Reflecting on 35 Years of Southern Care Maintenance An interview with David Knight
1. Looking back when you started SCM in 1987, did you ever think you would be here 35 years later?
No, when starting out I was more concerned about getting through the first year, never mind making it to 35 years! I certainly never dreamt I would be sat down answering these questions when I first set out to start up my own business. To think, it started all those years ago being a one-man band calling on care homes in the south east with a Cameo Nurse Call System in my bag. How things have changed…
2. What have been the biggest challenges SCM has experienced over the years?
Looking back, it would be weathering the storms that have come our way with multiple UK recessions and, of course, the Covid crisis. The decisions that had to be made during those trying times were not easy, professionally or personally, but by making those difficult decisions the company has come out the other side thanks to our customers, suppliers and staff.
3. What would you say have been the company’s biggest successes since starting out?
One of the most notable successes has been our Nursing Equipment Division which has gone from strength to strength since acquiring this part of the business back in 2009. With the majority of our customers being care homes, it is great to be able to offer a complete package with one telephone number for customers to call for all their fire alarm and nursing equipment needs.
4. So, looking back, what do you think has been the key to SCM's success?
There are many facets to a successful business but being consistent in providing our customers with a first-class experience and offering the products and services they need, when they need it has always been our focus and priority. As an independent company, we are always looking ahead and staying abreast of new products on the market so we can offer our customers the very best solution.
Being able to move with the times and keep up with modern day advances in technology and working practices has been a key factor to our success too. To think, back in 1987 there was no Internet!
Of course, without our customers and the hard work of the SCM team we wouldn’t be here - indeed we have some customers who have been with the company from the very early days, as have some of the team.
5. You mention some of the SCM team being with you almost from the start, can you talk about the value of those staff who are still with the company now?
Absolutely. There are some members of the team who have been with the company for several decades now and they form the backbone of the company. They have worked alongside me to build the company and have an immense knowledge across all areas of the business, which is simply invaluable. Of course, more recent recruits provide a different perspective and bring a fresh approach which is also important and indeed everyone on the team “brings something to the table”. It sounds a cliché, but there is real sense of family here at SCM and everyone strives to work hard together as a team – something I am aware can be hard to come by.
6. If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you give yourself 35 years ago?
Don’t try to do everything yourself, concentrate on working on the things you are good at and delegate to those around you who have more experience and a better skillset than you in areas you might not excel in.
7. What are your future plans for the company?
We have recently been working on some new supplier partnerships, adding new product ranges to our Fire Alarms Division, which is very exciting as they are products which are relatively new to the market and offer our customers some fantastic solutions to some age old problems! We are looking forward to building on these relationships and also have plans to welcome more new partnerships in 2023.
8. Is there anything that might surprise your work team that they don't already know about you?
Back in the day(!), when I used to work in the music business, I once had a drink with the Sex Pistols in a café in Denmark Street, London.
The coffee has dried up now so, as they say, that’s a wrap!
Many congratulations to Southern Care Maintenance on achieving an amazing 35 years of trading and here’s to many more years to come…
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