Track Safe Telecom

Origins

The four directors have worked in the rail industry for the past 25 years. Having survived the Rail privatisation of 1994, each director developed new skills and finally took the plunge in 2001 and set up Track Safe Telecom. As the directors had built up close relationships with customers over the years, they approached a select number and presented their ideas on the services they could provide with indicative costs. Based on the feedback from this initial market research, they produced business plans with advice from Business in Focus. Despite having ambitious targets for first year growth, they focused on setting up detailed health and safety plans which were vital for trading in the railway environment. This meant for the first five months of trading, the firm had limited turnover and time as two of the directors maintained their existing jobs. They refused to compromise on safety issues and quickly built up a reputation for completing jobs time, to budget and zero accidents or incidents. All of this was completed despite constant pressure from cash flow as the firm didn’t rely on any borrowings.

Success Factor

The firm had very low overheads as it kept up a constant review on cashflow and didn’t borrow any cash. Attention to detail including Health and Safety planning and risk assessments for every activity. Customers saw this as a major benefit as they didn’t have the capability and competitors produced minimal effort in this area. Due to the directors’ past reputations, a major customer who provided services to the National Lottery enquired if the firm had the capability to provide services to 3500 locations through the UK. This included the Scottish Isles, Northern Ireland and the Scilly Isles. At the time, TST didn’t have its own premises or facilities hence had to organise suitable premises to ensure that the customer believed the firm capable of carrying out the project. In order to do this, another company agreed to let the company have their premises for the day and even agreed to wear TST company logos. Suffice to say the customer review went off without a hitch and the firm won the contract. To this day, when the music for the film "The Sting" is playing, the directors look back fondly on that occasion!

The Future

The firm has recently implemented new services, namely station and small building refurbishments, safety critical labour for major rail projects, and health and safety training for internal and external customers. These are seen as growth areas in the rail environment as Network Rail have published their investment for the next five years. Additionally, the business is in the process of negotiating large contracts for two telecom operators and if successful will provide a step change in turnover and profit. There is also the recognition of the need for professional business support and TST is attracting interest from companies who need to invest in the Rail market and see the firm as the vehicle to enter the market quickly. Finally, TST is preparing for its first ever major trade show in Manchester G-Mex and see this as a major springboard for the TST brand.