TMP Solutions design and produce innovative engineering products for highways, cycle routes and car parks. New MD, Suzanne Day, joins Highways for a Q&A to discuss new products, good bosses and sector-wide collaboration
What is your professional background and what brought you to TMP Solutions?
I have a strong background in sales and have worked in the automotive production industry. My last MD job was in the hydraulics industry. I have also worked with the Department of Energy and Climate Change in supplying product to the Public Sector. While I have not worked directly in the highways industry before, I do understand the route to market as I have previously been involved with local authorities and been involved in tender processes through the construction industry.
I was attracted to TMP because it is a perfect sized business. We have a single-site manufacturing base, which gives us full control of the manufacturing process . I like to get close to the coal face, which you can’t always do when a business is on multiple sites. I have been here three weeks now and have spent some time on the shop floor and been to see the customers. Put simply, I love production and am passionate about manufacturing in the UK.
What is your plan for the future of TMP Solutions?
We are really in a great position. We invented the rebound bollard in the early 2000s. It is made in Britain and we actually export to Hong Kong specifically. How great is that? We are also part of the Dewhurst Group, so we have the capital and the scope to expand and double the business, we have ambitious plans for the years ahead.
We are leading the march on the eco side. We plant a tree for every product we sell – you can check on the website where they are planted, it’s worldwide. We are also looking at the use of recycling and really making inroads in that. I would like to get together with all the other companies, forget the competition for a moment, and set a coherent approach to the eco elements so we all operate and measure our products to the same standards. It’s what the market needs at the moment.
What new products do you have planned?
We have a couple of prototypes out there, one of which has proven very popular and we hope to launch it before Christmas. It is the NonCrete (non-concrete) bollard. It’s a lightweight bio-polymer product, used for highway and place segregation rather than impact protection, but it means there is a good alternative to a concrete bollard when you don’t need to use one. So it helps cut carbon and improve efficiency and ease of installation.
Has TMP Solutions seen any recent changes in the market? Any new questions being asked by clients?
It is an exciting time I think and a lot of local authorities are replacing old stock with recycled and recyclable products. We are really innovating in this area and the customers appreciate it. The market is essentially the same but it is much more environmentally aware. Eco issues are very high on the agenda and it just emphasises how important it is we work together.
What is your advice to someone coming into this sector?
It’s important to ensure that you treat your suppliers with as much respect as you treat your clients, especially in manufacturing. We are able to respond to an uplift in sales and without good suppliers, you can’t. Listening to the needs of the customers and their changing requirements is essential if you are to react to changing needs within the market.
What makes a good boss?
I have had some amazing bosses and I have had some horrors and I have learned more from the horrors because I have seen what not to do. You have to learn about your sector and your products, know the market and deliver on your promises. I can’t bear egos. I like to get out on the shop floor and find out from the market what is happening. You cannot make informed decisions from behind a desk. There are so many good ideas that can come from the team because they know the machines, they know the products and the market.
What do you think makes TMP Solutions unique?
We are more focused on environmental issues. We innovate and ensure we are constantly looking at improving and evolving. We are incredibly efficient as a company and I have been made very welcome. We are investing in new machinery to reduce carbon in the factory and make the manufacturing itself more efficient. We have electric vehicles on the road. It is our intention to ensure we don’t just deliver what our customers need, we go one step further. More on our Climate Positive Pledge can be found here.
Printed in Highways magazine 2021