How long have you worked at Cadline?
When and why was the company started?
The company was founded in 1990 to provide CAD training.
What have been the major turning points?
The biggest turning point was moving from a dedicated training business to selling and supporting CAD software.
Other significant points have been segmentation into focussed architectural, construction and Manufacturing teams (with the acquisition of a Manufacturing reseller) and being one of the first Autodesk Partners to become accredited at the highest Platinum level.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
Maintaining a culture of caring to be the best we can for our customers, staff and stakeholders, whilst simultaneously making an operating profit. This can’t be taught. Senior managers and managers have to feel it too and then cascade it to their teams by good example. This ensures we deliver the best customer experience.
What changes in the industry have you seen in the past 30 years?
On the technical front, we’ve seen a move from creating dumb geometry, effectively just replacing drawing boards, to industry-specific 3D design tools that can predict the behaviour of the designer’s intent and optimise it.
We’ve moved from data being something that was a by-product of the drafting process to something that is now key to the design process and as such, we have had to help our customers with their data and process management capabilities.
From a commercial standpoint, I’ve seen enormous consolidation of the reseller channel we operate in, with far fewer resellers now. In their place are larger, often more global resellers.
If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?
Removing some of the “walls” that still exist between departments. As we move deeper and deeper in to becoming an XaaS (Everything as a Service) company, the lines blur between divisional responsibilities and measures of success. We are not alone with this challenge but in terms of our business model, and structure, I think we’re taking strides now.
What are you most proud of?
Driving the revenue growth of Cadline whilst maintaining best in class support. One of my worries has always been a client saying that we were great to deal with when we were a smaller company, but as we’ve grown, this focus has gone. I believe we have grown the business with an ever-greater focus (and investment) in delivering a great customer experience.
What were the company’s long-term goals, did you achieve them, and how?
The original goal was to build Cadline to be one of Autodesk’s best partners in the UK. We achieved this through a strategy of market share acquisition and capitalising on this with the expertise and enthusiasm of the Cadline staff. The next goal was to become one of Autodesk’s Premier partners in Europe. This ambition has been achieved by providing best in class service delivery, customer satisfaction, employee talent and sustainable growth. This enables us to invest in the business as our aims become more global.
How important is company culture to you? What measures do you take to maintain your desired culture?
Culture is very important. It makes Cadline a good place to work and a good company for our customers to do business with. This, in turn, makes Cadline a more successful business. Culture can’t be taught but it can be felt, and everyone knows when it’s right. Of course, the management team have to put KPIs in place to deliver our financial goals, but we are also mindful of what this means to individuals and their working environment. Our precepts of Passion, Integrity, Expertise and Teamwork are always there to guide the culture.
How would you sum up Cadline in one word?
How would you describe your management style and how does that help customers?
Focused and results driven. Whilst wanting competitive deals, our customers understand that it is financial success that allows us to invest in the right resources to provide them the best customer experience. Like everyone at Cadline, it is devastating to hear when a client isn’t happy. A resolve to mitigate these occurrences happening in the first place and dealing with them effectively when they do, is good in constantly improving Cadline and making our customers happier.
What has been the best bit for you in the last 30 years?
Recent events tend to be the ones that resonate most, but even allowing for that, I think the best bit was A2K investing in Cadline. This not only moves us into the global “premier league” of resellers but is a testament to the success of the business we have all built up.
Who has influenced you the most?
One of the first MDs I worked for, Peter Reynolds. Peter was my mentor and taught me a lot about being organised, setting goals, selling and negotiation. To this day, I still find myself asking “what would Peter have done” in difficult situations.
What do you do when you aren’t at Cadline?
Ride and play with motorcycles of all descriptions, skiing and spending time with my family and friends when I can.
What does the future hold now for Cadline?
Our clients will increasingly expect us to help them deliver outcomes rather than simply sell them products and services. This will change everything; from the skills we need to how we are remunerated. As part of the A2K Group, the future looks really exciting and we will be able to deliver a wider range of solutions to our customers on a global scale.