A recent visit to this care home, following a call from a longstanding industry colleague of mine, needing an urgent solution for an ‘at risk’ resident prone to having convulsions, took me right back to my early days in the business.
Way back then, we didn’t have the luxury of dedicated delivery drivers at Hcsuk and I remember clearly how I would don my business suit and heels for a meeting with Julian, who was then the proprietor at Tynefield Court. These guys were one of our first customers, and Julian liked a regular visit during which I would take his monthly consumables order for the supplies he needed for his care home.
It was always a substantial order, I remember, and having concluded our meeting and having thanked Julian for his valued business I would return to the office to process his requirements.
This involved firstly exchanging my suit for a pair of jeans, sweatshirt and trainers, hand writing his products onto a delivery note, grabbing the keys to our old faithful Luton van, and having reversed it into the loading bay, handballing 50 cases of product onto it.
I will never forget Julian’s look of surprise and faint amusement, when only hours after first meeting this professional looking suited and booted business woman, I arrived back driving a large van and unloading his goods into his designated storage area, his words, ‘Is that really you again Jo? And then he rolled his sleeves up and helped me get the job done.
And that’s what it was all about in the early days, whatever needed doing, we had to,( in the famous words of Nike,)’ just do it.’ With precious little technology to help us, no forklift trucks, no computers and proudly sporting new state of the art mobile bricks (phones) hanging in holsters at our hips!!
And yet we did it. I learnt each and every task that was required in the business for us to succeed, from sales and marketing, through finance to stock control and logistics. And 28 years on I can reflect back with pride on what we have achieved and how far we have come.
I am blessed to work with a great bunch of committed and talented guys who share my passion for delivering quality, fit for purpose product solutions to enable people to live safely, independently and with dignity in care and domestic settings. We have replaced our hand written delivery notes, invoices and ledgers with integrated computer systems, forklift and picking trucks enabling us to process, pick pack and load our customers’ orders in a much more efficient way.
And yet our values and our ethos have remained firmly imbedded at the very heart of our business. If our customers need goods in a hurry, we will still do everything in our power to deliver them in a timely manner, by whatever means necessary.
I remember asking a customer once, why do you like working with Hcsuk, Jill? And I will never forget her reply, ‘Jo, if the MD is willing to get in her car and deliver me an urgent order within 4 hours, I know I am working with people who care about my business, and THAT, is important.’
In a fast paced world of technology, automation and faceless businesses, for us, some things will never change..........