynaers’ UK offices. The company is a family-owned business and everyone is able to offer an opinion and have a direct effect on the results of the business on a daily basis. We all share a strong work ethic and as individuals we all want to enjoy what we do each day. We feel proud of our own personal contributions and know that we’re part of something successful. I think we also all share a strong sense of humour and this not only makes my working life fun, but also helps us to work better together when things could otherwise be a bit stressful.

Looking back – Last year turned out to be a record-breaking year in terms of new business and turnover growth at Reynaers. Total company sales for the UK were up 35% year-on-year and our residential brand Reynaers at Home was up 50% year-on-year. Without a doubt Reynaers’ partners have never been so busy and the pipeline of work is at a record level. Behind all commercial success is an enormous amount of hard work and dedication by the Reynaers team, along with the support and commitment of all of our partners. At a time of such growth the demands on both our employees and our partners are clearly visible and it is a great credit to everyone that this growth is being delivered so successfully. Along with the hard work and determination of everyone involved we are of course also investing heavily in the people, the skills, the tools, the products and the physical space to allow the business to flourish and grow long into the future.

Award-winning team – This year marks our 25th anniversary and what a perfect time to celebrate. Our customers’ order banks and project pipelines are extremely healthy going into 2016, so the outlook is very positive indeed. We also had a very exciting and richly deserved win for the Reynaers team at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards. We were presented with two awards at the CMAs on December 10, 2015, thanks to strong results from our latest campaigns. We won Best Use of Direct Marketing for the innovative ‘Look Deeper’ campaign and were Highly Commended for Best Use of Research and Insight at the awards. The Look Deeper campaign encouraged partners in the trade and specifiers to take a closer look at design aesthetics, innovation and performance through a series of emails and both online and offline adverts. The campaign met an extremely challenging brief, to deliver attention-grabbing creative across a range of media, raise brand awareness, build engagement with key contacts in the industry and generate enquiries from architects nationwide.

Reynaers was also awarded Highly Commended for Best Use of Research and Insight for our comprehensive research and segmentation project. This comprised around 300 phone interviews with architects, fabricators, retailers, installers, consultants, contractors, builders, and developers. The research gave us an in-depth insight into the decision-making process of key partners within the industry – with the results providing a sound base for future strategic planning. We’re absolutely thrilled to have won these two accolades at this year’s CMA 2015 awards and what a way to round off a fantastic year. The marketing team at Reynaers work really hard to come up with new and innovative strategies and it’s wonderful to have them recognised by experts in the industry.

New HQs – The building of our new UK Head Office and Warehouse is a significant milestone for us as a team, and also for our customers who have supported us over the years. The building will act as a springboard to further growth, as it will provide us with much needed space and fantastic new facilities, which will serve us for many years to come. The new building will more than double the space of our current offices and warehouse and we can’t wait for it to be ready. As well as investing in a new HQ, we opened our brand new Reynaers Training Centre towards the end of last year. Both of these investments will allow our business to flourish – last year broke all previous records for us in terms of new business and turnover, and we plan to continue our remarkable success story in a sustainable way. Globally, Reynaers Aluminium is also paving the way for further sustainable growth over the coming years and has committed to spending more than 25 million euros in the expansion and renovation of the headquarters of Reynaers in Duffel. One of the showpieces of the centre will be the brand new state-of-the-art testing wall, enabling the most advanced air-wind-water testing of multi-storey façades. As well as technology and sustainability playing a key role for the company, the warehouses will be expanded by almost 20,000m², allowing us to significantly improve our logistics and operations. Last year we celebrated 50 years of partnership with customers around the world, which culminated with a fantastic event at our headquarters in Belgium. Thanks to ongoing investment in innovative and sustainable aluminium systems and expansion, we are aiming to grow global turnover of €330 million to €500 million by 2020. To achieve this, we will invest more than €50 million in Belgium, here in the UK, France, Turkey and the US over the next couple of years.

New products and the future – We strive for constant innovation and as part of a global company we’re lucky enough to be able to tap into the expertise of our testing units and colleagues from around the world. We have a number of new products we are looking to launch this year so watch this space. I have a very clear vision of Reynaers UK in the future. The passion, pride and the strong team ethic will be the same, but of course we will be much bigger. Products, people and passion are the fuel of our ambitions for Reynaers in the UK. We are hungry and driven to constantly improve our products and services. We want to be the best, we love to compete and we love to win. I suppose you can say we feel we have only just scratched the surface of what we can actually achieve in the UK. Thankfully in recent years our main challenge at Reynaers UK has been to manage our growth. Although not always so easy, this is without doubt the best challenge to have in business.