Peter SDC Northampton
Peter SDC Northampton

Age is just number – Following a recent contract award our Managing Director Mark Day got to know a very a special individual…

By Tom Richards - December 21st, 2022 | Posted in Article

The number of people who work beyond state pension age – which is currently 68 – is around 1.5 million. Some keep working because they need the money, others because they enjoy their role and don’t want to stop abruptly. Although most people retire when they reach state pension age, you do not have to. The state pension age ended in 2011, so you no longer have to stop working at 65 if you don’t want to.

At Proceed Solutions we are pleased to discuss retirement as part of an annual review and reach an individual agreement with each employee. One such employee Peter Holland, born in Birmingham on the 17th June 1946, he went straight from school into the Carpet and Textiles trade making the fibres (pile) that go into every carpet. Peter’s Management & leadership skills quickly shone through; he was soon promoted to the Marketing Manager where he stayed for 15 years. In 1995 using his knowledge of carpets, textiles and flooring, Peter decided to start his own specialist cleaning business.  This flourished and he was well sort after within the cleaning industry using his unique talents for several of the country’s biggest cleaning companies. As cleaning companies began to realise that they could offer more options to their clients they began to go down the route of using their own teams to carryout specialist works. As Peter’s business began to slow down, he had an offer from a friend to assist running his cleaning business, in 2007 he joined Calibre Cleaning. Where he stayed until they were acquired in 2011.

Peter then went into Site Manager Cleaning roles, specialising in distribution centre cleaning, he worked for a few companies looking after some of the country’s largest distribution centres.

He then went back to Northampton where he worked for Bow Draper looking after the Wickes Store Distribution Centre.  During his career Peter has worked with many companies and learned many things and certainly, how not to do things! During his 50-years within the cleaning industry, he has seen so many advances from using mop & buckets to clean floors, to big industrial floor machines. At Proceed Solutions we endeavour to provide not only the right equipment for the work but also the right equipment for the team member to use.

When I was first introduced to Peter he was a TUPE transfer.  It was evident then that we had someone joining our business that was quite simply a special character, his personality shone through. Although Peter’s body may be beginning to deteriorate, the twinkle in his eye shows that he still has that pride to make sure he delivers that perfect service to our clients first and every time was evident from the start.

During this initial team meeting, I spent time discussing the equipment on site, he informed me that the pedestrian scrubber drier they currently had on site was too big and cumbersome for the area it was required to work in.  I discussed the Imop with Peter although he had never heard of it by the time of our next meeting a week later, he had been online and investigated everything about it… He informed me that it would not only be good for the canteen and corridor environment but also the toilet blocks dotted throughout the distribution centre.

With Peter’s guidance and site knowledge we purchased two machines. 3 month’s into the contract the team have totally transformed the floor cleaning and the standards are apparent for everyone to see.

Since we have started the contract, I have visited Peter and the site many times. I find my conversations with Peter invigorating, his energy & enthusiasm is quite simply second to no-one I have ever met before!

We discuss many things about the industry but both of us find ourselves talking about the frustrations within our profession. Peter has firm beliefs that cleaning companies should act more professionally, they should understand that their clients are their competition!  If you manage them look after them provide a top-class service, they will have no desire to go anywhere especially if you manage to get the cost right.

It still perplexes me that the biggest companies still work through a sales sheet that is so rigid that it cannot be adjusted, I can simply demonstrate that by saying Peter would do a very dirty job every Saturday cleaning the grease traps out in the kitchens onsite, he simply asked for a big wet pick up that could suck up the grease simply and easily with little disruption and mess to the surrounding area. He was informed by the old company the money was not in the budget, so he had to carry on emptying the grease and sludge with a jug and a bucket, then carry it through the site to dispose of it!

I have already alluded to Peter’s hands, this surely does not help him or the site as it actually took longer to clean up the overspill than it now does to do the job.

Of course, the feedback that Peter and the team give to our new client, is that Proceed Solutions are the best company they have ever worked for, this praise is better than anything our sales team can deliver or promise, the proof is in the long serving loyal team that have been transferred to Proceed Solutions.

I have shown Peter the above mini autobiography, he was very pleased that I / Proceed Solutions had spent the time to listen to him understand his requirements but most importantly tap into that incredible knowledge he has and is willing to share, he just needed someone to listen.

We at Proceed know that age is sometimes just a number, the information that an individual can bring to an organisation is invaluable and should not be put out to rest but tapped into.

I enjoy my chats with Peter, long may they continue…. Thank-you Peter