Morley Glass & Glazing MD Ian Short discusses why he’s always first to work, looking at the bigger picture, glass crushing and even Walt Disney…

When did you start the company?
I started Morley Glass & Glazing in 1998 as a sealed unit manufacturer with a team of four.  I saw a gap in the industry for a high-quality niche product and started to manufacture sealed units with ScreenLine integral blinds inside from 2003. It really helped differentiate us and ensured we thrived. Today we have an expanded product range and we employ over 78 members of staff.

Describe your working day
Since I started Morley Glass one thing that has stood me in good stead is always being prepared to be the first to arrive! That can mean getting to the office at 5am but it’s worth it to have some relatively quiet time to reply to emails, catch up on paperwork and check my appointments for the day ahead. It also means I get more time to spend out on the shop floor during the day and in the office supporting the team there. I’m very lucky to have a fantastic General Manager, Kevin Murphy, who takes a lot of the day-to-day stress off my shoulders, and allows me to take the time to be in constant contact with our suppliers, including regular trips to Italy to discuss new product developments. I like to leave the office by 5pm as I’m involved with lots of charities and often have to go to trustees’ meetings or simply go and lend a hand in the evenings.

What is your workspace like?
I am a very clean and tidy person, so I insist that my workspace and indeed the whole factory are spotless and ordered. We moved to this factory in 2016 to increase our production capacity. We planned the space carefully so that it has a natural flow and is hugely efficient for the team so that they can easily manufacture up to 4000 sealed units with integral blinds inside every week. Everything has its place and I am notorious for walking around the factory floor cleaning and tidying so that we remain as efficient as possible.

What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk?
Keeping with the theme of tidy desk/tidy mind, the first thing I do every morning is to make a list of jobs to do that day. It’s very satisfying to cross things off the list through the day.

What websites help you?
Our own website is the biggest help to our business. We don’t employ any salespeople, but we have a fantastic PR and marketing agency which runs an integrated marketing campaign that directs traffic to our website and generates all our sales leads.

The Morley Glass social media channels are also hugely valuable in terms of engagement, direct sales and for sending people to our website for more information, quotes and to place orders. We try to have a mix of corporate and product info as well as charity news, fun competitions and industry comment.

Most useful business tool?
We recently invested in FleetWizard software which optimises the dispatch and delivery of our Uni-blind sealed units with integral blinds inside. The automated route planning software gives us a clear visual of our weekly orders nationwide and enables us to carry out easy load planning for our 26 vans that takes into consideration both location and load capacities, helping to save both time and fuel. We simply load data into the software’s easy-to-use dashboard which then automates multi-depot, multi-route, multi-drop scheduling. Optimal trips are created, and resources assigned in a fraction of the time needed for a manual planning process.

Best business decision in your current role?
Appointing a general manager to manage the day-to-day operations has given me the time to be a true managing director. My focus is now on the strategic growth of the business and can look at the bigger picture without getting too involved in the nitty gritty; I liaise with key suppliers and input on new product development initiatives; I enjoy inputting into the marketing campaign; and I love being in a position to give back to the local community and charities.

We recently installed a glass crushing machine into the factory which allows us to take the glass from old windows and doors from our customers, crush it and recycle it via Saint-Gobain Glass. This saves our customers time and money, as we don’t charge them to recycle it, and it prevents the glass from going to landfill. All the money that we receive from Saint-Gobain for the glass is then donated to local charities or community projects for environmentally friendly initiatives.

Favourite role models and why?
I respect and admire Walt Disney, business man Bob Iger and chef Raymond Blanc for their attention to detail and their recognition that one business isn’t about just one thing: it’s the many layers of quality and service that keep you focused and successful.

How do you unwind?
I learned to dance the samba and a few other dances a couple of years ago and I still love to dance when I can. It’s a great way to relax and forget the stresses of the day. I enjoy holidays with my family and I also love steam trains.