10 Minutes With: Trevor Cossins in BMJ Magazine
by Stephanie Lee
P C Henderson’s Managing Director, Trevor Cossins, has recently featured in the '10 Minutes With' section of the Builders Merchants Journal. Read the article below or view the online magazine here and turn to page 13.
What is your current role and how long have you been doing it?
I have been the Managing Director of P C Henderson Ltd since June 2016.
What does your overall role entail?
My overall responsibility is for the P C Henderson Group, which includes our manufacturing plants in Bowburn UK and in the Far East, as well as two distribution and final stage configuration outlets in Bladel, Holland and Dublin.
A lot of my time is currently spent working with the senior management team to develop a strategy that will help pave the way forward for continued business growth. My day to day work can include anything from working with suppliers, product development or talking to our customers alongside other daily duties.
What roles were you doing before and how did they prepare you for this one?
I began my career as a Mechanical Engineer with Perstorp; a large Swedish laminate manufacturer in the North East of England where, as well as producing decorative laminates, we also produced office furniture components and kitchen worktops. I worked my way through various roles and responsibilities into the role of Site Manufacturing Manager.
My next role was at Jeld-Wen where I headed a facility in the North West of England that manufactures internal and external doors, before eventually joining P C Henderson.
What would you like to achieve in your role?
My main aim here is to maintain the heritage that goes with such a long standing and iconic brand, along with a determination to improve a business that is going from strength to strength. We have a global customer base that deserves to be serviced with the best possible products, on time every time with no call back quality.
I am a great believer in people involvement and team culture. Having a team of people with the knowledge, desire and determination to succeed is the greatest asset any company can hope for. We must all strive to learn from our mistakes, support and encourage each other and continue moving forward. I believe that if I can spread this culture to the team at P C Henderson success will be a given.
What do you see as the main issues for builder’s merchants and for the construction industry at the moment?
I worry that competition for business will put pressure on price reductions and businesses will undercut each other to a point where the market is totally undervalued. I have seen this many times in the past where product prices are slashed putting the pressure back on the manufacturers to make cost reductions. This then opens the door to cheap imports, leading manufacturers to “value engineer” products to a point where they do not have the quality and value they did before and the end user has to use inferior products. If this happens the industry will find it almost impossible to recover the original price point, affecting hardware quality and new product development.
If you could go back to the start of your career, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would say make sure you try to think from your customer’s point of view; what do they really want, how can you ensure they return? You have to ensure that the people using your products have a good experience, “it was easy to install”, “it worked properly” or “it made my job easy”. Finally, gather a good, well balanced team and use them to help you make the right decisions.
What’s your favourite book? Favourite film?
It has to be Shawshank Redemption, the story has so many twists and turns and you really don’t know what is going to happen until right at the end when it turns out to be the last thing you thought of. I suppose it is probably like a lot of twists and turns in our working lives, sometimes you get it wrong but you learn from your mistakes and hopefully try to prevent a re-occurrence. Sometimes you have to take a different path but most of all it is about supporting those around you and you will eventually see the returns.
If you could be a superhero, what super power would you choose?
It would have to be to be able to read people’s minds. I’d give them the right answer before they asked the question. Just imagine how much help that would be when dealing with the wife!