Power Players 2021: number 7

Part of Management Team Scomac crop
Some of ScoMac Catering Equipment’s management team: (l-r) Ian MacKenzie, Martin Tutt, Steven Shepherd, Maryann Thomson and Neil Trotter.

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Lothian-headquartered ScoMac Catering Equipment usually publishes its annual results in arrears just after the Power Players rankings finds its way into print, so we can currently only include the Scottish distributor on the strength of its 2019 report.

But the dealer and its parent company, Unitech Industries, feel they had a solid foundation to manage the financial downturn in the wake of coronavirus’ financial impact. In the 12 months to 31 December 2019, ScoMac generated £13.6m in revenue, 16.5% up on 2018’s £11.7m, which meant the business has risen one place in this year’s Power Players listing. Operating profit increased at an even faster rate of 68%, from £249k to £419k. However, gross profit margin slipped slightly from 28% in 2018 to 26% in 2019.

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MD Steven Shepherd painted a picture of last year’s situation for the firm: “I have had the pleasure of working with
some really experienced managers and colleagues over the years and both watched and assisted in some really difficult challenges, but there was not a manual for this one, no book to dust down off the shelves or Google search to call upon.

“Dropping our staffing levels by 95% at the peak of lockdown whilst trying to keep an optimistic outlook to all around us was difficult but I thank our staff for their maturity and understanding throughout; this was a great boost to me personally to keeping us going and push forward.”

Although the company has branches across the UK with the facility for Zoom and Teams communications, the pandemic prompted ScoMac to utilise the apps to their fullest. “In early March last year came the harsh reality of trying to run the complete business remotely, cutting back staff movements to close to zero and calculating who can work from home and if the right facilities are in place,” explained Shepherd.

Steven Shepherd, MD, ScoMac Catering Equipment.

“The blow of full lockdown stopped this in its tracks. Cut to 6 months later when half your day is spend on video calls and  finding ways to transfer details and information across the UK whilst most people still have their pyjama bottoms and slippers on out of view of the camera. Now a year on we have more staff within the buildings and a portion working remotely, but I feel we have all realised that remote working can work for certain roles in the business and allow greater flexibility in staff members’ days and work-life balance.”

And in terms of operator assistance, he underlined: “Right from day one our service division offered around the clock support to customers from care homes to hospitals, government facilities and prisons, evolving in the way we work for gaining access and working safely within clients’ premises to carry out emergency works to keep them operational. Then as construction operations came back online the contracts division was on hand to assist with getting key project works completed and open for use.”

Supplier shout-outs

ScoMac Catering Equipment MD Steven Shepherd said of the company’s suppliers: “We feel overall the supply chain have done really well in supporting ScoMac, keeping us informed on where they were on staffing levels, stock and communication as they built back up. I am always pleased to hear about large volumes of work that have come back online, as I want everyone to survive this pandemic and prosper so that tomorrow can be that little bit brighter for all.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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