Interior and Installation

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice

pension auto-enrolment, VAT compliance, the use of subcontractors and health and safety are all areas that require constant investment of both time and money to ensure full compliance. In many cases, the required expertise is not available within our existing workforce and must be outsourced. We are also pleased to meet both the CHAS and SMAS accreditation for health and safety, and we work closely with a consultancy company that oversees compliance in that regard. The West Country is an extensive area that spans from the end of Cornwall through to Bristol and south Wales; access to a free-moving road network is essential. The recent opening of a link road to Torbay has helped, but we are still awaiting improvements to transport links for north Devon. Additionally, during the summer months, especially over the holiday period, there can be significantly increased transport times, which are an ongoing problem. Opportunities going forward The additional factory capacity has recently enabled us to develop new products. A line of custom furniture, the amalgamation of hard materials with glass and innovative bending techniques to shape quartz are exciting new developments that are taking the business in a new direction. Never content to stand still, we are always looking for brand-new opportunities. When the company was officially incorporated, I put my name above the door, and ensured that my standards and expectations were embedded in the company ethos: supplying the very finest products and offering a faultless customer service. I set out with a personal ambition to chase perfection, and be the best that I possibly could be. This rings through even now, 22 years on.

The new Steve Bristow furniture range

Issues of scale A bigger business is not always easy to manage – and our increase in size has brought real challenges. As an owner- managed business, I have personally found it sometimes difficult to let go of overall control and be confident to delegate. In our infancy, I was hands- on in all areas; stepping back and concentrating on the bigger picture, such as the business’s strategy, has not been an easy move. In addition, the systems and procedures that worked for the business when it was smaller are no longer appropriate; we require a greater division of duties, with staff employed across a diverse range of departments. Additionally, we are finding that areas that previously worked autonomously now require a greater amount of control, and this has resulted in the need for a complete overhaul in several places. Alongside all of these concerns, sustainability remains an underpinning issue, and we are striving to become entirely paper-free. Over the years, responsibilities placed on the company have increased significantly, and keeping on top of legislation has been nothing if not difficult. Employment legislation,

When the company was officially incorporated, I put my name ensured that my standards and expectations were embedded in the company ethos above the door, and

36 | STEVE BRISTOW STONE MASONRY

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