Farebrother Limited is a quality award winning company with over 40 years experience in the construction industry
Established in 1964, Farebrother carries out all aspects of mechanical and electrical installations across a wide range of industry sectors to either pre-designed or design and build specifications. Trading from its offices in Denton, Manchester, the company employs over 100 staff.
“We are a recognised by our customers and peers as a strong force in the field of electrical and mechanical contracting, offering a complete range of services,” says the company’s managing director John Edwards. “I’m not going to suggest we are unique, but a lot of organisations tend to treat the mechanical discipline as completely separate to the electrical discipline. We don’t do that; we treat it as one entity and always exceed our customers’ expectations. Integration and establishing client trust is an important aspect right through the business that our clients must be able to see.”
John is right – Farebrother, with its ability to deliver quality projects on time and within budget, regularly exceeds customer expectations. The company’s flexible approach to clients’ needs and a willingness to work openly with them has seen it gain an enviable reputation.
“In many respects our reputation precedes us,” continues John. “However, we strongly believe that you are only as good as your last job. As a result our levels of quality are extremely high and we are quite rightly benchmarked against our peers and do exceed the industry norm. Perhaps more importantly, our commitment and ability to deliver what the customer demands, on every job, means we receive a very high level of repeat business, with each year this being up to 90 per cent.”
Quality is vitally important to Farebrother and it is a pre-requisite for clients. The company runs several systems and processes to guarantee superiority, such as a number of key performance indicators that are assessed at 30 per cent, 60 per cent and at 100 per cent of the contract programme duration. The company believes that achieving quality involves recognition of all customer needs and the employment of an efficient management system that endeavours to satisfy each customer first time, every time.
Mike Smith, business development director, takes up this point and comments: “We are registered to ISO 9001 and all our quality management systems are geared to maintaining that, effectively. Quality is very important to us as it is a way of maintaining our reputation and it helps us go some way in maximising customer satisfaction. Our quality management system is hugely beneficial to us and is something we continually invest in.”
Health & Safety is extremely high on the agenda within Farebrother and it is extremely proud of its excellent record and statistics over the years. This has been recognised by the achievement of continual RoSPA Gold awards and also the prestigious CIBSE ‘Health and Safety Initiative Award’ in 2004.
John comments that: “As a company we are doing very well and this is down to doing exactly what we say we will. Our systems, be they quality systems, management systems, or otherwise, help us grow the business year on year.”
Over the years, Farebrother has grown through diversification into various market sectors, recognising the potential of growth areas and staying ahead of its competition. “As a dynamic company, we have been providing mechanical and electrical contracting services throughout the private and public sectors to a variety of different customers,” he adds. “It is important to stress, that we recognise the importance of meeting and exceeding customer expectations, as it is the only way of building long-term relationships with our clients. Our versatility, commitment and attention to detail are extremely appealing and assists us in receiving repeat orders.”
As a testimony to its success, over the last eight years Farebrother has won five CIBSE awards and in 2006 was a finalist in the CIBSE ‘M & E Contractor of the Year’ demonstrating its capability and recognition as a company who can deliver.
“Strong relationships with clients enable us to get to grips with industry issues and identify potential growth areas. We have never been afraid to follow our customers on their quests, providing their movements match our future strategy. This has seen us do work on projects on the continent and even around the globe.”
Through continued investment into people and resources, Farebrother’s continued aim is to become one of the UK’s leading contractors, providing the level of excellence required by customers, forging profitable business relationships and investing in people. “We are a people company and have a fantastic team spirit,” says John. “We really believe that as a team, we can succeed. Everybody enjoys working at Farebrother and we have been credited with the Investors in People accreditation, which we place a strong emphasis upon.
“Utilising strong internal communication, all Farebrother employees are aware of where the company is going as a business and what is expected of them. In any organisation, the further down the operational chain you go, the more fragmented ideals and visions become. Not at Farebrother. We work very hard to ensure that we all pull in the same direction and that everybody from boardroom level downwards does what is expected of them.”
Indeed, Farebrother likes to actively involve its employees in all processes, believing that by giving them increased responsibility, better quality standards will be achieved, as John explains: “Our employees are individually responsible for their own work and we provide them with continual training to constantly improve performance. There is a heavy sense of ownership within Farebrother, everybody takes responsibility for their own actions and does their own job, which enables the directors to steer the company forward.”
Looking to the future, Farebrother’s policy is to secure continued profitable growth by providing a consistently high level of service and ensuring customer satisfaction. In order to achieve these goals, Farebrother has developed and introduced a system of procedures throughout the company.
“From our perspective we have to continue to push through the idea that the name of Farebrother is about more than one individual,” comments John. “It is almost like brand recognition. We are not Virgin, for instance, but if someone mentioned the Virgin brand you could probably draw the logo yourself without looking at a piece of paper. I know we are infinitely smaller than the Virgin Group, but brand recognition is very much what Farebrother is about. It is quite heartening to know that from a client perspective, we have got a very good reputation in the market place. We obviously try and find out when we have been recommended to a client who referred us. Often they won’t tell you, but we find an awful lot that we have been recommended to clients because of our reputation for excellence.”
He continues: “There is lots of potential for us as a business going forward. I think any company that has good systems, is well managed and has good staff in place is highly appealing, especially when they deliver quality on every job. I don’t believe that there is a single client out there that doesn’t understand the value of the pound and we provide excellent value for money.
“A client should get what he pays for. That is very much how we operate. We often go out of our way and assist with services that are not really within our remit in order to make sure the client gets what he wants. We very much work ‘with’ the client instead of ‘for’ the client.”
He concludes: “If we continue to remain where we are in terms of our attitude, approach and quality, then I think there will always be a place for Farebrother. Obviously, we look for repeat business and we are not there to do just one job and move on. Once we have a client, we then build a relationship that he can trust. The client has to be able to trust you, if there is no trust then there is a problem and you almost certainly won’t achieve success.”