Following a successful 2017, Managing Director Gavin Hamblett looks back on the past 12 months and shares his plans for 2018.
“2017 has been a great year for Prater - delivering a number of high profile projects that we are proud to have been a part of. One such example is The Lexicon in Bracknell – a project of huge scale that we completed alongside Mace. Last year also saw us win some prestigious contracts including the redevelopment of the East Stand at Twickenham Stadium and securing the first major packages of work at Manchester Airport.
My proudest moment however has been the completion and handover of London Bridge Station. After four years of hard work, the integrated team – led by Costain – alongside Network Rail laboured around the clock to ensure work was completed ahead of schedule. This is a particularly impressive feat considering infrastructure projects have a reputation for running behind schedule.
Whilst 2017 was an incredibly busy year for us, it has not been without its challenges. Although there has been obvious growth within the industry, it has been difficult finding the right quality of resources and people to match the amount of work available.
The quality of our staff is central to our business and we will be building on this in 2018 by launching a new training apprenticeship academy. This will allow us to up skill our people and ensure that the high standards that we define ourselves by are upheld and enhanced. Our commitment to being the best has also seen us explore the talent available outside of London. Our satellite office in Manchester has been a resounding success and as such we are currently exchanging contracts on a larger premises in Stockport. Not only will this firmly bed us into the North West of England – a cornerstone of our development plans – but it will also allow us to tap into the huge talent pool that exists in the area.
2017 was also a great year for our supply chain relationships. We place a great deal of emphasis on the strength of our supply chain and all parties are aware of the benefits of the partnership. In 2018 we want to take this a step further.
Our annual Supply Chain Conference will be focusing on evolving our relationships. By embedding a shared philosophy and ethos with our partners, we are looking to go the extra mile from a technical and compliance point of view. A shared ethos is fundamental to being a supply chain partner and we hope to assist our partners by introducing collaborative workshops to instil this approach.
We will also be investing more into our offsite capabilities. In 2017 we invested £200,000 into our factories at Crowborough and Thurrock and we will be making a similar investment in 2018. 2017 was about driving efficiency and embedding methodology. We will now be supporting this by bringing in new machinery that will help increase our production and efficiency
2018 is looking good for Prater. A strategic growth plan supported by a strong order book means we are already on track to realise both our turnover and profit targets. I’m excited by the direction we are heading in 2018 and am extremely proud of everything we accomplished in 2017 and everyone who helped to achieve it.”