Over 230 delegates attended this year’s Contractor Connection Conference & Expo, 'Performance Driven', in Daventry, UK. Combining presentations, panel discussions and guest speakers, the event provided a fantastic opportunity for attendees to learn about key developments shaping the managed repair arena, how Contractor Connection UK is evolving its service offering, and how contractors can play an integral part in creating a more resilient and effective network.
The Conference started with video presentations from President and Chief Executive Officer, Harsha V. Agadi, and Global President, Crawford Specialty Solutions, Larry C. Thomas, who both highlighted the important role that the UK operation plays in the growth of Contractor Connection across five countries.
Performance driven results
Contractor Connection UK Managing Director, Lee Sadowski, followed these inspiring video presentations with a rousing session on the importance of working together as 'Team GB' and the need for performance driven results. He discussed the major advances made over the last 12 months to enhance services, secure new business and strengthen the Contractor Connection network, but equally emphasised the steps that must be taken to maintain this momentum.
Commenting on the firm’s core values, Lee drove home the value of getting the basics right and recognizing our commitment to the future. He closed by highlighting a series of initiatives aimed at driving the business forward, and reiterated the firm’s commitment to partnership, its willingness to change, its investment in technology and dedication to customer service.
Staying on theme, Head of Service and Performance, Kenny Prazer, and UK Network Manager, Tony Derbyshire, spoke about the criticality of the 'Performance Objective Measurement System' (POMS) for a performance-driven network and as an effective system to help bridge any customer service gaps.
The duo also highlighted how Contractor Connection UK was listening to its contractors and stressed the importance of working collaboratively with them. They flagged changes that had been made on numerous fronts in response to contractor feedback.
David Sheppard, Head of Systems and Compliance, discussed compliance issues and system updates across the company. He talked through the challenges of creating a GDPR-compliant organization and also addressed contractor requirements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. David also shared the excellent advice supplied by Garry Lloyd, Head of Customer Services, on how to avoid complaints and deal with them effectively if they occur.
The voice of the customer
In addition to a series of break-out sessions on areas including agriculture, subsidence and escape of water, the event also hosted panel discussions. One such panel, 'Voice of the Customer', provided an excellent opportunity for delegates to hear direct from customers about their particular contractor experiences and their views on the value of using a managed network of approved contractors. A second discussion saw leaders from across Crawford provide updates on their respective teams and highlighting what they were looking for from contractors.
Keynote speaker Peter Keen CBE, former coach of Team GB, delivered a captivating presentation entitled 'How ordinary people do extraordinary things – lessons from the Olympic locker room'; while Charlie Fogarty MBE, guest speaker, took delegates on an inspiring journey as he discussed his road to recovery from a serious accident.
A push for diversity and sustainability
The conference also provided an excellent platform from which to launch the Contractor Connection Foundation in recognition of its duty to give back to the communities it serves and the need to be a responsible steward of its resources.
The Foundation will work to encourage contractors to employ apprenticeships and will support the efforts of organizations including the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Building Heroes, I am Care Aware, UK Green Building Council (UK GBC) and Insurance United Against Dementia which is committed to raising £10 million for research.
Sophie Cox, UK GBC Sustainability Advisor, presented on 'The Future of the Build Environment'. Reviewing the potential impact of megatrends such as climate change and biodiversity, she considered the use of sustainable building materials and techniques.
The conference concluded with a memorable dinner and awards ceremony, which included a charity auction that raised over £5,000 for Alzheimer’s Society. Crawford has agreed to generously match this amount meaning that we will hand over a cheque to the charity for £10,000.
Regional Contractor Award winners on the night included: Clover Maintenance Limited (South West); Harcross Specialist Contractors Limited (South East); Hawthorn Estates (NW) Limited (North & Scotland) and John’s of Nottingham (Midlands) and Hawthorns (North & Scotland). John’s of Nottingham claimed the ultimate National Contractor of the Year Award, while Harcross won the WOW Award for exceptional customer care.
Thank you to all the contractors, customers, sponsors and exhibitors who attended the conference and made it such a success. We will, of course, take on board the huge amount of feedback that we received from our event survey to ensure that the conference continues to provide the best possible vehicle for promoting best practice, sharing knowledge and encouraging enhanced performance.