It’s celebrations all-round at Rapidrop Global Ltd as we are approaching company anniversaries for both Rapidrop and IFI.
In September of this year IFI will be celebrating their 40 year anniversary and will quickly be followed by Rapidrop’s own 20 year anniversary come October.
However, earlier this year we celebrated a very special anniversary with one of our Directors who has been with the business for 35 years.
Meet Mark Smith.
Mark has played an instrumental role in the growth of IFI and the development of Rapidrop and has dedicated his career to the company.
Can you tell us a little about your role/history with the company?
I began my working life with the group as far back as 1988, when I relocated to Peterborough to take a position in Customer Service. I was employed by a trading division – Kestrel, which was sold off within a year and I took a warehouse / van driving role with IFI – CWP (another group member). After a short while I moved into tele-sales and I even had a spell on the road but I was a terrible sales person! Following this, I was appointed Marketing & Purchasing (Merchandising Manager) in 1995 after learning the ropes quickly from the Chairman Daniel Gill. I started to travel within Asia and Europe, visiting factories and exhibitions. As the group has grown (including the formation of the Rapidrop division), along with my ever expanding procurement team – I have continued to head up Inventory Management and Supply Chain.
What’s one of your favorite memories while working here?
There are no specifics, there are many memories outside of the working environment involving colleagues – but my favorite memory is the whole 35 years.
The launch of the Flexible in 1998 and the first container orders we received in 1999 from a Spanish customer. We had no sales support for Rapidrop at that time, it was the only product, I nominated myself for 24/7 UK and Export customer service, that included taking calls on Sunday mornings or chasing delivery times for the Monday.
The day the group achieved £1 million sales in a single month and handing out champagne to delivery drivers. Also, breaking through the annual £ 10million sales barrier in 2001 – that was an epic milestone.
When have you felt the proudest at work and why?
Sometimes, I look around at fellow directors and our strong management team and realize that I recruited many of them. Our recruitment in the early days was unorthodox as our preference was often life skills, streetwise nature, and personality over education, degrees etc. We took many punts on who we perceived to be good people with potential and who we could mentor (as Daniel Gill did with me) – It’s a credit to the business that six of us are still with the business and have grown immensely.
What do you enjoy most about working at Rapidrop Global?
It’s never boring! If it becomes stale, we think of something else to challenge our mindset. It’s great to be on such an endless journey.
With IFI reaching 40 years of trading and Rapidrop reaching 20 years, do you have any words of wisdom or special memories you would like to share?
My advice would be to get stuck in with the group. There are many opportunities across the departments which crop up that can offer a different career direction – leaving a job you don’t specifically like is not always the right answer,