In a search led by UNW’s Strategic Talent team, ground-breaking attachment manufacturer Miller has recently appointed a business development director in a move that supports its growth target of achieving £50 million revenue within 5 years. We spoke with Chris Parkin, Chief Operating Officer, about the company’s growth plans, the creation of the role, and his experience using the Strategic Talent service.
Since its establishment in 1978, Miller has achieved a reputation of being revolutionary and forward-thinking. The organisation, which is headquartered in Cramlington, specialises in the supply of high-quality attachment solutions to the world’s leading earthmoving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), OEM dealers, and global excavator end users. After developing the world’s first ever fully automatic, universal pin grabber coupler range in 1986, Miller has continued to place innovation and ambition at its heart.
Following a strong period of expansion, the organisation now plans to extend its product portfolio and world-wide presence further. The business development director role was created to help achieve this target, and Miller utilised UNW’s Strategic Talent team, a service that specialising in board level and senior finance recruitment, in order to fill the position.
“We have quite an aggressive growth target,” Chris stated. “We call it 50 in 5 to reflect a target of £50m turnover in 5 years. To reach that level of turnover in that period of time, there was a recognition that we needed more top-level resource to come in, provide guidance, and help us achieve it. It was also identified that having a dedicated business development position would help us utilise our existing relationships to start exporting more of our products overseas. In essence, the role was created to enable Miller to expand.”
Following the creation of the role, it was decided that the company would look to Strategic Talent’s expertise to fill the position. Miller then worked closely with Peter Neal, head of the Strategic Talent, to find the right candidate. On the motivations behind this, Chris said, “We had used Pete previously, so we know that he is well connected with a strong network across the North East, and that he is very experienced in the art of recruitment. On top of this, a lot of people who have used the service in the past pointed us in the direction of UNW due to their approach, knowledge, and professionalism.”
The process to find the correct candidate to fill the position then started after a brief was issued to the Strategic Talent team. “We found the whole process to be great,” Chris comments. “Peter is completely transparent; you can have completely honest conversations with him. The level of communication was fantastic as we were going through the different people that we interviewed. He interpreted exactly what it was we were looking for, which is exactly what the business needed to achieve the growth that we’re anticipating, and brought us the right candidates.”
Following the recruitment process, Miller welcomed James Ross to their team as the new business development director. “The Strategic Talent team had a really good feel for the culture of our company,” Chris adds. “They were able to bring us someone knowing that they were a perfect fit. Within 30 seconds of meeting James, we thought ‘This is the person for the role.’ We loved his enthusiasm, and he liked the enthusiasm we had for where we want to take the business.”
James Ross joined Miller with a strong technological background and several years of experience in growing businesses, strengthening corporations, and aligning them with needs of the customer. Speaking about his decision to accept the position, he said, “There was an instant spark when I first met the executives at Miller; I understood their ambition and the journey that they have taken to achieve their success. They are so passionate about delivering the best service and products, so I’m excited to be an integral part of that.”
Further discussing the responsibilities of the role, Chris added, “James is going to be the outlet to our customers. He’s got a very good track record dealing with big customers, which is who we’re looking to work with. We have close relationships with the UK branches of global manufacturers, and we’re looking to develop relationships with their international counterparts. Outside of growing our UK market share, we’ve also identified some countries with very well-established attachment markets that the role will be focused on entering.”
Reflecting on the recruitment process and Miller’s relationship with the Strategic Talent team throughout it, Chris said, “It was definitely a really two-way relationship, and it was a very personable experience. Peter gave us his time, and we gave him ours, and we were able to appoint a highly experienced candidate. He was always available to talk to, and provided us with the advice we needed, when we needed it.”
He added, “I think that the problem with many recruitment agencies is that they’ll just provide you with the CVs of the people that are on the market at that moment in time. We didn’t have that experience with Peter or the Strategic Talent team at all. We could tell they were focused on finding the right person, not just for the position but for the culture of our company, than just putting candidates in front of us. If we’re able to achieve our growth targets, we’ll definitely be in need of more top-class individuals, and without a doubt UNW would be our first port-of-call.”