The SmartAct team had a fabulous evening Celebrating The Chamber of Commerce Awards. We met so many lovely Companies who were also there Celebrating.
We are very proud to walk away with Highly Commnded in the High Growth Business of the year Award Category and also Delighted for everyone else who won an award that night!.
These awards reflects the time, commitment and effort that the whole team has invested, We recognise the value in the process of bringing great products to the world of building a great team. For us we know that team is not just about the staff team but also the wider network that we connect with who contribute to our success.
We are pleased to announce that The Smart Actuator Company Ltd (SmartAct) has been named as a winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – one of the highest accolades for business achievement. We have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation in Enterprise in acknowledgement of our Electric Actuation technology and growth in the last few years.
The Smart Actuator Company is a genuine business success story. Invented by a Malvern local resident James O’Donnell (MD) the company manufacture a truly innovative product that is revolutionising the world of Valve & Actuation. James said “We are the 6th fastest growing Engineering Manufacturing companies in the Midlands right now. The Smart Actuator Company is going from strength to strength and we are proud to be a Malvern company.”
Tony O’Donnell, CEO said “For our young company to have won one of Britain’s most coveted business awards is simply amazing. Especially so in this historic year when HM the Queen celebrates the sapphire anniversary of her reign. The award appropriately reflects the time, commitment and effort that our people have invested in the outstanding achievement of our business. It is a standard of commercial excellence & innovation that is recognised worldwide. Our job now is to continue to build on the success so far and to maximise the benefits our innovation can bring both to customers across the globe and our UK economy.”
The timing is perfect as SmartAct join the National Apprenticeship scheme and welcome 4 new young apprentices into our team. The recognition of the Queen’s Award is a great achievement for the whole team; we have worked hard and built a robust platform from which to further grow this exciting business. We would also like to thank our local Chamber of Commerce and LEP along with The British Valve & Actuator Association and Department of International Trade support whose support has been invaluable to the success and growth of our business.
What is the Queens Award ?
Just in Case you don’t know what the Queens Award is – About the Queen’s Awards
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious accolades for businesses and individuals in the United Kingdom. The winners are announced each year on 21st April, Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday. The corporate awards recognise outstanding achievements by UK companies in three categories: International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Each Award is valid for five years and winners are invited to a reception with Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Her Majesty the Queen herself actually shakes the hand of the winners and gives them their award. Usually the Company is also visited by a Queens representative.
We are pleased to announce that we received our ISO9001:2015 Certification. Quality Standards are so important for a business. We are proud to have the ISO9001 Certification upgraded to ISO9001:2015. Later this year myself and another staff member are taking part in the training to work towards the next level of certification. Quality standards help to increases customer confidence in your organization as it shows you care for your customer business, and as in our case are committed to good quality standards of manufacturing & business practice.
Quality Standards help to improvement the credibility and image of your business – Because ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized standard, it has become the basis for creating a quality management system around the world, replacing many previously published requirements. When a company is looking for a supplier, it is often a requirement to have a QMS based on ISO 9001 in order to be considered. It is really important for us at The Smart Actuator Company to know that our customers can see we have this standard.
We want to improve our customer satisfaction – One of the quality management principles that are the foundation of the ISO 9001 requirements is to improve customer satisfaction by planning for and striving to meet customer requirements. Happy customers are exactly what we want.
Improve your evidence for decision making – We all make gut decisions in life but in business we need to work towards making more evidence based decisions. This is a professional process that is good for any business. Monitoring our internal processes means we can work towards constantly improving our use of resources and look at cost savings throughout the business.
Create a continual improvement culture – Continual improvement is a third quality management principle of ISO 9001. By adopting this culture to improve your processes and organizational output, you will find efficiencies and cost savings, including the use of systematic processes when problems occur in order to reduce the impact of the problem and increase the speed of recovery. By making this continual, improving year after year, the company can see continuing benefits from this.
Engagement of employees – Employees who are involved in the improvements of the processes they work with are happier and more engaged employees. Who better than the people working on the process to best identify the areas that need improvement, and to help to test and advance these improvements when they are implemented? Engaged employees are more productive and will help the company better improve and save, especially when they understand how the quality of the process depends on them.
The Smart Actuator Company hit the press this week when our Marketing Director Tonya O’Donnell was featured in the Hereford & Worcester Chamber of Commerce Business Direction Magazine in an article all about Global trade and our work with DIT. Headed ‘Smart Technology going global after DIT support’ the article was about our work with The Department of International Trade towards Internationalisation of our products and brand.
To make a business successful you need some key things. You need a great idea, you need to take advantage of technology, continue to innovate, put your customers at the heart of what you do, get organized, keep good records, analyse your market and … here comes the important bit; create a strong team.
A strong #creative team typically outperforms the gifted creative individual. There are of course exceptions & every team sometimes needs those gifted individuals and should allow for them to sometimes shine as stars. But even they need someone to make the tea or order the stationary !
Creating a strong team isn’t easy. It’s about good communication, clear vision, good organisation and effective leadership.
A great team will have a mix of skills, it needs a blend of temperaments: some that are happiest in the thick of things, others that are relatively impervious to the collective mindset. A team needs people who can turn the tide as well as those who ride the wave but they all need to be working towards the same goal. In work they need to be working towards the success and vision of your business.
A good team working well to it’s different strengths but with the same goal in mind will achieve greatness.
One thing you can do to help a team work better together and understand their strengths is to invest in training. This week we took part in a team Skills workshop. Unfortunately there were no marshmallow tower building but we did spend 2 days learning all about what makes a good team, good communication & how to deal with change. All in all a great 2 days.
We learnt a lot about our collective skills and it was really interesting to see that as a collective team we have a broad range of skills. We had a lot of Implementers which thankfully means lot’s of hard workers with loyalty towards the business. Across the rest of the skill set we had some strong managers & co-ordinators (interestingly family featured high in these categories) and some great team workers with lots of high score in the completer-finisher category. Which means we are motivated to work towards our common goal and complete the task!
I think everyone enjoyed the sweets & toys. It was especially interesting to learn that fiddling with a gadget or toy rather than being distracting actually opens up the creative side of your mind and allows for greater learning.
Lots to take in but sometimes you need to go away and digest new information. You often find that afterwards things come back to you that help further down the line. Continuing to grow and develop as a person can only add to your success in life and work.
At the Smart Actuator Company we are already a rapidly growing business going through a period of change and developing an ethos that we will invest in knowledge and the skills to continue to succeed is a great thing.
Thank you to HR Champions and to Cathy in particular who was our trainer and facilitator for the two days.
Looking forward to more success with a great team in place.
Branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names. Ironically some big brands work to try to look more like small firms in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support independent brands. A brand is a promise. You know what you will get with a well established brand.
A brand is not just a logo or how a business is perceived externally. Branding at the heart of the business. So much so that in many ways you could almost substitute the word brand for business.
Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business’ “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.
The benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other. When customers connect emotively — because they share the same values and beliefs of a brand — it leads to higher sales and better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty, advocacy and can even protect your price in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales. It can also give you the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.
Brand Finance Global Forum 2017
Last week Brand Finance released the 2017 Global Lists of top and most successful Brand. Our Chairman Tony O’Donnell & his wife Chris O’Donnell were invited to attend the prestigious Global Forum Event at the Mansion House in London. We would love to eventually see our Brand both RIFT Technology (the power inside SmartAct) and SmartAct appear on those lists. Brand Finance actually value our Brand for us and do predict good things for the company & the brands.
The VIP event was held at the Mansion House in London and was sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services & Novagraaf. A welcome address was given by Alderman Sir David Wootton & Lord Mayor Locum Tenens. David Haigh CEO of Brand Finance PLC also grace a talk.
The menu was fabulous, Tony & Chris had a great time. It was interesting to be among the big Brands that received awards and hear from them why they think they are successful.
One of the most interesting talks was from the lady who received the Lego award. She firmly stated that the most important people in their business was their customers – the kids !!! Yes the parent’s spend money but the products need to make their customers happy & be what they want. Their customers are mostly the kids of the world ! Big & small. Lego listen to their customers & continue to innovate to keep their customers happy. Two very important lessons for any business.
One of the fastest growing Engineering Manufacturing companies in the Midlands The Smart Actuator Company (SmartAct) is a real success story. On Friday 27th January the company was delighted to welcome Harriett Baldwin MP, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, to officially open their factory at Advantage Business Park in Spring Lane, Malvern.
MP Harriett Baldwin was one of the first people to see a demonstration of their Patented RIFT Technology in 2011 when the company began operating from a private house in Malvern Wells with just 3 people. From this humble start The Smart Actuator Company is now one of the fastest growing businesses in Worcestershire and has 16 people in their team.
The move to the new site gives The Smart Actuator Company the capability to expand production to meet growing demand.
Upon arrival. Harriett Baldwin MP cut the red ribbon at the front office and reception door before proceeding on a tour of the new factory. Harriet became the first person to officially sign the visitor book.
Harriett viewed the process involved in assembling and testing the SmartAct Actuators, and met a range of the skilled team who work to make the Smart Actuator Company a success.
SmartAct began by developing a new range of highly energy efficient actuators, or motorised valves. Now it is working on projects to extend the technology in to different applications which include traction drives for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as a range of electricity generators.
James O’Donnell, who accompanied Harriett on her tour, and is the SmartAct MD said, ‘Our team of people owe Harriett a big thank you for finding the time to come along and support us today. This is just the next step for us; we plan to invest up to £9 Million to build a brand-new, state of the art factory and Research & Development Centre in Malvern over the next few years. Hopefully, we can do that here on the Advantage Business Park but if not then we have two or three other sites as possibilities in the Malvern area.’
Harriett Baldwin said, ‘This is another success story for a Worcestershire business which has brought new products to market based on game changing technology. Their continued success means more jobs and prosperity for our local community and I will continue to support them in whatever way I can in the future’
Most of the current SmartAct products are exported and this is likely to be the same for any new products looking forwards. We work closely with The Department of International Trade, local Chamber of Commerce and the British Valve and Actuator Association to ensure success internationally, nationally and locally.
The secret to the success of the SmartAct product range is collaboration with the right people and organisations as well as great technology. The core technology is lightweight, uses much lower levels of raw materials, is massively more energy efficient and reduces the carbon footprint by up to 75% compared to traditional designs for motors and generators. This means that we have both a great technologically up to date smart product that is also very environmentally friendly.
Great to see the team getting into the Christmas spirit. You have to love a good Christmas fun jumper. After a really great successful year the team deserve a day out at the Annual Christmas party. The Christmas jumpers were optional but it’s fabulous to see everyone really embracing the positive energy at the moment and the fun of Christmas with a fun display of tacky attire. Wishing all our distribution partners, customers and fans a wonderful Christmas and Good tidings for 2017. It will be a great year.
On a side note our company Inventor / Technical Director James O’Donnell showed us a perfect example of what happens when an engineer buys a Christmas Jumper !!
The Smart Actuator Company team celebrated a successful exhibit and event at ValveWorld Expo 2016 in Dusseldorf.
Whether you are an exhibitor or a visitor, trade fairs and consumer shows are great places to network and forge good business relationships. One of our industry largest exhibitions is ValveWorld. ValveWorld Expo takes places every other year in Dusseldorf Germany. In between there is also a ValveWorld America Expo as well as an Inonesian Expo. This is the second time we have attended ValveWorld in Dusseldorf and each year we get better at both organising our exhibition, collecting and capturing leads and ensuring we have a successful exhibition experience. This year we used MyFairTool as a lead capture program which enabled us to instantly capture the information of our visitors and email them to say thank you for visiting our stand as well as give a contact for future correspondence.
As well as making new connections which we hope to do future business with we were also able to launch a new product. If you have a new product and you want to promote it this is the perfect time. We introduced the Small 0 – 40 Nm Electric Actuator featured both on our stand and at our launch event.
We also featured the subsea large Electric Actuator which was on display in it’s water tank for full effect. For full product information of any of our Electric Actuator’s please visit our download page where you can download a pdf Data Sheet Brochure or see our product page for more information.