The success of Formation Works is fuelled by the many organisations who have chosen to partner us for their fixed and flexible office space solutions. To paint the fullest picture of what Formation Works life looks like, we’ll introduce you to some of the many people who make us tick across our various locations, beginning with our first in Armagh.
Allied Fleet Services Managing Director, Stephen McAneney, knows a thing or two about turning negatives into positives. In fact, he has built a successful business on just that. With the frustrations at ports caused by Brexit, he saw an opportunity to utilise his knowledge and experience in consultancy for the fleet and haulage industry to provide specialist assistance to frustrated business owners seeking rapid assistance. Fuelled by this success, Stephen had to seek an alternative to the office space he was quickly outgrown and made the move to Formation Works Armagh. We’re delighted he did. Read on to find out more about his experience.
Tell us a little about Allied Fleet Services and your role within the company.
I started up Allied Fleet Services back in 2017 after a career as a finance manager for a large scale transport business. During my time there I could see how smaller sectors didn’t have the resources to manage their fleet effectively and recognised a gap in the market for an external consultant to come along and help them review their operations to identify efficiencies and increase their profitability. I wanted to help people to achieve the success I knew they were capable of. After starting up this consultancy business, I quickly began to get referrals and took on my first staff member in 2018. We had set up a successful model, originally servicing customers in the Armagh and Portadown region, but very quickly spread across other regions.
As Brexit loomed, the nature of the business evolved and Allied Customs Services was born. We knew new arrangements would cause logistical nightmares for customers so we put all the necessary measures in place to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for them and they all jumped at the opportunity to engage with this new service. I won’t lie, it was a very difficult process to begin with and at times we were working 20 hour days 7 days a week to ensure our customers could continue to trade effectively, but it was so worth it when we could help them move freely at the ports while other lorries were caught in customs queues. Word quickly spread that our customers’ lorries weren’t experiencing delays and soon we had new customers in the manufacturing, packaging and food sectors, to name a few, reaching out to us for help. We gained some notoriety with press and local and national governments and had politicians reaching out to us for advice on how to negotiate the ports, so we knew all those late nights had been worth it!
Now we’re a bustling office of 15 staff and growing, and we’re enjoying this new chapter at our Headquarters in Formation Works, Armagh.
Have you always been based in Armagh and if so, why that location?
I’m a proud Armagh man and as such the initial draw to Armagh was probably one of loyalty to my own area. However the decision to set up the business here was a more strategic one in that we had an ideal catchment area for staff – attracting talent from Armagh itself, Portadown, Dungannon etc without a massive commute. With the Southern Regional College in the vicinity and excellent schools in the area, we have been able to recruit an enviable pool of talent. From a customer perspective too, the location suits us well for travelling to meet customers north and south as well as inviting them to join us here at our office.
What are your thoughts on the importance of an attractive office environment for staff? Is this of particular importance in an era where recruitment is such a challenge?
I always say that you spend too much time in work to work somewhere that doesn’t make you happy. An attractive office space is definitely high on my agenda for that reason. Our office here at Formation Works is professional yet comfortable and its been an important tool in attracting and retaining staff. Staff are key to this business and its success is down to them, so its only fair they have an office environment they are content with. You can tell by the interaction in the office how happy they are and that makes me more proud than any of the financial success of the company.
How did your move to Formation Works come about?
We had a really great office space at the Dean Swift Building in Armagh and acquired a couple of different offices during our time there, but we simply outgrew the space and wanted to have an office that could accommodate all our staff in the same office. We had looked at other locations across the city but when Stuart showed us the plans and finished drawings for Formation Works we knew this was the place for us. We had been accustomed to the ‘plug and play’ model so it meant a lot to know the building would allow us to get up and running quickly. With the onsite parking facilities and the quality of the shared facilities like the kitchen, showers etc, we knew it was the place for us.
How have you found the experience to date?
We have had a really positive experience to date at Formation Works. Our staff are happy and settled here and we have found it a superb location to bring customers. We have visitors here on a monthly basis and the meeting areas are ideal for making a good impression and helping people feel welcome. We never have any hesitation in inviting people here as we know the shared spaces are always kept so clean and tidy. Anyone we have had to visit finds the building very inviting and we’ve had very positive feedback from them too.
Stuart and the team are so accommodating and they are very proactive in implementing improvements throughout the building. Anything we wish to do ourselves is never any bother and if they can help us out they will.
From our own business perspective, it gives us great peace of mind to know this location gives us the space we need to operate effectively and will also allow future growth of the business.
What would your advice be to someone considering a move to a Formation Works property?
Come and see a Formation Works property for yourself. We’ve visited some of the other venues too and they share in the same level of professionalism and attractive surroundings as we enjoy here in Armagh. I’m pretty confident once you see one for yourself you’ll picture your organisation making its home here!
To arrange a viewing or for any queries on what Formation Works can do for you, why not Contact Us today.