Want to know what excites David about WesCom Defence and his hopes for the business over the next few years? Get to know David better in our in-depth question and answer Spotlight feature:
Question: Within your new role, what are you responsible for?
Answer: I am responsible for the Defence business (including Pyromechanics). My main focus is on winning new business, with order intake being my primary measure of performance. I am responsible for delivering the expected/planned growth.
Question: What experience do you have in the sector?
Answer: I previously worked for Survitec Group where I was responsible for its Defence, Aerospace and Industrial business, having started as a trainee designer in 1989. My most recent role in Survitec included the management of 40+ commission agents operating in 50+ countries and I was directly involved in most, if not all, of the OEM relationships. I was fortunate to work on some of the biggest defence projects in the world, notably F-35 Lightning II, Typhoon, USAF Integrated Aircrew Ensemble and US Navy for Submarine Escape.
It was a very interesting and rewarding experience to see the business I was responsible for grow from £20m to £130m during my tenure.
All of my experience had different challenges but I will always be proud of what I and the team at Survitec achieved and hope that my experience will now help WesCom succeed in achieving its goals and objectives.
Question: What is your perception of WesCom Defence within the market?
Answer: WesCom is the undisputed leader in the supply of pyrotechnic safety and survival products in Marine and I believe it has the potential to achieve the same status in Defence. It is a good business today – trusted by its customers – and I am certain it has a lot of potential to grow into a really great business.
Question: Why did you choose to join the brand?
Answer: I had some exposure to the business and its people immediately before joining at the end of February 2020. It was the integrity, commitment, professionalism and passion of the people for the business that impressed me the most. I believe the WesCom Defence brand has huge potential to grow and increase its market share. The team has done a great job already growing sales revenue to €10m per annum and we are developing plans to build on this. I believe I can help WesCom realise its full potential and we are already seeing encouraging signs in terms of pipeline development and customer intimacy. For example, we have now more energised agents and field sales representatives with more effective and aligned marketing and communications. Also, the acquisition by Sun European means that the business now has the backing, both in terms of finance and leadership, with an owner that really wants to make a good business great.
Question: Within the market, what makes the brand stand out against its competitors?
Answer: WesCom Defence has three primary product groups – Signalling & Illumination, Training and Simulation and Minefield Breaching/Obstacle Clearance. Our brand is solutions-focused and we strive to deliver products that meets the specific – and often, bespoke – needs of our customers.
Question: What are your aspirations for the brand over the next 12-24 months?
Answer: The team is developing a strategy that will see us treble the size of the Defence business in next 3-5 years. Some of this will achieved organically and some of the growth underpinned by acquisition. We are making good progress on two or three acquisitions that would really accelerate the plan, if concluded successfully. And we are working on the actions that will underpin the organic growth already, and are making good progress.
Question: What are you most looking forward to, over the next 12-24 months?
Answer: Spending more face-to-face time with my colleagues in Bremerhaven and Havant, plus meeting our extended family of agents and representatives. I have now successfully hosted video conferences with nearly all of our existing representatives over the last 2-3 months and these have been extremely useful for me to make introductions, share with them my ambition/vision for the business and also learn about the local market dynamics, risks and opportunities. I am extremely grateful for time afforded to me by our agents and representatives and the support throughout of my colleague Holger Mügge who provided the corporate knowledge and continuity.
We have also been busy identifying where in the world WesCom needs to appoint new agents/representatives and hopefully I will be able to confirm a number of new appointments in the next few weeks, once we have formalised contracts. Plus we will be strengthening the sales team with the appointment of a new Regional Head of Sales to work alongside Holger and Mitch Zakula, so that we can drive the business to realise its potential. Announcements will follow in the coming weeks.
Question: What are you proud of achieving since joining the brand (and in lockdown)?
Answer: I think we have made really good progress as a team. Together, we have developed a robust strategy and the entire business feels more positive about the outlook for Defence as a result of us having a clear and cohesive plan. We are more confident in our ability to compete and win.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in your role to date?
Answer: I am hungry to get a much better technical understanding of the WesCom product portfolio and the associated technologies. I have a lot to learn still and being confined to working from home due to the pandemic has been less than ideal in this regard, but it is reassuring to know that we have such a knowledgeable team in Germany and Havant that always appear happy to help me.
For more information about David Griffiths’ role at WesCom Defence, his career and experience, see the appointment press release.