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Sean Carr Lining Technology Ltd

Sean Carr Lining supplies and installs geosynthetic lining for a range of industries and environments; this can include lagoons for farmers, anaerobic digestion containment, ponds and reservoirs.

Learning points

  • The nature of some industries means that businesses will continue to work predominantly in a non-digital way.
  • Whilst home working can be beneficial, consideration needs to be given to internet speed and the impact of other household members accessing the internet at the same time.

Overview of the business

Picture of Sean Carr logo

The business’ work is predominantly at large landfill sites, ensuring that run-off does not contaminate local water supplies. The type of work involved, because of landfill, is weather-dependent [the welding required cannot be done in high wind and/or heavy rain].

Therefore, a large portion of work is seasonal in nature, meaning that the business has a core team and equipment [welding equipment, vehicles etc.], with additional workers and equipment being hired when needed. The business features on the approved supplier list for a number of organisations and offers services throughout the UK.

The managing director has over twenty years’ experience in the sector, working in it from when the sector was in its infancy. He is also Chairman of the British Geomembrane Association, and is well known throughout the industry. These factors, along with the business’ reputation for getting jobs completed, are major selling points to customers.

Front cover picture of information flows

Sean Carr Lining Technology Ltd information flow diagram

7 July 2017

Highlighting the internal and external communication flows of the business.

DownloadWord

Superfast broadband adoption

The business does not have a centralised office, with three ‘office’ staff working remotely from home. One of these staff is the owner, who provides quotations in person and operates in a ‘hands on’ manner – this is considered typical for a business of this size within the industry.

As a result, members of staff are reliant on their home network speeds, which they consider sufficient when working, especially as in the daytime, other family members are typically not at home using the broadband connection at the same time.

Another way in which members of staff combat limited broadband speeds is to pause ‘synching’ on applications such as Microsoft Office and OneDrive, then allow these to run at the end of the working day or periods when the internet is not being used. This highlights the intricacies of working from home that are not always apparent and are particularly prevalent in rural parts of Wales.

IT skills capacity

IT skills rest mainly with the office staff who use e-mails, research on the internet and update the business website. The business utilises Office 365 and OneDrive. Despite becoming more digitalized in recent years, the tender processes [pre-qualification] that the business engages in do not rely on extensive IT skills or particularly high-speed internet. ‘On the ground’ staff are highly specialised in their field but have little to no need to interact digitally.

Use of digital skills

The business recognises the impact of a digital profile in attracting customers and meeting the customer’s needs. Sean Carr Lining has a comprehensive website that details the services that it is able to provide, and information on recently completed projects.  Typically, most sales come through repeat business or referrals, with Sean Carr Lining having an excellent reputation within the industry. Alongside personal referrals, customers typically find the business through internet search engines such as Google.

Sean Carr Lining has engaged with traditional marketing in magazine publications such as Farmers Weekly, producing fliers and attending events. However, the business has found relatively little return to date from these channels. Its products are not ‘impulse buy’ but rather form part of an industrial supply chain.  This makes a website an important feature for confirming their capabilities for those customers who are referred by others.

The website features a photographic blog of the work currently being undertaken by the business, which further promotes their work.

As a business in a traditional sector (construction), interaction with customer and suppliers includes both digital information flows and more face-to-face interaction (please download the information flow diagram for more information). It has adopted a range of digital technologies such as Office 365 to support its business processes.

Business performance

Sean Carr Lining has a small ‘office’ staff team where superfast connectivity is not integral to its operations. With no requirement to upload or download large files at present, the business does not see the costs involved in investing in faster connection speeds as justified, as it sees relatively little material benefit to business performance would be obtained.