10 in 10 Chris Oldroyd MD Inprotec
Chris Oldroyd, managing director of Wakefield-based pyrometallurgical engineering company Inprotec, is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as The Yorkshire Times gives him just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions....
What does a typical working day for you involve?
My days tend to start early and finish quite late as we do business all over the world, so I have people contacting me 24 hours a day. I tend to review emails from the East in the evenings at home and check emails from the West in the early hours.
Having checked my emails, each day tends to start with a team catch-up. We’re a small team and everyone has a unique skill, so we use our morning meetings to discuss any challenges and put plans in place to effectively manage forthcoming activity.
Brilliant technical support is at the core of our offering and as a priority, following the team meeting, I’ll always focus on any technical support that our customers require to help them overcome any challenges and maintain production, which is paramount to the successful running of their businesses.
Following that, in any given day I’ll tend to focus my efforts on sales, project management, administration and business strategy. Sales are key to the success of the business, so I’ll often find myself attending meetings or making calls to discuss future potential projects and concept designs.
I also tend to get involved in the commercial management of live projects. People don’t necessarily realise it, but as an MD and business owner there is a huge amount of administration to keep up with, whether it relates to HR, compliance, facilities management, finance or insurance, so managing this takes up a big chunk of my time. And then there’s reviewing my business strategy and planning for the future – often the last thing on the list, but actually it’s the area where I most wish I could spend 90% of my time.
What makes your company special?
We specialise in a very niche engineering sector, which is the bespoke design and supply of processes and equipment to the precious and non-ferrous metals industry. Of the companies that do what we do, they tend to be huge multi-national businesses who only focus on the really big net-worth jobs.
At Inprotec, we work with major international businesses, but we focus on smaller scale, more specialist projects, drawing on our wealth of experience, intellectual property and specialist skills to service these to the highest level. Being a small company means that our customers get to know us personally, and we repay their trust with a service that meets their timescale and technical demands exactly. We’ll always go the extra mile for our customers; for example, we put significant emphasis on customers witnessing the factory acceptance testing of everything we supply to ensure they have the opportunity to get to know and understand the plant and its operation at our facilities, before it is implemented at their site. As a business we never stand still, we’re always innovating our product and service offering to ensure it remains industry leading, with customer needs and requirements central to everything we do.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
There are a few key rules that I follow. Test everything or it will come back to bite you, and don’t rush anything out of the door that isn’t 100% finished. Additionally, the importance of holding your nerve on price regardless of pressure to deliver something for a lower budget or within an unreasonable timescale cannot be underestimated. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten’.
Do you dress up or down for work?
It depends. If I’m meeting with customers or potential clients, I’ll always wear a pair of trousers and a shirt – I don’t think I own a tie anymore. But otherwise, you’ll tend to find me in jeans and a polo shirt.
What piece of advice would you give your 18-year old self?
Never give in to Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)… honestly you aren’t. Take every opportunity to expand your horizons in between study and work through travel and visiting new places and cultures. And, perhaps most importantly of all, look after your body – and ease off the beer.
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
We are spoilt for choice. We’re close to Xscape in Castleford and tend to go there to unwind or for special occasions. But, for us, the most important part of any away day isn’t the venue but just having the opportunity to spend relaxed time in each other’s company.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
It all depends on the distance I’m travelling. If it’s in the UK and more than a couple of hours drive, I’ll take the train. If it’s Europe or further afield, I’ll fly.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
Walking our dog Holly, with my wife Lucy and kids Emily and James, on many of the wonderful picturesque walks around Holmfirth and the Colne Valley.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?
My wife Lucy is the best chef I have come across – so I would say at home. She can turn her hand to any type of dish. I actually love to eat breakfast out as a little luxury, and the Yummy Yorkshire Hide and Hoof restaurant in Denby Dale do the best breakfasts on the planet in a lovely cosy setting.
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?
The dramatic landscape.