Beyond Tools: Navigating Business Success – Episode 1, The Importance of Collaboration

The first episode of the new ‘Beyond Tools: Navigating Business Success’ series, hosted by The National Home Improvement Council (NHIC), and sponsored by HIES Consumer Code and DGCOS, explores the importance of collaboration and building business relationships for installers in the renewables sector.

Host Anna Scothern (NHIC Chair) is joined by Jack White (Segen, Head of Business Development) and Jonathon Moorhouse (HIES Head of Business) to delve into the significance of collaboration in this sector, exploring the challenges faced and strategies employed to navigate them.

Renewable energy provides opportunities for both growth and success in the home improvement sector, but also provides challenges, with the market a sometimes tricky place to try and run a business. Collaboration and working together are increasingly becoming proven ways to help smooth the road. 

Navigating supply chain challenges together

Supply challenges are nothing new in the solar industry. Exponential growth and more recently, supply chain disruptions – for example, the shortage of battery systems during global issues like Brexit and the conflict in Ukraine – have led to unpredictability in the supply chain. This has been a learning curve for the industry, emphasising the importance of steady and sustainable growth over hypergrowth.

HIES Head of Business, Jonathon Moorhouse highlights the importance of close supply chain relations, especially when external events loom large:

“During this time, a lot of people contacted us knowing we had relationships with suppliers like Jack at Segen and other manufacturers. We were perfectly placed as a partner to facilitate conversations and collaborations to support them.”

Segen is one of the UK’s biggest distributors of renewable products, so ensuring the stability of their operations against supply chain challenges and a fast-growing market, has been paramount. Segen’s Head of Business Development, Jack White comments: “We operate in an industry often referred to as a “solar coaster” due to its fluctuating nature. Despite these challenges, we have proven our ability to navigate market fluctuations over the past two decades. Maintaining stable operations during industry growth has been crucial. Our focus on a solid supply and demand model and smart investments in resources has helped us navigate fluctuations effectively.

“The industry has witnessed significant expansion yet maintaining a reliable supply chain still needs to be resolved. Strategic collaborations with manufacturers and suppliers are essential to mitigate risks and drive demand proactively.”

Supporting members during industry turbulence

Working closely with renewable installers across England, Wales and Scotland, HIES Consumer Code adopts a multifaceted approach to addressing the challenges. Promoting collaborative efforts among members helps navigate the issues too. Jonathon says:

“By providing business support and encouraging partnerships, HIES empowers installers to weather the uncertainties in the sector, particularly in specialised fields like solar. We don’t want anyone to feel alone.”

Empowering through education and innovation

As well as trying to establish a more stable supply chain, improvements have also been made in the availability of educational resources. For example, Segen’s online portal is a ‘one-stop shop’ of resources, offering valuable insights and tools to upskill installers and industry entrants. HIES Consumer Code procures a culture of continuous learning and adaptation by providing training courses and technological advancements in 3D open-source software. Moreover, initiatives like building academies and partnerships with educational institutions aimed at a skilled workforce, further drive innovation and help the road to Net Zero.

Consumer Code

Consumers are also part of the supply chain and educating them plays an important role in fostering trust and confidence in the overall market. A greater understanding of regulations and standards means installers uphold safety and quality standards. HIES Consumer Code and Segen collaborate to bring quality installers to consumers, ensuring the work is done right with the right products. By working with installers that are sticking to consumer codes and competency schemes, homeowners can build trust, make informed decisions, and have confidence in the service they receive. 

The Power of Collaboration

Supply chain collaboration remains essential to success as the home improvement and renewable energy industries develop further. Industry leaders like Segen and HIES Consumer Code are clearing the path for a sustainable future by promoting cooperation, encouraging innovation, and placing a high value on customer trust.

As the podcast concludes: through collaborative efforts, businesses can overcome challenges, drive innovation, and empower consumers, ensuring that the goal of renewable energy is achieved for future generations.

Listen to the full episode: