An interview with Sounil Heeramun

Derby-based Tidyco, a supplier of hydraulic and pneumatic products to the UK rail industry for over 40 years; here talks to Sounil Heeramun about his development of the Commercial Operations Team, vision for the future and reasons for celebrating diversity within daily working practices.

Hi Sounil, you joined Tidyco as Commercial Operations Manager in May 2017. What changes have you made to your team and why?

Firstly, the initial team structure presented me with a great platform for development. I felt it important to transform the department, effectively instigating a re-branding exercise whereby the function was renamed to Commercial Operations Team.

A decision was made to avoid terminology such as sales or customer service so as to remove pre-conceived stigma associated with typically overused terminology.

Having created an identity for the team, a solutions based approach was activated so as to empower personnel to become account managers, working in partnership with their client portfolios.

Introducing commercial operations co-ordinators enabled the smooth management and allocation of all inbound enquiries. Upgrading systems and processes portrayed a slick, professional image to the external environment.

Instilling effective governance throughout the overall working process created tangible efficiency gains.

I successfully demonstrated to Boardroom level a measurable need to expand the team which allowed me to implement an intelligent recruitment campaign.

For example, Roxana Marcut has recently joined Tidyco as an account manager focussing specifically upon the export side of the business.

Unique with Roxana is that her background is not fully within sales. More importantly, Roxana is multilingual which is an exceptionally poignant skill to possess regarding communicating with an international audience.

What does the future look like for the commercial operations team?

My plan is to grow the team in terms of personnel, revenue and contribution.

Introducing internal and field-based key account managers will reap benefits regarding customer loyalty, trust and repeat spend.
I also intend to introduce a new business management function.

Chris Wallhead has proposed employing a dedicated purchasing professional, which is an excellent initiative to strengthen our service.

Continuous professional development is a necessity within the modern working environment and I will be introducing externally accredited training schemes throughout the department.

Why did you feel it important to introduce celebrating diversity to the corporate core values?

When you create a diverse culture and environment, people can do anything! There are many statistics available within the public domain regarding a need to improve diversity throughout the engineering industry and Tidyco is actively addressing these issues. Celebrating diversity presents opportunities to attract talent to the company allowing Tidyco to benefit from an eclectic mix of experiences.

Diversity drives innovation, increases productivity as well as generates a creative, engaging and supportive workplace.

About the author

Barry Aldridge MCIM

Head of Marketing at Tidyco Limited and member of the Board of Directors for Midlands Rail Forum.