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50 years of D-Drill - Julie's PDI column

We are approaching a major landmark at D-Drill – we are celebrating 50 years since my dad, Peter, set up this fabulous business in an amazing sector.

I don’t like to use this column as a plug for my own business but I did want to reflect on those years and also the part that this great association has played in our survival and growth over that half of a century in operation.

My father has always been a big believer in sharing knowledge and ideas through the association and that is something I have been extremely keen to carry forward.

The role of president is something I never expected and I am thoroughly enjoying the role but, as ever, I would always welcome feedback from fellow professionals on how we can do things better and, also, any changes in the industry that you want to share or give a view on.

Of course, a great deal has changed in 50 years. The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album was the biggest record in 1967 – it’s Ed Sheeran nowadays, although apparently vinyl is back in – just as I have mastered streaming!

And, because of the anniversary, Sergeant Pepper was also one of the biggest albums of 2017 too. It just shows that if you get things right, you will be able to stand the test of time.

I love my dad’s stories from when he first set up. He started from home and the local phone box was where he took orders and made things happen before he moved into the company’s first offices.

It all sounds like a world away from where we are now with modern technology and, of course, it is.

So why has D-Drill stood the test of time over the past 50 years? I don’t think there is a secret to our success but I do believe that we have managed to evolve with the times and also stick to the principles that my father founded the business on.

We’ve embraced new technology and, when we’ve had to, even invented it to make sure we could deliver a contract for a client.

Our ethos has always been to find a way to deliver what our customers want. In many cases – and I am sure you will all totally get where I am coming from here – the customer doesn’t actually know quite what they want.

They know they have a problem, and here at D-Drill we help them to come up with the solution – and I am sure you are all exactly the same.

When I talk to Peter about it, he says that’s always been the case. He’d very often get a call that started: ‘we’ve got a problem and we are not sure what to do’ and he’d always find a way of solving it.

Technology has changed dramatically and helps us all to come up with new solutions but, for me, that can-do attitude is the reason for our longevity.

It’s not the machines or the computers that come up with the solutions – it’s people. Where some turn away from a challenge, we want our engineers to face it head-on and to go the extra mile in delivering what the client needs and beyond.

So while D-Drill has always embraced new technology, new methods of working and, at times, been the standard bearer for those, it’s that mindset that I think is what has been our biggest asset.

Clients don’t really mind which piece of kit did the work for them. I don’t get emails thanking me for using a certain piece of equipment or for the technology involved.

The messages of thanks I get through from clients about our offices around the UK tend to be ones that talk about members of our team and how they saw the problem, devised a solution and then executed it on time and on budget. I am sure that is the same the world over.

As I said above, I don’t like to use this column for the purposes of blowing D-Drill’s trumpet but because of the anniversary I wanted to reflect on that history.

And, knowing you all as I do, I am confident that the kind of ethos I am talking about is something you apply in your business.

I’d love to hear about your successes and your great stories because I think by sharing our knowledge and our way of working is what has helped us all to progress over the past 50 years and will stand us in good stead for the next 50.